Like many travel programmes, some business travel approval processes haven’t evolved with the technology used to facilitate them.
Many organisations still require all trips to be approved, despite having a travel policy in place, leading to a frustrating booking process for both the traveller and the approver.
So now in 2018, with the resources available, is getting approval for every single trip really necessary? And if so, what is it necessary to achieve?
Approvals for curbing cost
If your answer is reducing the booking of trips over a certain amount, you may need to rethink your need for approvals.
Provided you’ve got a dynamic travel policy to control costs, and it’s inbuilt into your booking tool, you should be confident to let your employees book within budget without approval – if it’s ‘in policy’, the user will know before they book, eliminating the need for approval.
Approvals for curbing behaviour
The aims of this type of approval will vary depending on your organisation’s individual business travel programme, but here are some examples:
- To limit the booking of trips in business or first class
- To reduce unnecessary additional costs in particular ticket types
- To increase awareness for booking of travel to dangerous countries or areas – a must in terms of duty of care
- To limit the use of a supplier that doesn’t deliver the service standards you expect for your staff
While approvals may be an effective method of curbing these behaviours in your organisation, they do inevitably lengthen the booking process, risking a price increase during the approval window.
Because of this, it may be worth considering other behaviour curbing options such as more user feedback or internal comms regarding booker behaviour of even post-booking notifications. Many booking tools now also offer automated in-app booking guidance to sway users towards or away from particular booking options.
So, consider what your objective is in enforcing approvals. Analysing what you want to achieve will reveal whether or not your approval system is working and whether you even need one at all.