For those who manage business travel, reporting can be a stressful process. Gathering business travel expenses and other data can be both tricky and time-consuming but luckily there are ways around this. Read on for our top tips to make business travel reporting clear and simple.

What is business travel reporting?

Business travel reporting refers to the documenting of the corporate travel process to improve the overall strategy and efficacy of a corporate travel program. Collating patterns in spending, trip purpose, general learnings and other data, these reports give an overview of business trips in their entirety. They also help justify the cost to the company, proving how your business can benefit from travel.

Who creates business travel reports?

Usually these reports are created by business travel managers within the administration or finance teams of a corporation.

What should be included in a business travel report?

  1. Goal-setting. The introduction of a business travel report should be seen somewhat like an overview of the entire trip. It ought to include the main goal, as well as any conferences or business fairs attended, proposed benefits of the trip and potential business deal prospects.
  2. Key details. Break the business travel report down into bullet points or headlines so that you have a section dedicated to the essential details. This should provide an introduction to the report, as well as underlining the main purpose of the trip. It should also mention the names of your company's business travelers, the destinations they visited and any business associates they met.
  3. Pre-trip information. The process of business travel reporting ought to begin well before the actual business trip. Recommended preparations include writing down the key corporate objectives, with instructions on the documentation needed to measure achievement of these goals. Keeping track of information during a business trip is very important and doesn’t just apply to expenses, but can also relate to feedback forms with clients and videos of presentations and seminars.
  4. Trip details. The body forms the bulk of the business travel report. This is more of a reflection on whether objectives were met, including successes and failures of the trip and any other additional achievements that aren’t noted elsewhere. It’s also helpful to then elaborate on why these achievements can benefit the business.
  5. Takeaways. The conclusion should wrap up the report with key takeaways and summarize the ROI of the trip. Focus on the final benefits to the business after all meetings and objectives are completed, and include information like data, photos, documents and feedback surveys all in one place.

Top 7 corporate reporting tips:

1. Automate

Using business travel management software is one way to make your life as a travel manager much easier. Manually adding expenses into spreadsheets is not only arduous but also creates a margin of error. Modern software solutions like the Booking for Business app allow you to gather all your platforms and policies in one place, providing a one-stop-shop for booking business travel as well as being easy to manage.

You can monitor travel expenses, arrange itineraries, book hotels and flights, and integrate tools like dashboards. Tools and apps like these mean you can access data anywhere, easily adjust trip details and create travel reports.

2. Return on Investment (ROI) analysis

If you want to ensure that your company’s business travel is smooth and efficient, analyzing ROI is a smart way to use data to impact decision-making. Depending on the metrics used, ROI can give you insight into a number of aspects of corporate travel.

  • Business deals – calculating the number of profitable deals a business trip procures for the company is a clear method of measuring the benefit of corporate travel to a company.
  • Revenue – revenue is another way to dictate whether business travel benefits a company, with many business trips seeing multiple profitable sales and client meetings.
  • Brand visibility – the opportunity for brand-building and relationship-building with other industry insiders is a major incentive for business travel.
  • Business relationships – while not so easily measurable, part of an ROI analysis involves tracking whether closer and better business relationships are generally a result of your corporate travel.
  • Financial savings – ROI analysis can help you assess whether you are saving money on travel arrangements and expenses, and optimize these aspects for future business trips.

3. Environmental impact tracking

Business travel can have a considerable impact on a company’s carbon footprint and, therefore, the environment. Business travel reporting can minimize this negative impact by monitoring and using data to reduce the overall energy consumption and production of waste from corporate trips. But how do companies track their environmental impact?

  • Environmental impact tracking can help companies monitor how compliant employees are with sustainable business travel policies, train them to ensure they’re compliant and offer incentives for doing so.
  • Analyzing carbon emissions data helps reduce emissions by finding the main contributing factors that can then be targeted with a sustainable business travel strategy.
  • Tracking energy consumption trends can also identify where business travel is using the most resources and creating the greatest negative impact, so that this can then be improved upon.

4. Collate feedback

Collating feedback from employees into digestible reports can significantly improve the efficiency of business travel in terms of traveler satisfaction. Running surveys on the success of a trip and analyzing mistakes that might have been made is a key way to streamline the process.

Listening to employees’ insights is not only a great way to make sure you don’t waste money on unreliable means of transport or inconveniently located hotels – it also boosts engagement and employee recognition, helping to build a culture of business travel policy compliance.

To do this, you should:

  • Utilize training and feedback mechanisms like surveys and feedback forms
  • Be proactive about addressing issues
  • Keep your travel policy concise and clear

5. Run regular audits

Running regular expense or process efficiency audits is a fundamental way of preventing the risk of fraud, increasing compliance and cutting costs by finding where overspending might have taken place and then updating policies accordingly. Conducting these audits on a regular basis allows you to analyze long-term trends and constantly improve upon your processes so that your business travel remains efficient and effective.

6. Use a travel report template

Using a template is an easy way to make sure you don’t miss any aspect of organizing business travel. A standard template should include the following:

  • Personal information – name, job title and company department.
  • Trip information – a summary of the trip itinerary.
  • Trip purpose – objectives and KPIs.
  • Expense information – daily budget, as well as how to record and submit expenses.
  • Work arrangements – meetings, events, activities and sites visited.
  • Results – business achievements (e.g. successful pitches or deals closed), business opportunities and challenges.
  • Expenses – cost of food, accommodation and transportation (including airfare or train travel as well as airport transfers and public transport during the trip).
  • Learnings – problems encountered and suggestions to improve the business travel experience for future trips.

7. Use mobile apps

The development of modern business travel solutions and management software has been a real boon to business travel. It has allowed a level of delegation in the business travel organization process and lightened the workload of business travel admins, with business travelers able to use business travel mobile apps easily on the go. They’re a great way to make business travel considerably more efficient, improving compliance and traveler satisfaction.

And there’s a huge range of apps available. From those for expenses where photos of receipts can be uploaded on the go, to multi-purpose apps where you can book every aspect of a business trip on one single platform. Even after the trip, the apps have you covered; extensive features often include in-app 24-7 customer service messaging and compiling business travel data into a neat post-trip report.

To conclude

In summary, the reporting process is a fundamental part of business travel. If you want to ensure that your company uses corporate travel to its maximum advantage, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest industry innovations. And thanks to the changing business travel sphere and developments in technology that have made it all a whole lot smoother, it’s much easier these days.

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