Your employees are busy. Your managers are busy too. Neither has time amongst the jam-packed calendar of a typical working week to review the minute details of your travel and expense policy. Whether they’re just submitting expenses, or reviewing expense claims for others, they simply don’t have time to spare.
If you’re still using a manual or paper-based system, the process is even more time-consuming. Even when expenses are submitted and approved, your finance team can be wasting valuable time processing piles of paper or manually updating various spreadsheets.
As a result, inaccurate or exaggerated expenses can slip through. Without transparency, automation and digital cues to guide employees toward cost-effective and compliant choices, your budgets are at risk.
For many businesses, mileage is the only expense category where you don’t need to provide documentation for reimbursement. If your business is one of them, employees could be claiming for more miles than they are entitled to. This is a real concern when you consider that mileage is one of the most common expense categories. That’s a lot of unnecessary spend that could be put to better use elsewhere.
It’s not a pleasant experience for employees either. They need to remember every trip they made, when they made it, if roadworks were an issue, if they were transporting a fellow colleague… the list goes on and on. This takes time and can be a real drain on productivity when it comes to submitting a mileage claim.
A new bolt-on to the SAP Concur mobile app called Drive, helps to take the guesswork out of claiming mileage. Using GPS technology, and a few taps in the mobile app, employees can choose when to track mileage. This can be done automatically - by changing the settings to tell Drive when to track mileage, for example during your usual working hours - or when prompted. Then, this information can be sent straight into a Concur Expense claim.
Using this technology can benefit both the employee and the manager. Employees can manage all their expenses, including mileage, from anywhere and at any time through the SAP Concur app and managers can review and approve claims more quickly to ensure employees aren’t out of pocket for long. A win-win for everyone.
Investing in expense and mileage technology bring with it many benefits, not just improving the efficiency of employees and managers:
• It’s much easier to document, report on and reimburse the actual distance driven• You can be confident that mileage reporting is accurate, to improve compliance and audit readiness• Expense reporting becomes standardised for business mileage, removing the guesswork• You can spend less time scrutinising expenses and more time growing your business
And, as all this data is captured in real-time, everyone can be confident they’re not over or under claiming. Ultimately, utilising the technology available takes the frustration and guesswork out of claiming mileage, a solution that keeps managers - and their employees - happy.
To learn more, visit concur.co.uk/concur-drive
The number one business travel management podcast is back for its second season and we’re bringing some incredible guests along for the ride.
Following on from our successful first season, the host with the most, Kyle Daniels is back behind the mic to bring you a plethora of travel topics you need to know about and he’s not alone.
This season, we’ve got some of the biggest names in travel from buyers to suppliers gracing the studio, alongside influencers and experts in the business and travel world.
In the opening episode of season two, Kyle is joined by a couple of award winning travel and procurement consultants, Chris Pouney and Caroline Strachan*, alongside Clarity CEO Pat McDonagh to debate the difference between procurement with a small p and a capital P and whether procurement is part of the problem, or the solution, when it comes to travel management.
Season two also sees the return of popular segment, first, best and worst travel scenarios.
If you would like to get in touch with Absolute Clarity about appearing as a guest, sponsoring, or suggesting a future topic, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Chris Pouney is an independent consultant and vice chair of The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply while Caroline Strachan is the managing partner and co-founder of travel management consultancy firm Festive Road.
Last year we launched the very first business travel podcast, Absolute Clarity and now we’re ready to once again change the way you think about business travel. Today we have released episode one of Clarity Presents, a new series that is part of our Hearts & Minds campaign.
Our Hearts & Minds manifesto is available to download here, a challenge to the procurement community to take a traveller centric approach, shifting focus from the purely cost driven mentality of previous years.
Over the coming months, Head of Marketing and Communications Alexandra Kington will host our new series interviewing industry and supplier experts, members of team Clarity and also people from outside of the travel industry to share their thoughts and insights towards business travel.
Episode one features Clarity CEO, Pat McDonagh, breaking down the Hearts & Minds campaign and why it’s important for companies to strike a balance between traveller centricity and the requirements of a business.
To keep up to date with what’s changing in the world of business travel, subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications. Clarity presents is a monthly show, make sure you don’t miss the next episode.
At Clarity, we are committed to the recruitment and retention of employees and as part of that commitment we have joined a wide range of employers from all over the UK and signed up to the Mindful Employer Charter.
The Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health is a voluntary agreement seeking to support employers in working within the spirit of its positive approach. The Charter is one element of the MINDFUL EMPLOYER® initiative which is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace and supporting businesses in recruiting and retaining staff.
Jane Harrington, our Group Head or HR has said: “This is an incredibly important move for us. Mental health awareness has increased dramatically in the past years which is a fantastic step forward. We want to both support and educate our employees on mental health to foster an open, honest and inclusive work environment.”
