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Travel Management for Organizations: Trips, Expenses and Software

7 Tips on Choosing Travel Management Software for Your Business Trip

Choosing Travel Management Software
Travel Agent vs TMC

Travel spending in the USA is at its highest since before the pandemic. Corporate travel is back, and things can get hectic without travel management software.

Sure, you can do it the old-fashioned way, but corporate travel is stressful, and things can go wrong. You could book the wrong hotel, confuse flight times, or go over your travel budget.

Travel management software helps you find, book, and report on your corporate trips. But how do you choose the right software? What should you look for or avoid?

Read on for 7 tips to help you decide.

1. Which Travel Management Software Features Do You Need?

You want advanced booking functions to help you arrange everything. This should have a list of WHO-approved, safe hotels suitable for business guests. Flight booking and cost aggregation functions are effective tools too.

You want to be able to create, manage, and edit complex travel policies. These need to be crystal clear and available to all parties. Choose software for travel that lets you adapt to each situation.

Live location data helps you track employees’ movements and safety. This lets you react to emergencies and monitor security. The best travel management software also blocks unsafe areas, hotels, or cities.

Cloud-based storage and sharing lets teams collaborate while on the move. It also helps protect sensitive information in case of laptop theft. Your important data will be backed up on the cloud.

2. Stay Eco-Friendly, Sustainable, and Efficient

Sustainability is one of the key constraints for corporate travel in 2022. Businesses are under pressure to make trips eco-friendly. This helps keep the public, stakeholders, and investors confident in the company’s ethics.

Deloitte reports sustainability will cut travel budgets by 11 to 25% for 3 in 10 companies. This means you need to tighten up your carbon footprint to stay in the game. Environmental awareness can boost your reputation.

The best travel management software can help you do this. Choose the most eco-friendly routes and offset your carbon footprint. You can group employees on the same flights where possible, cutting emissions.

3. Invest in the Travel Management Software You Can Afford

When comparing software costs, think about the added risk of a low-quality solution. It is better to invest in more premium software for travel than have to remedy the wrong choice later.

Time is precious in business and low-quality software wastes hours of it. Free software is risky too and usually comes bloated with ads. Security could be lacking, and your data may be at risk of exploitation.

After your initial investment, look for zero monthly maintenance costs. Setup costs should also be free.

Updates should be free to download. Annual fees should be at a minimum too. Ask about these when you enquire about travel management software.

4. Look for Excellent Customer Service and Support

24/7 support is essential for corporate travel. Your employees may need technical help several time zones away. Avoid travel management software companies with 9 to 5 hours, no matter where they are.

Web chat support can be useful; your team may be in loud areas or lack cell reception for a clear call. But always look for software with live agents on call standby as this can be faster.

Your travel management software provider should offer installation help. This could be web-based, a phone call, or even a remote access solution.

5. Do They Have Regular Software Updates?

Updates are essential for security and efficiency. Hackers look for security flaws in outdated software. Security updates patch these holes and keep you secure when working.

Regular software updates keep you up to date with travel advice and per diem rates. These can change fast. Missing them can affect your budget or cancel your trip altogether.

New features should be added free of charge in most cases. These could be better booking systems, detailed reporting, or GPS functionality, for example.

6. Does It Have Analytics, Reporting, and Expense Tracking?

Analytics are vital to an effective corporate travel policy. How can you refine your strategy without the right data?

You need to analyze your previous trip to see where you could save time and money. Your software should let you compare this to the industry at large. How do you stack up to your competitors?

Real-time reporting lets you keep track of trips and see how things are going. You can spot spending issues before they become major. You can help avoid unnecessary costs, track mileage, and make better decisions.

Your reports should show all the relevant information and group it in a logical way. Function, time, employee, team, and department are places to start. You should collate transaction records from all sources.

Itemization helps you create precise post-trip summaries. You want to know where every dollar went. Reimbursement will be smoother as a result, and you will have records to show your colleagues.

7. Make Sure It Is Easy to Use

Your software for travel must have an intuitive user interface. It is unfair to assume all employees are tech enthusiasts. Make sure simplicity is a key factor in your app’s design, then test its usability yourself.

Your travel management software must work on multiple platforms. Your team should be able to use it on mobile, web, and desktop. This ensures trip information is always accessible when they need it.

