Why Your Boss Should Never Question Your Travel Expenses Again!

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3 min read

Rising travel costs, expense reporting and the sticky issue of ROI

JOHANNESBURG – Your boss may not necessarily be keen on understanding every line item on your travel expense report, but they certainly need to understand the overall value that your business travel brings to the table. Having to justify the ‘value’ of business travel is a challenge that resonates deeply with travel managers around the globe today. Finding answers to this predicament requires a deep dive into the intricate web of corporate travel management.

At the heart of the matter, it isn’t just about the monetary costs, technological challenges, and supplier negotiations. The bigger picture brings into focus a far more profound question – what is the true value of business travel? Rising travel costs, expense reporting and the sticky issue of ROI

This issue has recently been brought into sharp focus by a global survey conducted by the BTN Group and FCM. It underscores the fact that delineating the ROI of business travel, against the backdrop of soaring costs and growing fiscal scrutiny, has become a top concern for travel managers.

Bonnie Smith, GM of FCM Southern Africa, breaks it down: “Travel managers are walking a tightrope in the current environment. Mounting costs put them under immense pressure to justify the value of business travel, but it’s a complex task to draw a direct correlation between business travel and the subsequent benefits.”

Smith further elaborates: “The real challenge isn’t just in balancing the ledger; it lies in quantifying the less tangible benefits – the newly won business deals, the enduring partnerships that are established, the in-person market insights gained, and the heightened employee satisfaction.”

Better data, streamlined approval processes, reinforced sales support, and innovative ROI calculation methods are the need of the hour. As Smith puts it: “The implementation of these improvements can significantly lighten the load for travel managers and render the hidden benefits of business travel more transparent.”

However, the journey doesn’t end with quantifying the value of business travel. Travel managers are continually battling a slew of other interrelated challenges – the spiralling costs, inflation, tough supplier negotiations, outdated technology, and scattered data and reporting structures.

Smith provides some insight here: “These hurdles aren’t insurmountable. The solution lies in devising strategic measures to tackle these challenges, and leveraging contemporary tools, technologies, and methodologies.”

Professional Travel Management Companies (TMCs) can play a crucial role in providing the necessary guidance through these multifaceted issues. Established TMCs can offer strategic vision, pioneering solutions, and indispensable support in articulating the real value of business travel.

Given the rapidly evolving travel landscape, TMCs, like FCM, are investing substantial efforts to investigate and tackle these pressing issues. FCM has undertaken rigorous research to identify the primary hurdles faced by travel managers today, the results of which have been compiled into their latest white paper, “Why is Travel Management So Difficult Today?”

This extensive guide addresses each identified issue head-on, offering pragmatic solutions that can revolutionise the travel management arena. The white paper emphasises the significance of strategic account management and fostering value-driven customer relationships for sustained growth.

Smith shares: “Understanding the intricacies of modern-day travel management doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge. With a strategic approach and a practical toolkit of solutions, the true value of business travel can be effectively illustrated, driving the organisation towards its strategic goals.”

The battle to justify your travel expenses shouldn’t be a cause for sleepless nights. By exploring resources such as the FCM white paper and seeking professional assistance, the path to demonstrating the true value of business travel can become a lot smoother.