“Business travel is a fast paced and challenging environment. Often our people are under pressure to deliver consistently high levels of service and deal with challenging scenarios,” says Clarity’s CEO, Pat McDonagh. “We recognise this and have made it a business priority for all of our executive board and senior management team to undertake Mental Health Awareness for Managers training. We’re looking to roll this out to the wider business over the coming months, which is a big investment, but one we believe is essential to our employees and in keeping with our values as a business.”
Alongside the Mindful Employer Charter, we have also appointed specially trained Mental Health First Aiders, located at key branches.
Jane explains, “We have a dedicated physical first aider on each site, so we felt it was only right to begin training mental health first aiders to give staff the same level of access for mental health issues as physical.”
We recently launched our Hearts & Minds campaign, challenging the business travel industry to take a traveller centric approach, shifting from the cost-driven mentality of previous years. We're ensuring this forward thinking approach is applied to our own business as we continually invest in our staff and reap the rewards. Earlier this year we reported a lower than government average gender pay gap and successfully scooped four awards at the Business Travel People Awards.
MINDFUL EMPLOYER® is a UK-wide initiative run by Workways, part of Devon Partnership NHS Trust. More information at www.mindfulemployer.net
We’re excited to unveil our latest challenge to the business travel industry in the shape of a new manifesto: Hearts & Minds.
Following on from last year’s Planes, Trains & Marginal Gains report, in which we urged travel managers and travellers alike to consider the small changes which could have big impacts on travel costs, we’re now laying down a challenge to the procurement community to take a traveller centric approach, shifting focus from the purely cost driven mentality of previous years.
CEO, Pat McDonagh, explains:
“We’ve seen a distinct shift in traveller expectations over the past few years, with more emphasis being placed on experience and trip satisfaction. Yet there still seems to be hesitance from some travel managers to move with this, with concerns over cost and control often being cited as reasons not to adapt to this new way of travelling.”
It might be bold, but we’re laying down our beliefs for a mutually inclusive traveller and procurement programme, where both parties are satisfied and producing an alternative to business travel as we’ve known it.
“This is something we feel very passionate about. We’ve always seen ourselves as disruptive and this manifesto is certainly that. With the arrival of NDC, the rise of the on-demand economy, increasing safety concerns and a desire to actually achieve the much talked about work life balance, we are asking the industry to sit up and listen. Traveller centricity does not mean losing control or additional cost. In fact, we’re confident of the opposite - happy travellers are easier to control and more likely to stick to a policy which they feel treats them fairly.”
Over the coming months we will bring you a host of familiar industry faces, Clarity experts and suppliers to discuss how businesses can truly capture hearts and minds, looking at areas such as sentiment & statistics, wellbeing & profit, freedom & security and much more.
We are proud to announce that we have managed to scoop not one, not two but an outstanding FOUR awards at this year’s Business Travel People Awards.
It’s been a busy twelve months for Clarity and it’s amazing to see that even with the business changes that have been happening, our people have continued to work hard and produce results for the company and for our clients. A fantastic day was had all round, as the judges recognised and commended the winners on their consistent delivery, quality and exceptional talent.
Head of Account Management, Joanne Savory, who picked up Account Management Team of the Year said:
“We are just absolutely thrilled. Our account management team has been through a period of significant change, but they have continued to deliver quality, efficiency and security to our clients, smoothing the path for them as we transitioned from two businesses to one. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The theme of exceptional customer service and business relationships was echoed by wins for Martin Hayes-Gleave who took home MICE Manager of the Year and Amy Edmonds, who secured Sales / Business Development Manager of the Year.
“Customer service is at the heart of what we do and who we are. We want to give our clients not only value for money and industry insight, but a great experience when they work with us. For us, investing in our staff through training rewards and recognition is the best way to achieve this. We encourage our people to let their personalities shine through, making us brighter in every sense of the word.” - Pat Mcdonagh, CEO.
If those awards weren’t enough, Head of Marketing, Alexandra Kington, picked up a brand new award launched for 2018, Newcomer of the Year, aimed at recognising those new to the industry.
“To be recognised by your peers after joining Clarity only a few months ago is incredible. The business travel community is exceptionally close knit and well connected. I feel so honoured to have been welcomed into the industry and to be making my mark. Clarity is just such a great place to work and I am looking forward to some really exciting times up ahead.” - Alexandra Kington
It’s been a fantastic week for us here at Clarity, as the awards success comes after we recently ranked 10thin the Buying Business Travel Magazine 50 Top TMCs.
After setting ourselves some impressive growth targets for this year, we have every confidence we will achieve them with our award-winning teams leading the way.