Ask for downtime reports when you enquire about software for travel. You need a reliable travel management solution. The best companies have servers capable of handling the highest data demands.

Time to Plan Your Trip

Travel management software lets you take control of your corporate travel plans. Make the most of your next trip and hit your business goals.

Our team at Telios Travel has over 50 years of experience in corporate travel management. We put our customers first and use data-driven insights to ensure we get the results they need, always.

We offer travel management solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our customer service reputation is a matter of pride, and we can make your next business trip a success.

Contact us for your free demo today!

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How many times have you been walking through the airport for business? How many times did you show up to a business lunch that you had to travel an hour for that you had to pay for?

When it comes to traveling for business, there are some perks but also some frustrations. Cool, you get to travel and see new places. But at the same time, you have a lot of money flowing out of your pockets.

Luckily, a lot of these common travel expenses can turn into a write off if it is for business. But how does that work? Do you know how to write off travel expenses?

If not, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started with reimbursements!

The Rules Behind Travel Deductions

The best thing about traveling for business is that these expenses are 100% deductible. There really isn’t a limit on what you expense. These include expenses for the following:

  • Flights
  • Hotels or Airbnb/vacation rentals
  • Rental cars or transportation such as Uber & Lyft
  • Valet & taxi
  • Trains, tolls, etc.

You had to take a taxi to your dinner? No problem – you can expense that!

You were told which hotel to stay at for business and it’s more expensive than you would have chosen? You can expense that, too!

One thing to note is that the dining expenses and deductions is a bit different than travel. So even if you can deduct dining expenses, there are separate rules you will need to understand before deducting.

How Can You Write Off a Trip?

When you travel, you are technically traveling every single day you are there. For instance, if you have a 3-day business trip, you are technically traveling the day to get there, doing travel business the day you are there, and then traveling back home.

So does that mean you have to be doing business the entire time? No, if you plan it properly, you can make sure the trip is 100% tax deductible even if you have a bit of rest and relaxation in there for yourself!

However, this comes with some important things to take note of:

  • For each day of your trip, make sure you are doing something that has to do with business at least once pet day
  • Keep records of everything that you are doing and how it relates to your business

What Classifies as Business Travel?

It is actually not that hard to determine what classifies as business travel. Think about it this way: If you are doing something business related where you are traveling, it is for business.

Here are a few more examples of what classifies as business travel so you have a better idea of what you can use as a travel expense reimbursement.

Company Meeting or Training

If you work for a company that asks you to travel for them to meet or to go through more training, that is a travel expense for business.

If you do go, be sure you document everything and write it down to prove it is all a business expense.

Travel to a Client

This could go several ways. For starters, if you travel to see a client as a travel agent, a consultant, or any other type of business venture, that is a reimbursable expense.

However, you could also be traveling and introduce yourself to new clients or strengthen relationships that are not quite at the client level yet. If you do that, and you document meetings with these clients, this can be another expense that you write off.

Check Your Rental Property

This one may have slipped your mind. But if you travel to your rental property, you can write off that expense. If you are checking on it to make sure things are going right before renting it again, you are doing that for your business. In reality, renting out your own property is a business.

While you may not be able to expense every single day that you are there, you can at least expense the days you do stuff with the property to prepare for another rental.

Other Tips and Tricks for Travel Write Offs

It can be tricky to figure out exactly how to write off travel expenses. That’s why we want to give you a few more tips and tricks to walk away with.

For starters, you want to know how you are paying for the travel to keep track of it all. You could:

  • Use a business credit card
  • Prepay
  • Ask for reimbursement (or reimburse yourself for your own business)

Make sure you get rid of unnecessary expenses as well. For instance, if you travel to NYC for a trip, going to Broadway for a show with your friends is not a business expense. You will be out of pocket for that one.

Consider your means of travel as well. If it is driving, you have to take into account mileage, gas, repairs, and maintenance costs.

Always record your data and keep note of business expenses and taxes for your files.

How to Write Off Travel Expenses

Writing off travel expenses is not straightforward.

But after reading this guide, you now have a better idea of how to write off travel expenses for business! With all the caveats, you want to make sure you are doing it properly to keep the reputation of your business strong.

Since it’s not always easy, at Telios Travel, we can help you figure it all out. You can book a demo with us today!

