A Traveler Is a Traveler – No Matter How Much They’re Managed

Booking travel as a road warrior includes a flurry of flight options, hotel choices, rental cars or taxi companies – usually with policy compliance coming in as an afterthought. According to a recent PhoCusWright study, almost half (53%) of U.S. business travelers book whatever is most convenient – even if that means going out of policy. So how can we best help businesses control costs while giving travelers the freedom of choice?

The answer is simple: open it up.

We are encouraging our clients to embrace a managed open booking travel model, where companies augment their existing managed travel programs with unmanaged options. Through an integrated travel and expense process – even if the travel isn’t booked within Concur Travel – we offer road warriors greater freedom and flexibility, while clients maintain control and visibility to spend. We bring the transaction data back into Concur through TripIt integration, and you get access to spending data you never had before.

At Concur, we’re on a mission to make the entire travel experience better to meet the interests for our most valuable assets – the business traveler and the companies they work for.

Managed travel programs are how many businesses have traditionally runs things – you set policies and guidelines designed to manage your bottom line. You see greater savings from preferred vendors and you have visibility into what’s being spent, by whom and on what. It’s been command and control.

But business travelers today want the ability to book wherever, whenever they want, in that unmanaged way that provides autonomy, freedom and flexibility. As the business travel experience evolves for frequent fliers, so too must our thinking on travel management.

An open booking model allows for a hybrid of vendor sourcing that gives road warriors the independence they seek, while giving managers more transparency. Combining managed and unmanaged travel can give companies more control over compliance, visibility into spending and ultimately, savings to the bottom line.

One benefit of this model is greater visibility to where your employees are located for duty of care, a company’s legal and ethical obligation to ensure the safety of its employees. Concur’s Locate & Alert service can keep you connected with travelers all the time, in cases of unforeseen events and emergencies. That duty of care connection allows for greater flexibility and visibility – two of the most important demands facing our industry to date.

Employees want choices. Companies want control. We think the solution is an open approach to booking that brings together the best of both worlds, creating an opportunity for travelers and managers to reinvent the managed travel industry.

Want to see what clients at Fusion are saying about this new era of corporate travel booking? Check out the conversation live from Fusion on Twitter with #CF2012. Find more photos from the event on Flickr.

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