The title may seem a bit grim to the average road warrior, but it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. According to Executive Travel Magazine, that fee-laden expense report isn’t being passed on to corporate travelers, either. Companies are leveraging data and other resources to negotiate better deals with airlines, car rental companies and hotels. This allows them to shed excess fees related to checked bags, in-flight meals, Wi-Fi access and other charges that typically help pad expense reports and, consequently, negatively impact travel & expense budgets that are already stretched thin. The article reports a 10-15% reduction in reimbursements in these categories versus even just a year ago.
It’s not a complete win for corporate budgets, however. Compared to this time last year, companies are paying 4% more per hotel room and 5% more per airplane ticket. While those costs (and increases) can be tough to circumvent, the increasingly mobile work force is relying more on smart phones, laptops, and other devices to keep them tuned into their expense data and travel arrangements, whether through flight and rental car information or on-the-go expense management software. In short, tech-savvy travelers are making use of tools that are saving their companies from being nickel-and-dime’d with excessive ancillary fees.
Expense management, in particular, is delivering technology that allows companies to keep close tabs on who is spending how much, where and on what. That kind of visibility is invaluable, as it provides leverage that can be used to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of fees with vendors…which is exactly what companies are doing. Implementing a comprehensive spend policy that can be enforced with technology is a win/win for businesses, whether on the road or at the negotiating table.