business travel reporting

Why business travel reporting matters

Imagine Laura, a super-efficient executive assistant, facing the overwhelming task of compiling business travel reports. Receipts? Some are missing. Invoices? Missing details. Budget forecasts? Where to start? 

It’s a lot to handle, but the thing is—these reports are essential! They’re the foundation of planning and managing travel costs, and are vital for not just her team but the finance department too. 

But hold on! Reporting doesn’t need to feel like doomsday. With the right tools, Laura can turn this chore into a seamless, even enjoyable process.  

Ready to dive in? Let’s explore the whats-and-whys you need to collate a killer report. 

Essential elements for reporting

Travel reporting isn’t one-size-fits-all. Reports come in all forms, each crafted to help you level up your business travel program. For effective reporting, you need a birds-eye-view of the entire travel program, plus a range of supporting business travel reports which should be easily accessible using digital tools. 

  • Itinerary and traveler details: Think of this business travel report as your travel program’s DNA—dates, vendors, expense categories, and totals. Eliquent Life Sciences nailed it by using an all-in-one platform for employees and contractors, making it look effortless.  
  • Travel and expense reporting: Updating reports should be a breeze. Make sure you have processes in place to gather receipts and categorize expenses. With the right templates, you'll spot money-saving opportunities to make data-driven decisions like a pro! 
  • Policy compliance reporting: Keeping everyone on the same page with corporate travel policies is key. These reports shine a light on any deviations, helping you steer the ship accurately. 
  • Carbon reporting: Got sustainability on your radar? Travel reporting tracks your travel carbon footprint and environmental efforts. Pest management company Pelsis Group used reporting tools to track their carbon offsets and flight travel. 

Benefits of effective business travel reporting

If you’ve booked your travel using multiple websites, hunting for travel data is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Consolidate all your data with a single travel management company and watch the magic happen: 

  • Budget management: The sheer volume of travel data can be overwhelming. With proper reporting, you can spot trends and identify opportunities to improve business results and trip planning. 
  • Travel policy compliance: Avoid booking leakage where employees go off the approved path. Consolidated data helps you keep everything in check, improving compliance. 
  • Cost savings: TMCs offer a toolkit for travel management. With a TMC, you can consolidate the tools you need to find good value suppliers on everything from air travel to hotels. 
  • Tracking expenses: Creating an expense report and getting employees to submit it is made easier with simple and intuitive tools for business travel reporting. 

Common challenges with corporate travel reporting

Travel reporting is not without its hiccups. Some issues are common whether you choose managed or unmanaged travel. Here are a few common barriers to successful and efficient reporting that many companies face: 

Unmanaged travel challenges 

Fragmented data, manual processes, and a high potential for error—unmanaged travel can feel like the wild west! Plus, duty of care becomes a serious risk if you can’t locate travelers during last-minute changes. 

Managed travel challenges 

Data overload, picking the right KPIs, implementing training, and getting everyone’s buy-in can be tricky. But don’t worry! Automated tools and systems can keep your data clean, updated, and useful, while personalized support can get everyone up-to-speed quickly and can fill in any gaps in digital capabilities.  

The common thread between both types of travel management is data, but the good news is that automated tools and systems can help maintain quality data, keep it updated, and present it in a useful summary with business insights. 

Automating business travel reporting

Imagine having all your travel data neatly organized on a single dashboard—no more logging into different platforms to piece together the puzzle. A corporate travel management platform like Melon becomes a window into your corporate travel program's performance, offering high-level visibility and control of your travel data. 

Review and assess data accuracy 

Access to travel insights allows you to better target booking, supplier, or channel leakage. You'll have a clearer understanding of your spending patterns and be able to point out areas for improvement and cost reduction.  

Measure your progress and success against industry standards and personal targets. This works not only for financial metrics but also for sustainability goals. Consolidated reporting makes tracking carbon emissions and sustainability efforts easier.  

Get started by checking out our downloadable guide to carbon offsetting.  

Maintain accurate data 

Data is the backbone of a well-oiled travel program, but not having clean data weakens your organization's ability to make decisions quickly and with confidence.   

It's not the traveler who typically creates "dirty data." The tools and processes surrounding booking, like your online booking tool, can even be the problem. Choosing a TMC with strong data governance practices makes sure that the data you receive is clean and reliable. 

Enjoy increased reporting efficiency 

Customized reporting offers a deep dive to plucks meaningful insights from travel data. Off-the-shelf reports might not line-up with your unique business needs. Technology like integrated travel management platforms and mobile apps can be a way for people across the company to get the trip data they need. 

Tailored reporting dashboards ensure that you can focus on the specific areas that matter most to your corporate travel program, whether it's travel spend or traveler behavior. Get ready to see where your investment is yielding returns and where enhancements are needed.  

Refine travel management with real-time reports 

In today's fast-paced business environment, instant data is crucial. Knowing where your travelers are at any given moment and having the ability to track spending against travel budgets in real-time keeps you in control. This is especially important for remote, unique, or high-risk destinations. A TMC that offers access to real-time reporting empowers you to manage travel-related concerns as they happen.  

Best practices for travel reporting 

The best steps to a successful travel reporting process are setting a clear travel policy, choosing the right technology solutions, and training employees. You'll also need to review and audit the travel program, but reporting comes in handy there, too! 

Setting up a process that automatically gathers travel data and creates custom reports based on your business will save a lot of time and company resources. 

Business travel reporting is important because it impacts the company's bottom line. Any process you use needs to be thorough and precise. Armed with accurate travel data, you can make the right spending choices in the future, keep travelers happy, and grab fleeting travel deals. 

When looking for a reporting tool, the best fit will be an all-in-one tool that matches your business needs well. Does your travel include industry specific situations, like remote locations, last-minute changes, or multi-city itineraries? The right reporting tool can help you manage and streamline complex travel scenarios into something more manageable. 

Ready to move all of your data under one roof?  


Meet Melon. 

Melon gives you all your travel needs on one simple platform that's simple, intuitive and synced across devices. Let our travel experts help you create reporting dashboards that make your life easier and get you the data you need.

Book your demo now!