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The benefits of giving employees control : why companies should let employees choose their own travel providers
Published on Feb 03, 2023
Imagine this scenario. Wednesday morning was cloudy when John left work. After stepping outside, it poured. He cursed after realising he’d left his umbrella at home.John knew that company policy required him to use one specific ride-booking app only, but all cars were occupied.Clutching his briefcase, he decided to run to the train station to catch the company meeting train.
The rain got heavier as he ran, soaking him. John kept going even though it was raining so hard he could barely see.After turning the corner, things went wrong. John tripped on a loose piece of pavement. He fell hard, knees hitting the pavement. He felt warm blood trickling down his right leg and a sharp pain in his right knee.John struggled to stand, ignoring the pain. He hobbled to the train station. After ages, John reached the train station. He caught the next train and arrived at the company meeting on time.
There was a happier ending on a different rainy day when John and his wife effortlessly got a ride after a concert since they could use whichever app promised them the fastest driver to arrive.Oh, and John went on a week of medical leave due to a wound infection.Whether you are talking about domestic cab services or flight and hotel bookings, many companies dictate the suppliers or use expense software which has preferred pre-integrated suppliers that their employees can only deal with.
Any exception will not be recognised.
But as we see in the example above, the entire predicament could have been prevented if the company had allowed John to use whichever services were the most appropriate.Many of us take taxis frequently and travel for personal and professional reasons. Each individual likely has preferences for which taxi app or travel portal they find the most reliable and convenient in their specific location.Suppose a company’s travel and expense app simply requires a receipt to reimburse expenses incurred for business travel. In that case, there is no reason employees shouldn’t be able to book through the provider they are most comfortable with.
This approach allows employees to use the providers they know and trust, ensuring their travel is as smooth and stress-free as possible. And also at the same time, the company can still have control over the budget and compliance while employees have the convenience of using their preferred providers.Allowing employees to book through their preferred providers also helps keep expenses in line with company policies and provides additional transparency and accountability.Overall, it is a win-win situation for both the company and the employees.In this article, we will discuss the benefits of allowing employees to choose their own travel providers.
Advantage #1: Greater flexibility and convenience
Allowing employees to choose their own travel providers can give them more flexibility and convenience when planning business trips. For example, employees may have preferred airlines, hotels, or rental car companies that they prefer to use, and allowing them to make these choices can make their business travel experience more enjoyable.In addition, allowing employees to choose their travel providers can also foster a sense of autonomy and trust in the workplace. Employees may feel more invested in their business travel if they can make their own decisions and have a say in how they travel. This can ultimately lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement.
Given that employees may also consume such services at a personal level, allowing them the options to deal with apps familiar to them will only bring about more convenience for them.Since there will always be a multitude of items employees need to claim against (outside of travelling and commuting), companies just need to ensure they have good expense software which makes the life of the employee easy by providing a super simple interface, using AI to create and submit such expenses by reading from the uploaded receipts instead of pre-integrating B2C services as it is next to impossible to integrate every single B2C app into your company’s expense management software…
Advantage #2: Improved morale and satisfaction.
Giving employees more control over their travel arrangements can improve morale and job satisfaction in several ways.First, feeling trusted and empowered can increase job satisfaction and loyalty. For example, when employees are free to make travel arrangements, they may feel like their employer values their input and trusts them to make good decisions. This can increase job satisfaction and a more substantial commitment to the organisation.
Second, having more control over their travel arrangements can also make employees feel more in control of their work lives and reduce stress. Planning business trips can be time-consuming and stressful, and choosing their travel arrangements can give employees a sense of ownership and help reduce stress.
Employees who frequently travel for work or leisure can earn points or rewards from ride-hailing services such as Grab or Gojek by using the app to book rides. These points or rewards can be redeemed for discounts on future rides, free rides, or other perks. Similarly, employees who book hotel stays through platforms like Booking.com or Expedia can earn points or rewards that can be used for discounts on future hotel bookings, free nights, or other benefits.
Additionally, they can compare and choose the best provider that aligns with their specific needs by having multiple rewards programs. Such as rewards that could be used for more luxurious stays or more budget-friendly options, or different levels of rewards like elite status or other perks that come with that status. This may become an additional employee benefits proposition.Finally, giving employees more control over travel arrangements can also increase productivity. Employees who feel more invested in their work and can make decisions that align with their preferences and needs may be more motivated and engaged.
Advantage #3: Cost savings for the company.
Allowing employees to choose their own travel providers can lead to cost savings for the company in several ways.Effective expense management software can play a key role in helping companies manage their travel expenses. One way companies can use such software is by creating travel policies and building them into the validation process of the expense software. This can allow employees to quickly and easily see which travel arrangements are within budget and book them accordingly.
By doing this, companies can ensure that their employees are adhering to the company’s travel policies and that expenses are being managed efficiently. Additionally, the rule engine in the expense management software can be configured to reflect the company’s travel policy, which can be set up to automatically validate the expense against budget and compliance rules, flagging any expenses that may not align with the set policies, providing an extra layer of control over the expenses process. This can help companies avoid overspending on travel expenses and ensure their employees stay within budget.
Second, allowing employees to choose their travel providers can also reduce the burden on the company’s travel department or travel management company. Employees who can make travel arrangements may be less reliant on the company’s travel resources, saving the company money.Finally, giving employees more control over their travel arrangements can also lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, ultimately resulting in cost savings for the company. When employees are motivated and engaged in their work, they may be more productive and efficient, which can lead to cost savings for the company.
In today’s digital age, even if some users may need to be more tech-savvy, they still have access to many resources and assistants who can help them navigate different platforms and apps.This is particularly true for millennials, Gen Y, Gen Z and even boomers who have grown up with technology, and are more comfortable using it to solve problems and make decisions.Given this, businesses should empower their users by giving them the ability to make their own travel arrangements and manage expenses.This is especially relevant as B2C companies are becoming more advanced and user-friendly, and it’s now easier for employees to find better deals and options for their business travel.A pre-integrated B2C in expense management app limits the competitive consumer deals employees can enjoy for business travel.
So, Instead of focusing on how to integrate B2C services into expense management apps, today’s innovation in expense management software should be focused on how the software can automatically create and submit expenses based on the receipt, which can save employees time and businesses money.The software could also be designed to identify and highlight non-compliant and duplicate expenses, thus saving man hours and dollar savings in non-compliant approvals segregation.By having this kind of system in place, businesses can ensure that their employees stay within budget while ensuring compliance rules are being followed and save a lot of time in expense management and approvals.Enjoyed this article? You may also be interested to read out Whitepaper on Technology trend of Expense Management Software