According to recent research, only 20 per cent of travel buyers have been able to implement an end-to-end programme, citing several barriers to integrating processes.

While 76 per cent of 276 travel buyers surveyed said their programme is partially integrated – meaning everything from booking to payments, expense management and reporting is part of a single, seamless process – many are still facing challenges along the way.

A new report, “The Journey to Integrated Travel Management”, by ACTE and American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) found online booking tools (OBTs) are the most commonly integrated element of respondents’ programmes (92 per cent). This is followed by corporate cards (74 per cent) and expense management platforms (60 per cent).

When asked about their motivations for integration, travel managers ranked visibility and control of expenses (70 per cent), improved user experience (65 per cent) and duty of care (58 per cent) as their top three priorities.

Despite a high number of partially integrated programmes, almost a quarter (22 per cent) of travel managers have no further plans to implement an end-to-end solution.

Lack of resources (25 per cent) and a perceived lack of internal and stakeholder support (30 per cent) were cited as problems faced by buyers, but the biggest challenge proved to be poor traveller adoption and unwillingness to change (37 per cent). This is despite 34 per cent of respondents saying travellers are one of the driving factors for attempting integration, just behind stakeholders in procurement (53 per cent) and finance (45 per cent).

ACTE executive director Leigh Bochicchio commented: “The corporate travel manager’s core mission is to set up business travellers for success – and integration efforts are key to creating these conditions. Having to navigate a constellation of tools and technology to plan a trip can hinder productivity for travellers. End-to-end travel programmes solve for this issue, and at the end of the day, everyone wins: the traveller, the travel manager and the organisation as a whole.”

Buyers also called on support from all partners in the travel workflow on their journey to an end-to-end programme, including technology platform providers (62 per cent), TMCs (59 per cent), payment providers (39 per cent) and suppliers (33 per cent).

Bruno Murray, VP at Amex GBT, said: “With advances in technology and services, a truly integrated travel and expense management ecosystem is achievable, delivering a better user experience, and efficiencies and control to buyers and their organisations. Barriers to integration can be overcome with the right technologies and change management expertise – and I encourage all travel buyers to challenge their TMCs to deliver on this.”

Download the full report here

acte.org; amexglobalbusinesstravel.com

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