Corporate ravel budgets are tightening, and a shift toward business travel approvals is becoming clear.
But what is the best process for awarding your business travel approval? And what actually results in the best booking practice?
What are the benefits of pre-trip approval?
Pre-trip approval is exactly what it sounds like: a mechanism by which companies approve business trips before they take place.
The primary advantage of pre-trip approval is limiting spend. Any trip that doesn’t get approval won’t incur costs.
This method of business travel approval also allows prepayment, which eliminates the need for a post-trip expense claim procedure. On top of this, it improves traveller tracking.
There are, however, some disadvantages to pre-trip approval. You run the risk of price increases while travellers wait for the travel approval to come through. Fortunately, developments in travel distribution are addressing this concern. Many pre-trip approval systems support the ability to ‘hold’ certain travel reservations. This function provides a temporary window for the approval to take place.
What are the benefits of post-trip approval?
Post-trip approval is, of course, a mechanism by which companies approve business travel after the fact.
This typically results in a traveller booking and paying for the trip themselves. The approval and expense claim process would then occur after the trip. The lack of a temporary approval window eliminates the risk of price increases.
But post-trip approval is not without flaws. The primary disadvantage is the risk that the trip may not get approved, leaving the claimant out of pocket.
Post-trip approval therefore requires a crystal clear travel policy and approval criteria. Without transparency, employees may become anxious about their travel booking choices.
Which business travel approval method is right for you?
Whether or not pre- or post-trip approval is beneficial to your policy will depend on several factors. You may not require an approval process at all since other facilities can eliminate the need. For example, notifications on bookings accomplish a similar goal to approval processes. They alert line managers as to where and when travel spend is occurring.
This allows for a less rigid booking process, while also guiding booker behaviour through monitoring booking choices.
Any booking or approval process you implement should match your company policy. How do you want your organisation to behave with regard to corporate travel? This is something that your account manager can advise on.