A survey of SMEs by global hotel booking platform Roomex found that travel management – and hotel booking in particular – is an expensive administrative and compliance headache for companies.

The study of 400 professionals from small a medium-size businesses shows administrative efficiency is the primary objective for a third of respondents when looking at travel bookings. A further 22 per cent cited cost savings as the most important aspect, followed by 13 per cent who prioritise time saving.

When it comes to challenges faced by SMEs, 37 per cent of finance and procurement professionals said cost containment causes them trouble. Hotel accommodation is a major spend category for SMEs and brings its own problems; 25 per cent of respondents said they found hotel invoices do not match cost codes, which caused issues when booking travel. The same amount felt that a lack of integration with accounting systems is an administrative nightmare.

Policy compliance raises another red flag in the SME world, with more than a third of survey participants saying their company’s policies aren’t always adhered to. Moreover, 37 per cent said their business’s policies are influenced by external regulations within their sector and a staggering 13 per cent said they weren’t sure about their company’s policy, indicating a risk of inadvertently running into trouble with statutory bodies or industry watchdogs.

Julian Kulkarni, vice president of marketing at Roomex, said: “It is clear from the survey that many employees face a wide range of difficulties in managing hotel bookings, from the office assistant or PA who makes the booking right through to the person travelling and the CFO. Organising arrangements for yourself, an army of delegates, colleagues or employees can be a nightmare and what’s more, keeping yourself and all of your travellers up-to-date can cause a serious headache. Companies need to wake up to the fact that technology has made it both easier and harder for corporate travel bookings and make sure their solutions are simple for the person travelling.”


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