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Guide to Booking Business Travel: Everything to Know

The Complete Guide to Booking Business Travel: Everything to Know

Time to hit the trails! Businesses spent $126 billion on corporate travel in 2021 alone. Traveling for business can help you make connections and grow your client pool.

But you shouldn’t start booking business travel just yet. To make the most of your business trip, you need to write a business travel checklist for yourself and go through the steps one by one.

What do you need to do before you start booking services? How can you book services effectively? How can you save money on your hotel, airfare, and other accommodations?

Answer these questions and you can make booking business travel effective and easy. Here is your quick guide.

Take Care of Your Identification

In order to travel for business, you need to have a valid ID. The ID can be a driver’s license or a state-issued card with your photograph on it. If you’re traveling outside the country, you need to have a passport.

The government can take several weeks to produce a new ID or update an old one. If you need an ID, you need to fill out the application well in advance of your trip.

Starting on May 3, 2023, you must have a REAL ID in order to travel domestically. Even if you are traveling before that point, you may want to update your ID now so it’s off your itinerary. You can use your REAL ID to enter government buildings and fill out paperwork.

Make copies of your passport and state-issued ID in case you lose them. When you book your flight, use the name and address listed on your ID so your paperwork is consistent. A TSA agent may not let you on board if your name is spelled differently.

Make an Itinerary

Booking business hotels and other services is a lot easier when you know what you are doing at your destination. You should make an itinerary a few months in advance of your business trip.

Start with when you are checking into your hotel. Figure out how long you will need to stay.

If you’re going to a conference that ends at night, you should stay in the hotel that night and then check out in the morning. If the conference ends during the morning, you can check out and attend the morning events before heading home.

Your flight should arrive at your destination before the check-in time. It’s okay if you need late check-in, but it can cost a fee. You may want to give yourself extra time in case your flight is delayed or you encounter traffic on your way to the hotel.

Take a look at what work-related events you need to do and put them on your itinerary. But give yourself time at the start and end of each day for your team to meet together and discuss what is going on. You should also give yourself time to meet with clients and associates and travel between locations.

Give your itinerary to all members of your team. You should schedule a meeting so everyone knows what will happen. If someone wants edits to the itinerary, make those edits before you book your items so you don’t run into problems.

During your meeting, you can develop a corporate travel policy. The policy should describe how employees should behave themselves during business trips. It should also mention how travel expenses will be paid for.

Book Your Accommodations in Advance

You should buy your plane tickets at least three weeks in advance, if not sooner. An airplane may only have a few business class seats, and they can book up quickly. Find non-stop flights so you don’t waste time in cities you don’t need to be in.

You should book your hotel reservation around the same time. Some airlines let you package your hotel and airfare together, letting you save money on both. If you’re traveling in a group, try to apply for a discount.

Do not forget about ground transportation, restaurant reservations, and help with packing for business trips. Look for business hotels with concierge staffers that can help you find these accommodations. You can also use travel booking software to package these services together.

Leverage Travel Rewards Programs

Many travel rewards programs cater to business travelers, especially corporate executives. You can earn points that count toward free airplane tickets or hotel rooms.

If you’re not in a program already, you should join one. Create a corporate account so everyone at your company can contribute to the program and receive rewards.

Most rewards programs are attached to credit cards, which can come with fees. Read the fine print before you sign up and think about when you will qualify for rewards. If you don’t travel on a regular basis, the fees may not be worthwhile.

Try to get a program that gives you access to airport lounges. Lounges let you work before you get on your airplane and serve better quality food than airport restaurants.

You should also join a rewards or loyalty program with a hotel chain. You may qualify for perks like free Wi-Fi just for signing up. As time goes on, you can receive free upgrades for rooms and free or discounted nights.

Start Booking Business Travel the Right Way

Before you start booking business travel, you should check your ID to make sure it is valid. You should also develop an itinerary so you know which flights and hotels to book. Remember to get a rental car or limo for your team.

Book your accommodations a month before your trip. Try booking them in packages so you save money. You can also save money or earn perks by signing up for rewards programs.

If you need help with travel booking, turn to corporate travel professionals. Telios Travel helps companies throughout America with their travel plans. Contact us today.

