The hardest part of corporate travel isn’t the underlying business objectives that need to be accomplished; it’s all of the administrivia that happens once the trip is done. Tasks like compiling expense reports not only take time to prepare, they can create a nightmare for corporate travel managers who are trying to manage costs and create efficiencies for the traveler.
“The dichotomy of business travel managers’ jobs can make it very difficult,” said Richard Crum, MasterCard’s Group Head for Global Commercial Products. “In one sense, they want to control cost of travel, yet they are told to focus on the safety, security, and location of their travelers.” What is starting to help though, is the fact that more companies are being able to leverage data, investing in raw information and turning it into information sets to make travel management decisions. Data, said Crum, is the “currency most in play” for creating and fine-tuning corporate travel strategy.
“Now we can use data to develop personas of travelers that are much more rich and profound,” said Crum. “We can build smaller policies for sourcing and technologies around their personas, understanding travelers better than they ever could before.”
On the consumer side of payments and travel, mobile is transforming the experience and illuminating intermediaries. This, said Crum, is also happening on the corporate side. For one, the whole shopping and booking experience is changing. There are new technologies for booking and itinerary management, and apps that carry all information about a trip – and even send updates with gate changes and more. There is also technology, he said, to capture an image or grab data from receipts, or even to manage the creation of an expense report in a mobile environment.
As the environment evolves, Crum pointed out that we have already seen some corporate travel products “go the way of the typewriter.” Few travelers, for instance, use paper tickets, and many are now checking in at kiosks and using boarding passes on their mobile devices. And as MasterCard works to simplify the dreaded expense report process, the collection of receipts may also become a thing of the past.
“It’s all in the journey of how MasterCard can provide an intelligent way to make each step of the business travel process more effective, cost effective, and efficient for the company and the traveler,” said Crum.
The important challenge, he said, is completing the extra requirements of corporate travel without allowing the complexities to interrupt the simple process. As more companies embrace mobile technology for corporate travel, they’re going to want simplicity.
For more information about corporate travel and the MasterCard perspective on how it has and will change, listen to the full podcast below.
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