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The best travel approval processes for your business

With contributions from Jonathon Mavin, Product Manager AU/NZ

Mirroring an overall industry trend, over the past 12 months, 56% of bookings through CTM’s online booking tool Lightning have required approval, either active (pre-trip) or passive approval. While many companies are now opting to allow staff to book their own business travel, it’s clear there is still a level of oversight businesses need to ensure that travel is booked in-policy and the cost centre can be specifically monitored.

With the right technology implemented, a decentralised travel booking approach with an appropriate approval process can simplify the booking process for business travellers, while continuing to ensure in-policy bookings and policy adherence.

Centralised vs Decentralisation

A traditional centralised booking process places the power to book and approve travel requests in the hands of a key group of a business’s administrative staff or specific bookers. This approach is often favoured by business as it allows for high levels of control and oversight over travel bookings, policy and budget.

Contrastingly, a decentralised approach gives your travellers the ability to make their own business travel bookings. With the improvements of policy controls in booking technology, many organisations with a younger or predominately mobile staff base, who are used to booking things themselves, are beginning to favour this approach.

Should you choose to follow a decentralised booking approach it’s important to assess what approval process is best for your business, be it no approvals or an active pre-trip or passive approval system that can be specifically configured based on company travel policy.

Configure approval system to policy requirements

When implementing a decentralised booking process, your chosen corporate online booking tool should still support your company’s varying business travel policy requirements to make bookings and approval simple i.e. role type, reason for travel, country pair, supplier choice, fare class and ‘Days In Advance’ booking policy, each producing a variety of triggers. The online tool can be configured to either restrict any out-of-policy behaviour or provide some room for movement.

Active approval

Active (pre-trip) approvals still require direct approval from the travel or line manager for the booking to be ticketed. This notification is sent via email to the approver and the approver can approve or decline by simply clicking the link within the email; no need to log-in.

With active approval there is a reliance on the approver to act within the ticketing time limit, this can be as short as the same day. If this is missed the lowest prices can be lost and bookings need to be requested again. To help combat this a reminder email notification is also be sent to the approver to remind them of travel requests before the ticketing window closes, helping to ensure that best fares are not lost due to oversight.

Best Approval Process

Passive approval

With a lean toward a decentralised booking approach, many companies are recognising the benefits in a passive approval model for their travel bookings. At CTM we have seen an uptake in passive approvals by 30% over the last financial year.

A passive approval process can save time for approvers and bookers while ensuring that the best fares and urgent bookings are not lost.

Due to the highly configurable nature of the CTM’s Lightning online booking tool, with a passive approval process, companies can choose to allow all in policy bookings to be automatically approved, safe in the knowledge that these bookings are within the company’s travel policy. To maintain oversight, notifications of bookings can be sent to the selected “approver” once bookings are made, ensuring all required facets of the business remain informed.

Aproval process

Approvals in Booking Technology

At CTM our commitment to innovation and providing a return on investment for customers means we are continuously driven to providing speed, accessibility and ultimately peace of mind. CTM’s Lightning online booking tool, and CTM Mobile, offers the following features, and more, to address several pain points in the approvals process:

  • Multi-tier approvals
  • Policy by country
  • Reallocate approver
  • Days in Advance (DIA)

CTM Mobile is one of the only corporate booking apps developed specifically for arrangers and travellers to make complete bookings on the go, while also offering full in-trip services, To further support an easier travel approvals process In-App approval is coming soon to CTM Mobile; here the approver can review and action travel requests all from within the mobile app.

You can find out more about Lightning and CTM Mobile’s approvals, and which features are best aligned with your business goals, by speaking with a CTM Business Analysis and Solutions manager.