21 January 2020
9 Best Features for a Corporate Travel Management App | Agente
Travel management software nowadays is a must-have for big and small companies. The old-school travel management algorithm of booking on consumer sites and then collecting and tracking down the invoices that can cause a waste of valuable time and resources are replaced by convenient digital solutions.
In 2022 corporate travel management has evolved into a simple and cost-effective process with travel management applications. We’ve collected nine of the most important features of such a software category that make company travels as stress-free as possible.
What is a corporate travel management application?
A corporate travel management app is a digital platform for an all-around travel experience: planning, purchasing, and recording employee travel expenses.
Employees can book flights and hotels for themselves. No need to look up and read the corporate policy, as the software already blocks or requires management approval for any bookings out of policy. And there’s no need for reimbursement. Employees don’t pay for the trip because the software submits the company’s payment details to the provider.
Those solutions are intuitive and advanced enough to deal with several issues associated with an incompetent expense managing system. For example, they can simplify and expedite flight and hotel booking procedures.
Benefits of travel management software for businesses
- Saves time. This one-stop platform for managing travels allows automated bookings and expense management. Employees don’t waste time searching for optimal rates and comparing prices. The software database of inventory calculates everything automatically.
- Provides complete financial reporting due to digital receipts which won’t get lost in pockets.
- Saves money. Bookings are always accurate, which eliminates the possibility of change fees. What’s more, each employee can have their own profile and earn rewards according to loyalty policies.
- Supports compliance. Built-in corporate policy guards against forbidden bookings and notifies travel managers about such cases.
Even though each business has its own requirements when it comes to travel management and there can’t be an on-fits-all solution, there are several corporate travel management app features :
- User profiles
- Collaborative booking
- Extensive inventory
- Compliance with corporate travel policies
- Consolidated invoicing
- Integration with calendars
- Travel review
- Travel support
Travel management app features in detail
Every employee should fill in their personal data once and never need to enter it again (if nothing changes, of course). This rule concerns any corporate software, no matter if you create a custom online education platform, a travel management app, or HR software. When legal names, passport numbers, frequent-flier numbers, and personal or corporate card information are filled in automatically, it reduces the booking process to minutes.
User profiles also allow loyalty points. Every company treats reward systems differently. Some allow the travel to be credited to the employee’s account, others to the company’s account. In all cases, travel management software saves travel numbers and offers rewards.
Collaborative booking by travel managers and employees
Both travel managers and employees should be able to book business trips. In addition, the system should allow the process to be performed collaboratively. This feature provides various opportunities, for example:
- Several employees can agree on transportation and lodging options.
- A travel manager can review incomplete bookings and immediately approve or decline them.
- Employees can select the means of transportation and hotel, and let a travel manager finalize the bookings.
Source: Trip Actions
Extensive inventory includes variants of transportation (planes, trains, buses, etc.) and accommodation (hotels, hostels, rental housing).
One of the coolest features of a travel management app is AI-driven personalized results on inventory items. In this case, the search results are based on past bookings and travel policy. AI technology finetunes the results with every booking as the system learns from experience.
Automatic compliance with corporate travel policies
One of the most important features of a corporate travel management app is policy compliance. The software should enable travel managers to customize the in-app policy through certain criteria. The most widely used are:
- Global policies for travel costs, hotel, and rental rates.
- Special policies for specific travelers (for example, executives).
- The minimum number of days for advanced bookings (reserving tickets in advance saves money).
Company policy compliance should also be reflected in searches. For example, an employee opens a page with hotel options and can see which ones are outside of company policy.
A central billing option allows travelers to receive a single consolidated invoice with all the expenses during one trip: flights, hotel rent, taxi rides, business dinners, etc.
At the end of each month, the finance department should be able to view all the expenses for this period.
Integration with employees’ calendars
Once the booking is complete, an event is created in the traveler calendar which is integrated into the travel management application. The app should connect employees’ calendars so that people can see when a colleague is on a business trip and their date of return.
Corporate travel often involves several people in the same booking. Each calendar should be updated simultaneously if changes occur.
The app should also allow notifications about upcoming trips, as well as delayed or canceled flights.
The application should please travel managers with a detailed trip spend report on each business trip. Usually, such reports include the following information
Source: Zoho Reporting
- Description of service (flight, hotel, baggage, seats, etc.)
- Trip ID and purpose
- Travel team (names, contacts)
- Consolidated invoice
- Booking dates, booking window (the number of days between the booking and the departure date)
- Departure dates for flights and check-in dates for hotels
- Arrival dates for flights and check-out dates for hotels.
Corporate travel managers should be able to review the status of all company trips and coordinate team travels. A good app allows the manager to see successful bookings, out-of-policy requests, as well as in-progress, upcoming, finished, and canceled trips.
All corporate travelers need round-the-clock travel support via direct line, chat, or email. Your corporate travel management system should include support at no additional cost to employees.
Travel management app development tech stack
Once the functionality for the travel app is chosen, it’s time to start developing it and choose the tech stack for the Android, iPhone, and hybrid app development. As the technologies have been evolving it raises the requirements for a successful business travel planning software.
The best way to have everything set and under control is to consult a development company that has essential experience in building business travel management solutions. Thus, they will take care of all the technicalities, so you can focus on the marketing strategies and core areas of the business.
The technology stack is a combination of programming languages and tools that will bring life to your solution. It includes the front-end (the client side), the backend (the server side), the database, and the server.
Back-end (the server side)
Even though the back-end is not visible to the users it’s an essential part of the travel management systems development as it provides the foundation for the application. Choosing the right back-end tech stack can be a challenge because many factors such as scalability, performance, cost, support, and maintenance need to be considered.
Java (popular for Android apps development), Python (good for most general purposes), or Node.js (light-weight and efficient, and good to create fast and scalable real-time applications) can be used for developing the backend, depending on the specific requirements of the travel management app.
When it goes to mobile development, the best options for iOS are Swift or Objective-C. For Android, the handiest technologies are Kotlin or Java.
It’s the part that stores the necessary data for the functioning of your application. To create a lightweight and secure solution for the app the developers might use MySQL, PostgreSQL, PostGIS, MongoDB, or Redis.
As the travel management application will need data from many sources, it will require connecting numerous APIs and SDK. For example, for booking flights the APIs of Skyscanner, Trawex, or flight companies directly should be used.
To let the users login with their existing accounts the APIs from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google might be necessary. It can also have payment gateways such as Android Pay, Google Pay or other.
The Agente team knows the intricacies of business travel inside out. We’ve already designed a niche travel marketplace, a trip tracker mobile app, a worldwide traveling portal, and have risen to the challenge of delivering a complete rebranding of this portal.
When it comes to the travel management system we in Agente know exactly what we are doing and are always happy to deliver the solution that will fully satisfy your business needs.
Of course, a corporate travel management application has its downsides. You need to pay for the software and spend some time informing employees about the new travel management system.
But the pros definitely outweigh the cons: Full control of travel expenditures, simplified policy management, reduced booking times, and advanced analytics to optimize feature travels.
A travel management app is a nice way to please everyone. Employees get more choice and flexibility, managers get more control over travel, and the finance department can keep a record of every penny spent on business trips.
If you are about to start your own business trip management app, get in touch.
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