Automation and anytime, anywhere connectivity have become essential for today’s corporate traveller, who relies increasingly on the ability to make and change travel plans at a minute’s notice.

As such, agile solutions that deliver on pre-trip approval, profile management and online booking are in the vanguard of corporate travel support – sometimes quicker than the services that travellers could receive at the end of a phone.

“In corporate travel, it’s essential that we provide travellers with technology that drives automation and ease of service for the customer and the traveller, which is why we’ve introduced FCM Connect, a technology ecosystem housed within a single platform,” says Euan McNeil, GM of FCM Travel Solutions South Africa.

“FCM Connect provides corporate travel support in the form of profile management, trip approval and online booking, as well as traveller tracking, programme reporting and data analytics. These are all essential tools within any corporate travel booking tool.”

According to McNeil, corporate travel managers should be able to use the data available through a tool like FCM Connect to manage their travel programmes strategically.

“Customised reports provide travel managers with access to key metrics in real time so reports that blend historical travel and expense data with up-to-date data dashboards provide immediate visibility of the organisation’s travel spend.”

Incorporating third-party data sources, these analytics give travel managers strategic insights that help them benchmark their travel programmes and run forecasts to improve their travel programmes, policies and compliance.

A tool like FCM Connect also allows a company to track travellers accurately and inform them proactively of any potential disruptions or threats to their safety, thus fulfilling the organisation’s duty-of-care obligations. “Travellers can access information and resources throughout their journey via their mobile as and when they need to,” says McNeil.

“There is a clear demand for technology among business travellers as they increasingly begin to use the same technology they use in their personal lives for their business travel,” he adds.

“To encourage travellers to comply with travel policies, it is essential that travel managers review these technology demands and introduce technological suites like FCM Connect among all travel stakeholders.”

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The next step is to make it simple for business travellers to comply by doing away with onerous approval processes through automation.

“An online tool like FCM Connect should provide the facility to streamline pre- and post-trip approval workflows, as well as making it easy for travellers to keep on top of their travel administration, like submitting expenses, so that they are reimbursed timeously.”

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McNeil suggests that companies considering an online tool should assess the extent to which that tool is customisable.

“A tool like FCM Connect should be able to synchronise with any online or travel booking system and provide a range of online and global booking tools so travellers and travel managers can plan, book and change travel itineraries without having to rely on outside booking channels.”

Companies should assess the extent to which a travel tool will introduce efficiencies, reduce costs and improve travel-policy compliance.

“Technology helps us achieve more and is changing the way we do business. The question today isn’t if corporates should adopt a travel technology platform like FCM Connect. It is, can you afford not to?”

This article was paid for by FCM Travel Solutions.

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