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How AI Is Transforming Travel And Expense Management
The influence of AI on our daily lives is now more undeniable than ever. We have smart home gadgets that can do everything from controlling our lights and HVAC to ordering our groceries automatically. We have cars that can drive themselves.
The latest innovations include AI tools that can generate content, write code and even create art. It should come as no surprise then, that AI is also transforming travel and expense management.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the role of AI in travel and expense management.
How AI can enhance travel and expense management
Let’s begin with a quick overview of the areas AI can and is enhancing travel and expense management.
- Personalize user experiences
- Automate travel policy adjustments
- Improve policy compliance
- Optimize booking automation
- Get insights through intuitive analytics
- Smoothen the reimbursement process
Now, let’s break down each of these areas and take a closer look at the innovations of artificial intelligence in travel and expense management.
Personalize user experience
The job of a travel and expense consultant can be nerve-wracking. They need to constantly negotiate with vendors, ensure their clients’ employees comply with travel policies, ensure timely payments, and tailor travel to ensure employees have a hassle-free travel experience.
The last bit can be particularly challenging, considering no two individuals have the same preferences. If the consultant fails to deliver satisfactory experiences, they risk losing clients permanently.
AI in travel platforms can help mitigate that risk by studying customer behavior and creating profiles based on their preferences. Machine learning observes the choices a person makes, and based on these preferences as well as the company’s travel policies, throws up options that appease both categories.
Automate travel policy adjustments
AI has the capability of studying data, such as expense reports, for example, and giving businesses insights that can influence travel policies.
For example, an employee may be pulled up for non-compliance in booking a flight to a city at a price above the regulated amount in the travel policy. However, AI data has the ability to study trends and prove that there wasn’t lower airfare available at the time.
Insights such as these enable companies to recognize when they need to amend or be flexible about their travel policies to make room for exceptions.
Improve policy compliance
A major drain on travel and expense managers is spotting fraudulent claims. Employees try to sneak in personal and/or non-compliant expenses by changing descriptions or miscategorizing them.
An AI tool can help spot these fraudulent claims easily. This is because the tool not only looks for things like double claims, but it also dives into the traveler’s spending history, including merchants, to pick out fraudulent claims.
This will allow T&E teams to concentrate on dealing with discrepancies instead of spending time looking for them.
Optimize booking automation
Airfares change with each year, and this means travel expense limits need to change regularly as well. AI tools have made this entire process a lot easier by accurately predicting changes in airfare a year in advance.
This not only makes setting spending limits easier, but it also makes the whole process of booking tickets easier. AI tools now give T&E managers inputs about the best times to book tickets for their chosen routes to get the best prices, as well as ensure the lowest prices after scouting multiple sources.
Get insights through intuitive analytics
It can be time-consuming and painstaking for finance and travel teams to go through multiple data sources and use their learning to fill gaps in travel policies and reduce expenses.
AI tools are a lot more efficient in collating data from multiple sources and analyzing aspects such as spending limits, spending behavior, and employee profiles. This helps businesses set practical budgets and work on effective travel policies.
One of the biggest complaints that traveling employees have is that their reimbursements don’t reach them fast enough.
This is because finance teams need to manually sift through every single item on their expense reports, audit them, look for policy violations, and then approve reimbursements.
AI can not only quickly approve compliant expense claims for reimbursement, but it can also easily flag fraudulent claims for the T&E team to address.
A common fear is that AI is slowly going to make human jobs obsolete. However, as in the case of AI tools already being used in travel and expense management, AI tools actually make it easier for T&E to become more efficient and productive.
Now is a great time to leverage these advances in technology and streamline the travel and expense management mechanism for your business.