By now, it’s fair to say that most professionals use their mobile devices to stay productive both in and outside of the office—and they’re not slowing down any time soon. In fact, when it comes to traveling, they’re finding even more ways to use their devices. Researching, booking, expense reporting…you name it.
And since more companies are investing in mobile-enabled productivity apps—via complete SaaS solutions and/or in-house system integrations—travel managers are overhauling their T&E policies. Even if your organization hasn’t embraced the “there’s an app for that” philosophy in travel management, recent industry research provides compelling evidence supporting a fresh look at your policies.
Mobile and Business Travel Today
ADARA research, as reported in the Travel Market Report article Gaining Road Warriors’ Loyalty, found:
- The more time business travelers spend on the road, the more they rely on mobile booking tools
- A majority of business travelers rely on smartphones (85%) and tablets (89%) to complete purchases
- Business travelers conduct more research before booking flights or hotels than the typical consumer
What’s more, a study from PhoCusWright reveals:
- 84% of business travelers use smart phones for business use during travel
- 42% of business travelers indicated they access the mobile Web on their devices of choice to perform tasks that they wouldn’t ordinarily do on their desktops—including tracking their travel spending
However, in the New York Times article Business Travelers Want to Be Left to Their Own Devices, author Jad Mouawad points out that “…corporations still make it hard for their traveling employees to use current technology and integrate their own travel management tools with company programs [to avoid giving] employees too much control over purchasing decisions, fearing that doing so will erode cost controls.” The article goes on to cite findings that only one in four companies have a policy governing mobile devices as they relate to employee travel.
The Big Red Flags
It appears that for business travelers, efficiency trumps compliance. At some point during their trip, an employee just might book a flight, a room, a taxi or a ride-share on their mobile device. If this is considered an “alternative booking service” because it is outside of the traditional channels, it’s harder to track, measure or report on. For travel managers, this is a realization of their big fears: loss of control and reduced travel compliance.
This is why incorporating mobile-specific language into your T&E policy is so important. In your organization’s effort to create a T&E policy that balances convenience and control, take your employees’ preferences into account and see how they align with what your administrators need to maintain policy compliance and a smooth workflow.
Mobile-Specific Travel Policies
Policies and procedures need to make room for everything from mobile-enabled research, booking, expense reporting and everything in between. Some companies provide guidelines for how, when, and why employees use their mobile devices while on company time, and what apps and activities comply with booking and expense-related policies.
Consider these mobile policy examples courtesy of Travizon Travel Management:
If a company owned device must travel with you internationally, you are required to notify your manager for approval at least two weeks prior to departure. Notification should include:
- Dates of travel (start and end)
- Devices traveling
- Each international destination
This will ensure the most cost effective plans/features can be added to the mobile number. The Company will approve costs for additional international plans/features and usage based on the end user’s position and length of travel.
The Company has the right to install business applications and productivity tools on any device participating in the Mobile program. Examples of approved applications are: ___, ___, ___ and ___. Any employee disabling or deleting a company-installed application risks losing their device.
Tame the Back-End with Nexonia Expenses
Putting your expectations for travelers’ mobile behavior into writing is a great first step in managing a productive (and compliant) 24/7 workforce. So is providing your business travelers and admin team with the mobile tools they need to streamline their productivity on the back-end of a trip: expense reporting.
The Nexonia Expenses app, integrated with your accounting system, works to take the hassle out of the process for paperless, end-to-end convenience. When an employee can simply pick up their mobile device to start a report and manage all of their transactions, including receipt image capture and credit card feeds, they’ll have no reason to “go rogue” with any off-channel expense reporting. When it’s so easy to hop on their mobile app, why would they want to?
Read 3 Reasons to Go Mobile With Your Employee Expense Reporting to learn more about the advantages of on-the-go travel management capabilities.