6 ways to make business travel easier

6 ways to make business travel easierOriginally posted on August 16, 2016

Still submitting paper expense receipts? Using mobile apps to file business expenses when traveling for work can speed up the process, leaving you time for more important things, like closing that new account.

Capturing receipts with a mobile app is just one of many business travel conveniences that can make work trips productive, as highlighted by the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ Global Report - June 2016, in partnership with American Express. The survey polled 3,500 full- and part-time employees in the United States and seven other countries on their feelings about past business travel and future plans for work trips.

Other considerations that could make business travel easier and more efficient:

  1. Use a smartphone or laptop. This seems like a no-brainer, but more than a third (34%) of organizations still send business travelers on the road without a company-issued smartphone and 27% without a laptop. With a phone, however, you can submit a photo of an expense receipt, check in on social media sites to coordinate with business contacts, or find reviews of traveler suppliers such as airlines and hotels.
  2. Use mobile apps for itineraries. Seventy-two percent of Millennials and 64% of all business travelers use mobile devices to check travel itineraries at least once a day during trips, according to the research. It could explain why 58% say they’re satisfied with the ease with which they can make changes to their travel schedules. Find out if your employer recommends using specific mobile apps for itineraries and give them a try. If they don’t, inquire whether it’s something they could begin offering.
  3. Ask your company to cover Wi-Fi. If you know you need to work in your hotel room, ask your company’s travel program to cover the cost of upgrading to a high-speed connection, especially if you’re downloading work files or using streaming services. Alternatively, ask them to pay for access to Wi-Fi hot spots so you’re covered wherever you go.
  4. Be prepared if Wi-Fi isn’t available. Wi-Fi can be a big productivity boost, but only if it’s available or reliable, which isn’t always the case. Cover yourself by bringing work to do offline. If you do, you’ll be in good company. Of 49% of business travelers who prefer to work during their plane flights, 18% say they prefer to work offline. “Sometimes I’ll download reports and read,” said Jeanne Liu, vice president of research for the GBTA Foundation.
  5. Know what your company’s travel policy covers before you go. Fewer travelers report being required to follow a company travel policy now (44%), compared to 2015 (52%). Knowing what services you can and cannot use before you hit the road can help prevent expense reporting problems later on. Case in point: more than one in five business travelers in the survey didn’t know if their companies’ policies cover ride- and home-sharing options such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and HomeAway. With more organizations creating structured guidelines for using sharing-economy travel options to control costs and safety, it’s important to know what’s available before you go, said Therese Banks, vice president of large market client groups for American Express Global Commercial Payments.
  6. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry. You can’t make long airport security lines magically disappear, but you can bypass the longest of them if you’re enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry expedited security screening programs. If your employer pays for Pre-Check or Global Entry for travelers who fly internationally for work, take advantage of that and sign up. If they don’t pay for it already, talk to your travel program manager about the possibility. “It’s the best thing you can do to alleviate those wait lines,” Liu said.

For more information and ideas, read the entire report here.

The GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ Global Report – June 2016, in partnership with American Express, was fielded between March 31 and April 13, 2016. The GBTA Foundation conducted an online survey of 3,500 business travelers whose primary residences are located in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States, who are employed part- or full-time, and who have taken at least four business trips in the prior 12 months. Because this research was conducted with an online, nonprobability sample, the margin of error cannot be calculated.

The content in this published material are provided for general informational purposes only and do not constitute investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Please contact your investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advisor regarding your specific needs and situation. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“American Express”) do not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in these materials. American Express does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of these published materials.