What do you think of when you hear the word “travel”? Whether it means an exciting time exploring a new city, a relaxing day spent on the beach, or a busy day filled with work meetings, one major problem we all have to solve is how to make it from our origin to our destination. Some of us enjoy the process of planning out our entire trip step-by-step with a detailed schedule, but for busy business travelers, it’s often hard to find the time to plan a trip and prepare for every problem that might arise along the way. For business travelers, a smooth arrival process is a primary concern. From the company’s perspective, it’s important to not only ensure employees have an efficient business trip but to also track travelers and manage expenses well. This is where end-to-end booking comes into play.
What is end-to-end booking?
Many companies are adopting end-to-end booking, and many business travelers prefer to have an end-to-end booking procedure to ensure the quality and efficiency of their business trips. End-to-end, defined by Investopedia, a leading web-based resource for financial content, is “a term used in many business arenas referring to the beginning and end points of a method or service…that eliminates as many middle layers or steps as possible” and “will optimize performance and efficiency in any process.” For business travelers, end-to-end booking becomes a solution that eliminates steps, simplifying the booking process and ensuring a smooth trip. From a travel management perspective, end-to-end booking is beneficial and efficient by integrating expense management, data control, and cost savings.
Pros and Cons of End-to-End Booking for Business Travelers
Business travelers and companies choose end-to-end booking as a strategy to save time, manage costs, and gain more control over their trips. Yet, for every new solution, there are pros and cons. For business travelers who want to be punctual to every meeting and coordinate better with the company, end-to-end providers offer tools along the way to make trips easier to handle—including airport transfers, a reserved parking space, notifications on flight changes, and immediate invoicing and filing of financial expenses. From the perspective of the company’s accountant or in-house travel manager, they enjoy better control over travel costs and knowledge of employees’ whereabouts.
In order to increase the efficiency of the company’s cost management system on traveling, many companies seek services and solutions that employ more advanced technology for data analysis and a more personalized process for better user experiences. Because of these capabilities, using end-to-end booking tools for corporate traveling sometimes has cons. The tools will require companies to educate travelers on how to use them, and sometimes things go wrong with new technologies. Even though most providers offer real-time virtual technology support, some problems during use may require more time and local assistance.There can also occasionally be privacy concerns, if private financial information or travel plans are exposed online. The costs of end-to-end booking solutions are always a concern as well. Some companies also worry about the integration of an end-to-end tool with other programs or software the company uses. Yet, according to Julian Mills the UK director of Traveldoo, a provider of web and mobile platforms for managing business travel and expense reports, even though many organizations hold concerns of integration and connection to existing systems, long-term efficiency and savings far outweigh any short-term problems. He says, “An automated end-to-end solution will drive processing costs down,” and “the visibility and control of your supply chain also allows companies to make better decisions about suppliers for commercial reasons––and about T&E policy for employee reasons. It’s a win-win situation.”
Types of End-to-End Booking T&E Management Solutions
Many great tools have been developed to serve the needs of companies and business travelers. Here, we share some popular end-to-end solutions that help tackle corporate travel issues.
Concur: integrating booking and expense reporting
Concur, one of the leading companies of corporate travel management, provides the end-to-end services of travel and expense control by integrating booking and expense reporting. They pride themselves on creating “integrated travel and expense management solutions” with a well-developed, cloud-based software for simplifying the entire travel booking and expense claim process. Whether business travelers are on the web, on a smartphone or on a tablet, Concur’s service can be easily accessed to control travel, expense and invoice processes. Their product includes approving travel requests, booking corporate travel and itineraries, filing travel expense claims, analyzing the corporate spend with more accurate information, and generating financial reports. If the traveler needs to make a last-minute change to a flight, to book a hotel, or to hire a car, the Concur mobile app will solve such problems immediately. The mobile app also captures receipts and reports the information to the company directly.
Certify: focusing on expense management to save time and money
Offering “Expense management software that saves time and money,” Certify is a company that focuses on corporate expense reporting and management. Their mobile app includes features such as mobile receipt scan, integrated travel booking, and scheduled expense report creation. With Certify, business travelers experience an easier process with no more manual expense reports, but faster manager approvals and reimbursements. From the perspective of the company’s accountants, they receive expense reports on time, enjoy a shortened expense report processing time, no longer need data entry, and get increased visibility into spend. If organizations or companies have any problem during use, Certify also provides 24-hour live support on weekdays, email support, and a complete training camp website.
FLIO: providing rest and services within the airport
Awarded as the “Best Mobile Travel Solution,” FLIO is a startup that helps travelers to get a Wi-Fi connection, lounge access, airport FAQ answers, and deals on food and retail stores at global airports. FLIO helps travelers get online with one click, rather than having to fill out sign-in information to be connected at the airport, by saving travelers’ personal details and information. For those who have a longer stay at the airport, FLIO offers deals for travelers to enjoy lounges for a rest. No matter where the travelers are at the airport, FLIO makes sure that they find the right facilities and get to their destination within the airport, whether they’re looking for a shop, ATMs, or power outlets. While not an end-to-end booking provider itself, FLIO can be used as part of the booking and travel process to make travelers’ lives easier.
Direction of End-to-End Booking Services
Download your customizable travel policy template hereAccording to a case study by BCD Travel, by developing an end-to-end travel process for a consulting firm in Belgium as a solution, they were able to save the firm up to 45% in travel agency costs. Moreover, as the new online booking process developed by BCD increases traveler satisfaction, the new automated administration flow, including automated booking, online approval, and invoicing, avoids errors and mismatches to simplify the corporate travel process. By utilizing the online booking tool, the firm saves on service fees and office space. At the same time, the new authorization and online environment helps the firm monitor their business travelers and control travel costs effectively.
As more companies start to adopt new technology and look for travel management solutions, end-to-end booking, providing more efficient and personalized experiences, is definitely one of the elements driving the future of corporate travel management.
Lily Xing is an incoming sophomore at Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She was born in China and has been studying in the US since high school. She loves to enjoy her life by reading, traveling, and taking lots of photos.