Irregular travel costs you time and money. With more and more options for employees on the go, travel management should embrace smarter payment solutions to simplify the modern business trip.
Maverick buyers are a difficult breed. You know the ones – doing things their own way, making spur-of-the-moment decisions, looking out for number one. Managing their expenses takes half your finance team, a codebreaker, and a union rep.
But that’s changing. As the mobility landscape evolves and on-demand services become the norm, centralized business travel management is developing right alongside personalized transportation. Despite the growing diversity of accommodation and transportation options available to employees, unified payment solutions enable more flexible on-the-go purchase decisions as well as online booking.
Spotting a maverick
GBTA's September poll found that 31% of travel managers say they're even busier now than before the pandemic. Time for smarter solutions.[i]
Your typical maverick complicates your life from the first moment of their trip. They’ll grab the first taxi they see on their way to the airport and pay the driver in cash. They’ll approach whichever rental car strikes their fancy. Maybe they like the receptionist or are hoping for a sports car. They’ll reach into their pocket and pay with whatever card is on top.
Our maverick probably doesn’t like the hotel you’ve booked. You block rooms well in advance to negotiate the best deals but they’ll stay across town to collect points on their account. After all, they know you won’t be able to tell on the expense report.
Do your work, not theirs
Mavericks are the reason you get home late. Their eccentric way of spending company money makes managing their travel a headache on a good day – a nightmare on a bad. The diversifying travel market means dynamic accommodation and transportation are squeezing out traditional hotel, taxi, and rental car schemes. If companies don’t act, travel expenses are poised to get more complicated than ever. Those who turn to more intelligent, diversified payment solutions, however, can seize the opportunity to streamline their travel, bringing mavericks into line once and for all.
Catch them before they stray
Simplifying travel starts well before the trip. Mavericks don’t stick to the plan when given the chance, so don’t give it to them. Many companies now offer employees a mobility budget instead of a company car. Even carmakers themselves are in on the game, such as Daimler’s carshare subsidiary car2go. Single-use virtual cards linked to corporate accounts can be set to only be accepted by a specific merchant, like your company’s preferred hotel.
Personalized services like MyDriver and DriveNow, both owned by rental car company turned mobility provider Sixt, combine the simplicity of corporate contracts with the convenience of employee pickups. The chauffeur service MyDriver appeals to those corporate travel managers on the look-out for flexible options that don’t come at the cost of standardized reliability and advance agreements.
Such solutions are hard to resist on the modernizing landscape of business travel, and outdated limousine and taxi schemes are scrambling to innovate. Uber, whose paradigm-shifting foresight is beyond question, has even begun designing flying taxis. Luckily for most travel managers, you don’t have to understand the frontline of mobility development to have a role in shaping its interface with your employees.
When traveling on business, mavericks make payments in whatever way is convenient for them at the time. Your goal is facilitating employee convenience while steering the way a company will ultimately pay.
Take advantage of central payment and reporting opportunities.
Smarter payment solutions that enable the flexibility modern business travelers are coming to expect are your best bet for preempting expense report chaos. Take advantage of central payment and reporting opportunities. Travel managers benefit from transparency and simplicity while their travelers enjoy increased flexibility and innovation. When on-demand services are easily linked to a company account, maverick buyers don’t reach as often for nonstandard means.
Modern payment solutions can help travel managers incorporate the future of accommodation and transportation to better plan and organize employee purchases on the go. Mobility as a service may be signaling the end of the unmanageable maverick.
*An earlier version of this article first appeared in German for SAP Concur.
[i] Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
[ii] Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash