Unmanaged Business Lodging Can Kill Your Bottom Line. Here’s How to Fix it
Business travel is, well, big business.
In 2019 (before the pandemic dip), US business travelers spent an incredible $50bn+ on lodging, (the largest business travel related expenditure).
When so much money is heading out the door, it’s important to know that it’s being spent as wisely as possible.
So how do you organize business lodging at your company?
Do you have software or a travel management solution helping you find the best hotel prices and most efficient processes? Or do you run things yourself, allowing employees to book their lodging and submit their expenses?
If you fall into the latter category, you’re running an unmanaged business lodging system, which could have negative consequences for your bottom line.
What is unmanaged business lodging? And why is it such a problem?
An unmanaged business lodging system is usually run manually.
Normally it works one of two ways:
- Employees search for and book their hotels…
- Then they submit their travel and expense (T&E) claims to the finance team…
- And the finance then reviews paper receipts and reimburses the employee.
Or sometimes, companies will add per diem to an employee’s paycheck and allow them to handle their own bookings.
These are systems that many companies have been using for decades. So why are these manual processes harmful for business?
Firstly, it tends to be frustrating and long-winded for the employees involved.
Secondly, it doesn’t provide any concrete travel data, which makes it harder for you to make intelligent improvements to the system.
And lastly, it’s very costly in terms of both time and money. Your team spends longer booking and managing their business travel, meaning you spend more money on it too.
However big or small your organization, these are business travel management problems you can’t afford to ignore. Especially when the competition is streamlining their process and costs with a managed business lodging solution.
But what exactly could a managed business lodging solution do for you?
Benefits of a managed business lodging solution
Harness your data
Wouldn’t it be great if you had business travel data at your fingertips? Imagine if you had all of the information you needed to create reliable reports and gain truly valuable insights.
This just isn’t possible when you’re using manual systems to record, track and predict your business lodging costs.
There will always be data inaccuracies and duplicate entries. The kind of things that really mess with your data and create a false impression of your travel spend.
Use a lodging management system, however, and data entry errors become a thing of the past. Each and every time you view your business travel data, you know you’re getting the most accurate and up-to-date picture.
This inevitably aids strategy. You’ll be better able to predict travel spend going forward. You’ll also find ways to make efficiencies and save the company money in the here-and-now.
Manage T&E policies and compliance effectively
Another area where unmanaged business lodging falls down is in policies and compliance.
According to the 2019 T&E Management Trends Report, nearly half (46%) of organizations surveyed reported a less than 75% rate of compliance with their T&E policy.
Weak policies and poor explanation of those policies are partly to blame. But we also have to examine the role manual enforcement processes play in this disappointing statistic.
Manual processes make it difficult to know for sure whether you’re crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. When you’re wading through receipts, how can you possibly see the patterns and trends that alert you to fraudulent or wasteful spending?
You can’t. Which is why you need the right travel tech on your team.
The right managed lodging solution will allow you to build your policies into the employee travel booking system. Employees will only be able to access the bookings you’ve deemed appropriate.
You’ll also find it easy to analyze travel and expense data, keeping tabs on what is being spent where. The system will flag non-compliant requests and reduce both intentional and unintentional fraud.
The end result? Minimal compliance issues. Time and money saved.
Keep your employees happy with swift reimbursement and excellent user experiences
A lengthy reimbursement cycle is a surefire way to frustrate your employees. Manual processes are clunky and long-winded meaning your business travelers are out-of-pocket for longer.
Manual lodging processes have friction baked into the process, impacting employee productivity and therefore your bottom line. In contrast, a corporate lodging solution is largely automated. This speeds up reimbursement and helps operations run more smoothly. Or, you can opt to cover all employee lodging expenses and receive one overall bill at the end of each month.
But swift reimbursement isn’t the only reason your employees will be won over by a comprehensive corporate lodging solution. Every point of the business trip process will be made easier. From finding the right hotel, to modifying their reservation to seeing details of their trip.
They — like you — will only ever be a few clicks away from the information they need. Which means less time spent organizing travel and more on the tasks that actually generate revenue.
Fix business travel inefficiencies
Finding ways to streamline your business lodging will have a huge effect on your bottom line.
That’s exactly where Hotel Engine can help. Hotel Engine is a high-tech corporate lodging solution. Here’s a snapshot of what we offer our members:
- Access to over 400,000 hotels worldwide and an easy-to-use booking system
- Savings of up to 60% on business lodging
- Comprehensive data visibility through a dedicated travel dashboard
- Powerful tools for reporting, planning, and compliance
- 24/7 US-based customer support
- HE Rewards, which allows travelers to layer their hotel-brand specific loyalty programs on top of HE Rewards points for maximum savings
We work with businesses of all sizes, from growing start-ups to global enterprises
Offering them the tools they need for easier and more efficient business lodging.
The best bit? The Hotel Engine platform is completely free to join and to use. We don’t charge booking or cancellation fees, and do not require any minimums or contracts. This means you get a managed business travel solution at no extra cost to your company.
Interested in moving your business travel into the managed category? Sign up for Hotel Engine today!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.