Business Trips: Expectations vs. Reality

Business Trips: Expectations vs. Reality

Planning your first business trip? If so, you probably have some preconceived notions as to what a business trip entails. While some of what you assume is likely correct, there are most certainly areas where your expectations don’t meet the reality of the situation.

So, what should you know about in terms of business trips? What are the expectations vs reality? We’re going to get into that now!

Traveling: Expectations vs Reality

First, let’s discuss the expectations of traveling for corporate events and compare them against the reality of traveling for business purposes. We’ll start with expectations and then cover the reality.

Expectations of Traveling

Whether traveling by plane, car or otherwise, you likely expect to depart at an agreed-upon time. As such, you also expect to arrive within a ballpark time range.

Along the way, you hope to have access to your cell phone, your laptop, and other electrical entities. You might even plan on using the travel time to get important work done.

Reality of Traveling

Unfortunately, delays occur. Whether it’s due to inclement weather, a major car accident, or otherwise, it can drastically set back your arrival time. If this occurs, you could miss an important meeting and jeopardize your relationship with another business.

There’s also a chance that you won’t be able to access your electronic entities. Therefore, you might not have the opportunity to complete important work during the trip. To counteract these potentials, you should leave some leeway for both your arrival time and your work production.

Lodging

Next, we’re going to discuss the expectations and realities of lodging during a business trip. Even with proper planning, things go awry. Therefore, you have to have a backup plan available.

Expectations of Lodging

When you arrive at the hotel in your business trip destination, you expect your room to be ready. You hope to have assistance in getting your luggage to your home. In addition, you expect that things like WiFi will be available and easy to access.

You also, of course, expect the water in your room to be hot. Not to mention, you expect all of the appliances to be working.

Reality of Lodging

The reality of lodging could be far different from your expectations. Let’s say that the WiFi is spotty. If so, you could have trouble getting important work done.

Let’s say that there’s a problem with the building’s water heater. You could find it difficult to take a comfortable shower.

There might even be excess noise around the building. This could impair your ability to get good sleep.

Because of this, it’s wise to do a bit of recognizance prior to booking a hotel. This way, you’ll have a pretty good idea that you’re getting a good experience.

Meeting With Associates

You’re going on a business trip. As such, you’re likely planning to meet with potential partners or suppliers at your business trip venue. Let’s see how that plays out.

Expectations of Meeting With Associates

When you come into the meeting, you expect to be greeted warmly. You expect those at the meeting to have a full understanding of what the meeting is about. You expect some resistance but also expect to come to a reasonable agreement.

You might even expect to make friends with those at the meeting. In an ideal world, this is exactly what will happen.

Reality of Meeting With Associates

You get to the meeting on time . . . only to find that those you’re meeting with aren’t there. They show up 5 minutes late and they’re clearly flustered. They might even be rude.

You begin the discussion . . . only to find that the other side has very little idea as to what you’re talking about. As such, you find yourself having to make your pitch from an entirely different angle.

While some of what you say gets across, much of it leaves only confused looks on the faces of those you’re meeting with. Not only do you not get the deal that you’re looking for but, in the worst-case scenario, you’re not able to strike up a deal at all.

You leave feeling dejected. You might even forego pre-planned events in exchange for sitting in your room and nursing your wounds.

Free Time

Perhaps you’re looking to have a bit of fun while you’re on your business trip. Well, in many cases, the reality differs greatly from the expectations.

Expectations of Free Time

You expect that you’ll have time to see local sights. You might even plan on going to a baseball game or something similar. You probably want to hit a local restaurant.

If things to plan, these things will likely happen. Unfortunately, not everything goes to plan.

Reality of Free Time

You’re looking to see a local sight. However, your meeting goes longer than expected. As such, you don’t have time to get there before nightfall.

You’re hoping to catch a scheduled event. Unfortunately, you discover that you have pressing work to get done instead.

That local restaurant? You’re too tired to get across town to get to it. So, instead, you end up eating McDonald’s.

Need Help Managing Business Trips?

As you can see, the expectations of business trips very often differ from the reality of one. Therefore, in order to plan a successful trip, you need to be sure to get everything organized.

How can you achieve this? With the help of a corporate travel management company. Looking for one? Look no further than Telios Smart Traveling.

Contact us now to discuss the specifics of your trip!

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