Travel guide to the new business budgeting reality, with Pleo
Destinations around the world are opening up, and along with vacation plans and family visits, long overdue business trips are once again filling up travellers’ busy schedules. After two years of limited physical travel activity, especially across borders, it should come as little surprise that worldwide travel spend is expected to skyrocket this year.
In fact, global travel expenditure is forecasted to hit US$1.4 trillion by 2024, reaching the same levels as 2019 spending prior to the travel slump brought about by the pandemic. According to industry observers like the Global Business Travel Association, the return to business transport normalcy is ahead of industry expectations by a full year, indicative that businesses are on track for regular work travel, and its inherent expenses, once again.
But with all the changes – not just to the travel sector, but to work practices in this ‘new normal’ including the sizable shift to a hybrid working culture – crafting an effective business travel expense policy can have its challenges. Aside from actual budgetary concerns and logistics headaches, organisations face a raft of conditions that can challenge clear and stress-free travel guidelines for business people.
One of the major ones is the shift to a more decentralised workforce. After two years of enforced virtual meetings, there is a noticeable craving for the ‘personal touch’ of face-to-face business interactions. Employers and HR teams need to ensure that clear guidelines are set in place for renewed travel arrangements to visit remote coworkers or partners in-person.
As noted by the Global Business Travel Association, after two years of seeing the same monotonous things while sitting in home offices, over 33% of travellers will add a leisure component to at least one of their international work trips in 2022. In this new reality, mixing business and leisure to make trips less one-dimensional can raise staff productivity – so much so that employers might want to consider more flexible expense policy guidelines for such workers, such as regulations pertaining to hotel stay extensions and others.
Work trips will definitely be pricier in the current economic climate, with the average costs exceeding US$326 [£263.62] per day at end-2021; so to be prepared, companies will have to cut costs in other ways. One method is to procure business travel insurance for employees, as insurance can drastically reduce the costs related to unplanned-for incidents like medical evacuation or lost equipment.
Business travel insurance should certainly feature in one’s travel expense planning, especially as supervisors would likely much prefer to authorise predictable monthly insurance billing rather than be slammed with a lump sum for a costly hospital visit or similar. This is especially cogent if it is an international trip. Failing to plan for these risks could affect an employee’s productivity, and even morale, as they may feel marginalised while trying to further the firm’s interests overseas.
Another big factor that will colour businesses’ travel expenditures going forward is the overarching conversation around sustainability. Sweeping recent climate control actions will see more European governments looking to introduce mandatory climate reporting for industries. Companies that fail to comply with regulations for corporations and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) – like the UK’s recently modified reporting rules to disclose climate-related financial information – could be subject to hefty fines.
As a potential major expense, sustainable travel will be a talking point when it comes to end-of-year reporting. Businesses can do away with the headaches of calculating travel emissions costs later on by leveraging green-focused platforms like Goodwings, a Copenhagen-based hotel booking site that calculates travel emissions and then removes the same amount emitted by investing in verified, nature-based carbon removal projects such as initiatives to plant trees.
Business spending solution Pleo’s new e-book, The evolution of business travel: how you can navigate the new landscape, gathered the spending data of 20,000-plus European customers across the UK & Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Spain to identify the travel habits across Europe.
In the UK, Pleo customers spend the most on the travel booking platform, Trainline, while the highest number of transactions was recorded at TFL, with Uber a close second. Harnessing automation, Pleo’s solution will even auto-generate a ticket for their TFL journey as soon as the user taps in.
High-speed trains are the travel option of choice for business travellers in Spain and Sweden, with Renfree and SJ, respectively, the top choices by amounts spent. In Germany, national railway Deutsche Bahn is number one for both spending and transactions.
Booking.com is the preferred accommodation partner across the board, but local favourites like B&B Hotels in Germany and Scandic Hotels in Sweden, still get a look in. The e-book also highlights how toll roads consistently appear among the top-ten merchants by number of transactions.
Weary road travellers can let Pleo’s platform keep an automated eye on their mileage and fuel costs, simplifying expense reporting when the time comes. Most of the spending solution’s European customer base also use Pleo to pay for parking via an assortment of apps, such as RingGo in the UK, EasyPark in Denmark, and MobilPark in Sweden.
If you haven’t already, visit Pleo’s website today to download the e-book and gain valuable insights into business travel spending patterns that can help inform and optimise expense management and reporting. While you’re there, browse the “Pleo Sky Shop” to obtain intelligent apps that can make travelling for work less of a hassle than it needs to be, keeping employees engaged and productive.
There is App in the Air, a one-stop-app to plan, book, track and manage journeys in a single space; Timeshifter provides science-backed tips in real-time to keep the symptoms of jetlag at bay; Travelperk keeps track of the company travel budget while aiding with bookings and delayed/cancelled flights; AirBnB for Work offers selections of top-rated places to stay, as well as spaces for collaborative or creative work; among others, there is the Pleo app itself, helping keep track of user spending so they don’t have to while doing their work at the same time.
Pleo’s receipt scanning feature means that users don’t have to carry various physical receipts around with them to justify expenses anymore, with its advanced data technology automatically collecting all relevant purchase details and categorising them alongside the right expense with ease. Pleo’s physical and virtual cards to handily purchase any travel needs like flights, trains, rental cars and overnight accommodation can be used securely and uploaded to the smartphone app, tracking expenses seamlessly and triggering both spending limits and additional amount top-ups, as the case may be.
Even if travelling in a country where cash is still the prevalent transaction method, Pleo’s Pocket feature simplifies instant reimbursements, but still tracks all expenses in one easy-to-view, organised display.
In the current state of evolving business travel dynamics, keep on top of your spending by tapping into Pleo’s diverse and all-encompassing stable of business spend management solutions. Control your cost destiny for your next business trip, download the The evolution of business travel e-book here.