‘Au­to­ma­tion can cut cost by 55 per cent’

With In­dia be­com­ing the tenth-largest MICE mar­ket in the world, com­pa­nies are grap­pling with climb­ing costs for pro­cess­ing travel and ex­penses. Au­to­ma­tion, it seems, is the only way out and can re­duce these costs by at least 55%.

TravTalk - India - - TECHNOLOGY - HAZEL JAIN

With a to­tal spend of US$ 22.1 bil­lion on busi­ness travel cur­rently, In­dia’s MICE mar­ket is ex­pected to grow by at least 13.5% year-on-year. With this growth comes the in­crease in pro­cess­ing travel and ex­penses (T&E) costs of trav­el­ing em­ploy­ees for com­pa­nies.

Mov­ing to­wards a more au­to­mated en­vi­ron­ment by adopt­ing newer tech­nol­ogy is the only so­lu­tion. This ap­plies to travel com­pa­nies just as much as it does to cor­po­rates.

A lot of big travel com­pa­nies are re­al­is­ing this and au­tomat­ing their sys­tems

De­lays, over­shoot­ing costs

A re­cent study car­ried out by Pho­cus-Wright ti­tled ‘CFO In­no­va­tion Asia’ found that a de­lay in get­ting a travel ap­proval by even five days can push air­fare costs by 10%. And that is just flight costs.

Ramesh Iyer, MD (In­dia), at Con­cur, a US-based com­pany that pro­vides in­te­grated T&E man­age­ment soft­ware, says, “A lot of big travel com­pa­nies are re­al­is­ing this and au­tomat­ing their sys­tems. This, we have found out, can re­duce pro­cess­ing costs of T&E by at least 55%.”

Con­cur has a suite of prod­ucts – from just book­ing tick­ets to get­ting ap­provals for the en­tire trip. “We also have data an­a­lyt­ics and other prod­ucts that dig into data to pro­vide in­sights into how com­pa­nies can lower their busi­ness travel costs in ar­eas such as ho­tel rates and air­fares, in­clud- ing iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas that at­tracts the high­est ex­pense,” Iyer adds. Au­to­ma­tion now also needs to be com­bined with mo­bil­ity, he says, adding, “A large num­ber of busi­ness trav­ellers are now get­ting ap­provals and claim­ing ex­penses on smart phones while on the move. This helps them ex­tract bet­ter rates from sup­pli­ers.”

Rais­ing the stakes

Through its stake in Clear­trip, which was re­cently upped from 25% to an un­re­leased fig­ure, Con­cur pro­vides Clear­trip- gen­er­ated travel itin­er­ar­ies and ex­pense reporting within its ser­vices. Con­cur also sources do­mes­tic travel con­tent such as rail and air­fare, and ho­tel rates from Clear­trip. Con­cur had in­vested US$ 40 mil­lion in Clear­trip in April 2011 to tap into In­dia’s on­line travel mar­ket.

“We have eight to ten prod­ucts that are rel­e­vant to the travel in­dus­try – such as the self-book­ing tool and a cen­tral re­con­nais­sance model – that is used by big agencies,” Iyer adds. .

Ramesh Iyer MD (In­dia) Con­cur

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