Travel organizer TripIt sold to Concur for up to $120 million is the headline I just read. The aim of this I believe is for Concur to get into business travel earlier in the cycle, rather than just dealing with expensing it, they can persuade you to buy it from them as well.
In my previous corporate lives I've been forced to use many travel booking services for business travel. All charged a hefty fee so that the CFO could get a better handle on what services were being used, and to hopefully be able to achieve better negotiation with preferred hotels and airlines than trying to work blind. The reality for those of us traveling was that we would typically find the airline routes and schedules we wanted with Kayak, then book with the travel service for the same amount, while paying the fee for the privilege. As an outsider to the benefits (we all assume that the CFO and CEO get million-miler platinum rewards kick-backs from the service), it seemed like a waste. And worse still, not once did it help me with the travel expense reporting process. Will Concur be any different, given that they control travel expenses for some large firms? Possibly, but given previous performance of most companies doing this, unlikely.
For the rest of the businesses out there that won't be negotiating lock in travel booking deals, travel expenses continue to be easier to control if you put the process online, capture receipts electronically, and import transactions directly from credit card electronic statements. Do you really need your employees to sticky tape every receipt to a piece of paper, so they can fax it or FedEx it to your accounting team? Or do you want them to email the receipts directly to an electronic expense report that can be reviewed rapidly, signed off by supervisors or project managers, and passed for payment, without a single piece of paper being generated, Excel spreadsheet being emailed, or travel booker and expense processing vendor trying to lock you in to another deal that only benefits them?
Congratulations to TripIt and Concur on their new togetherness!
A post from the Improving It blog
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