Travel and tourism management refers to everything that is related to the hospitality and travel industries. It offers extensive training opportunities for management positions in the travel, accommodations, and food industry.
Travel managers often use some form if travel management system application that provides users with a platform for planning, purchasing, and recording travel expenses. Companies can use this software to control corporate travel budgets streamline purchasing decisions, and centralize employee travel expenses records.
A travel management system helps travel managers book, track, and analyze business travel. The term “travel management system” refers to a platform that offers travel inventory, travel policies, and reporting. This can also refer to the overall process of managing corporate travel.
Travel CRM or travel agency management software is meant for streamlining operations of travel and tour agencies and is used by tour operators and agents to automate their daily activities. It can efficiently sort business practices for travel agencies and allows customers to take advantage of fast travel services. Travel CRM software is expedient at managing leads and their follow-ups, sales funnel management and their closures, and can promptly provide detailed reports for an in-depth business view.
Best key features in a travel management system
When you’re looking at incorporating a travel agency back office software, it would help to compare travel management systems, and understand what features are beneficial to your business. Here are key features that can help you choose your best solution.
Customizable travel policies
One of the most important features in a travel management system is the travel policy. In-app travel policies must be in place to keep administrators on the same page, so that it will not make a difference if office managers or travel managers book on behalf of travelers.
In-app policies should customizable based on several different criteria. Also, the travel management system should allow you to preset your travel policy so that it is operational whenever anyone accesses it for trip booking. Criteria should include:
Nightly hotel rate by city
Global policies for nightly hotel rates
Global maximum train costs
Global policies for maximum domestic and international flight costs
Maximum flight costs for specific routes
Maximum train costs for specific routes
Minimum number of days required for advanced bookings
Special policies for specific travelers (such as c-level or a department that must book last-minute flights often)
Customizable approval workflows
The travel management system should include approval workflows, in case of conditions outside existing policies, the person booking a trip can request approval and save their trip details (instead of sending an email and having to rework on entering the right itinerary). Different approvers for different teams and customizing the level of strictness should be allowed in an expansive, customizable travel management system.
All policy and approval workflows are integral in maintaining continuous travel compliance, as is access to inventory. If your travel management system lacks low priced accommodation and flight carriers, you lose out on costing. Budget options should be readily available to customers on your travel app.
Your travel management system should not redirect customers during booking, not only does this take additional time but creates a sense of distrust in the user who may feel unsure whether to trust the new vendor you’re being redirected to.
With business travel, redirects make tracking your business travel almost impossible, causing users to scavenge through the internet to collect billing.
Travel spend reporting
The ability to generate reports on business travel is an integral and important feature of any CRM. It should track:
Travel spend by time period
Travel spend by project or client or event
Travel spend by department or team
Amount of travel spend booked out of policy
Amount of travel spent for hiring
In addition to generating reports, the system should be able to add labels and tags to trips.
Consolidated invoicing and Status Reviews
Tracking your business travel is easiest if it is booked in one place. Some travel management systems don’t act as a single vendor: this generates different invoices which will still cost you time. To save time and hassle on business travel, use a system that consolidates all of your monthly travel into a single vendor invoice.
If you have multiple travelers each booking their own trip to upcoming events, as the travel manager, you should be able to login to your travel management platform and see the following:
Who has booked their trip within company policy?
Who required an out-of-policy booking and why?
Who has an in-progress trip (they’ve saved an itinerary but not completed the booking yet)?
Who hasn’t booked a trip?
When you’re in charge of booking travel or helping travelers book their own travel, you need to know what is going on, instantly so that you can reach out to travelers who need extra help.
Also, once trips are booked, you’ll need one central location for confirmations, itinerary details, cancellation notices, etc.
Self-booking and Collaborative Bookings for travelers
If you do plan on enabling self-booking, choose a travel management system that is easy and enjoyable to use, meets their needs, and provides support when they need it.
Even if your travelers are not allowed to book for themselves by company policy, you would still want a smooth booking experience and great UX for the employees who are in charge of booking travel.
The ability to book collaboratively is also helping in any of the following instances:
A trip for multiple travelers needs to be reviewed, and double-checked with everyone before finalizing it
Staff is allowed to select trips but do not have authorization to complete bookings
Your Top Tier Management selects a flight and hotel and wants you to finalize it
Your software should allow you to collaborate on trip details with others, and come back to finalize it later.
Mobile app and Expense tool integration
Before onboarding your staff to a new travel management system, download and test their app yourself and to gauge the ease of use. Some travel management systems don’t have native mobile apps, or may offer apps that are challenging to use.
Your travel management system should integrate with expense system, allowing finance team to make better decisions and analyze data efficiently.
Saving traveler information and Loyalty Point Information
If your software saves every traveler’s information (including legal name, travel document country and number, birthday, etc.), booking times can be shortened and hassle free.
Every company has a different policy on loyalty points. Some companies require that all company travel get credited to the company’s account and that the business (and not each individual traveler) can get the rewards.
Your travel management system should save these program numbers, so that travelers don’t have to enter them every time they book. If your company only allows points to get credited to the company account, then an office assistant or admin can enter those program numbers in every traveler’s profile.
If you don’t like your travel management system, you shouldn’t be forced to use it. When sampling a travel management platform, check that you don’t get locked in forever. The system that you use to book and manage travel can have a huge impact on your experience as a travel manager and on every employee who travels for work.
At Appedology we work around your travel management software requirements to optimize a solution and create a software that matches all your given criteria. We also guide you on what works best for you so that the bespoke travel management systems solution you ask for, work efficiently and cost effectively for you; saving your dollars in the long run.
Give us a call, and start working on a travel management system project that is expansive and scalable, and works effectively to give you the best ROIs.