Like many people, we initially came across the concept of marginal gains through the British cycling team. The premise of making small, considered changes to help improve performance works not just in sports.
Here at Clarity, we’ve been researching how we can use the principle of marginal gains to help our clients increase savings and improve traveller experience in their travel policies and programmes. We already do this in many aspects of our business, as we manage travel spend, set up preferred hotel programmes, educate travellers on advance fares and much more. However, we now want to take this one step further and share our insight with you.
With the right application, these small changes have helped our clients save hundreds and thousands of pounds. At the Business Travel Show last week, we launched our new look report alongside our highlights video:
The questions we ask and the points we raise are explored through surveys and discussions with business travellers. Some of the results confirm what we already suspected, but all of the results show that well managed travel is key.
At Clarity, we pride ourselves on doing things differently, bringing our clients a brighter approach to business travel and we hope this report will be able to provoke debate and conversations between business travellers, travel buyers, Travel Management Companies and suppliers.
We’d love to hear what you think too. Feel free to join the conversation using the hashtag #MarginalGains
Not long until the Business Travel Show will be in full swing, opening its doors to thousands of corporate travel buyers and managers looking to meet suppliers, enhance their knowledge and develop their existing or new travel programmes.
We are excited to welcome new and existing clients to our biggest ever stand and look forward to demonstrating how we can help adopt marginal gains into your travel policy, and how our brighter approach to business travel can make your organisation more productive and profitable.
Speaking of marginal gains, we thought we’d take a moment to offer our top tips on how to make the most of your time if you’re planning on visiting next week:
The Business Travel Show is hosted at Olympia, London. As a business travel management company, it’s only right that we advise all visitors to plan their journey in advance. Booking tickets early, planning your route and checking for any travel disruptions beforehand will all ensure a smooth start to the day.
There is nothing worse than arriving at an exhibition and having to stand in a queue for ages before even entering. Pre-registering for your ticket will save you some valuable time, allowing you to arrive and head straight in.
The exhibition may be on for two days, but there’s a lot to see and do. For maximum networking opportunities, let people know you’re there. You could announce it on social media, tag in companies you’d like to meet (say hi to us at @Clarity_BT) or mention it via email or phone to your contacts.
Last year there were over 7500 attendees at the Business Travel Show, so do what you can to make your presence known.
Although almost everything looks to be moving online, we’d still recommend keeping a safe stash of business cards, just in case.
Our CEO Pat McDonagh's top tip was to know what you want to achieve, book your meetings in advance and be open and clear about your requirements, And don't forget to allow some time for unscheduled conversations as well.
We recommend planning your day before you get there. Throughout the conference there are talks, masterclasses, panel sessions, plenty to keep you busy and engaged with so it’s worth taking a look at the full programme.
With our reliance on technology, whenever you’re headed to an exhibition the last thing you want is to spend time hunting for a free power outlet or find yourself trapped to a wall for half an hour when you do find it.
Arrive at the show fully charged and if you can, carry an external power pack. Mobile phone power packs come in all shapes and sizes and are handy for those just in case moments. It means you can charge your device whilst on the go, an essential travel accessory.
It’s safe to say between the hours of 12 and 2pm, most people will be lining up to refuel. Queues at lunch time can really cut into your schedule so why not take your lunch slightly early or later in the day? There are a couple of cafes on the exhibition floor.
Make sure you keep yourself topped up with water too (we’ve got plenty on our stand). If you’re spending the day wandering around Olympia, engaging in conversation, the last thing you want is for dehydration to slow you down.
Yes, it’s important to look smart, but what you wear on your feet could make or break your day. There are over 200 travel suppliers on show this year, which is a fair amount of ground to cover. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing during the event, comfortable footwear will be essential in keeping the pace (and pain is never a good look).
Even with comfortable shoes, being on your feet all day will start to take its toll. Our friends at Radius Travel are hosting the relax and rejuvenate lounge, where you can sit back and recharge.
There are other seating areas dotted around the exhibition so plan in some downtime to rest and decide on your next move.
A good night’s sleep is by far the best preparation you could have for any exhibition. A full day of walking and talking can be extremely tiring, but it’s nothing a good night’s sleep won’t sort out.
Arranging meetings ensures that you’ve had time to speak at length about your business needs, but many relationships are built at informal settings. If you can, aim to leave your calendar open for a drinks reception or two.
After the success of last year, we’ll be hosting drinks and networking from 3pm, featuring a range of specially designed cocktails from The Little Gin Company, or soft drinks if gin doesn’t quite take your fancy.
To find out more and to arrange a meeting directly with us please click here.
Alternatively book an appointment via the official hosted buyer process through the Business Travel Show Website.
We look forward to seeing you!