Travel Management

How to know if your small business needs a Travel Management System

Discover the benefits of a Travel Management System for small businesses. Streamline booking, save money, and enhance your employees' travel experience.

If you're a small business, you may not have the same travel requirements as your bigger competitors, so the idea of investing in a heavy-duty travel management system may seem excessive. However, as your business grows, you may encounter some growing pains when it comes to business travel. This article will address those pains and provide an outline of the benefits of getting a travel management system sooner rather than later. 

Common travel pains for small businesses 

If you relate to two or more of these points, it might be time to consider the benefits of a travel management system that can grow as your business does. 

1. Travel is getting increasingly complex 

As your business expands and your team starts traveling more often, the complexities of managing travel also increase. Booking changes, managing travel expenses, and keeping travel documents organised can quickly become a headache without a centralised travel strategy in place. A travel management system steps in to help solve these growing pains, and is a great opportunity for you to organize everything in one central place, saving time and increasing efficiency.

2. You don't have a dedicated travel manager

Smaller companies often don't have the luxury of having a dedicated travel manager or assistant to book and oversee business travel. This usually results in one of two scenarios - the business enlists the help of an expensive travel agent that charges exorbitant fees every time you book, or travel is left to each individual to book, which means you are left with little oversight of the budgets and even less control of expenses. 

3. There's no travel policy

It's easy to overlook the need for a travel policy when you're a small business, because at first it's easier for employees to manage their travel themselves, and you work on the basis that everyone should spend reasonably on their flights and accommodation. But with employees coming from all employment backgrounds, what is "reasonable" may be different from person to person, so it can end up in chaos. Having a travel policy in place can quickly fix this, setting some reasonable guardrails for business travel spending. 

4. You don't have control over spending 

In the early stages of your business, managing business travel might seem simple with just a few people traveling each year. But as your business grows, uncontrolled travel expenses can spiral out of control, especially with decentralised bookings and a no defined spending limits. A travel management system is your solution to regaining control and keeping budgets in check. This is a great opportunity to save money, and will give you the insights to anticipate future spending.

5. You need to keep your employees safe

Small companies don’t always have dedicated resources to assess travel risks for their employees, which in turn makes it harder to keep them safe when they're traveling for work. A travel management system gets you access to many of the same tools and resources as larger organisations, making sure know about potential risks and can plan for them. With a travel management system in place, you can make sure that everyone is covered and that they're following the policy you have in place. 

5. You need to start recording your emissions 

Pressure from employees, investors, stakeholders as well as new CSRD reporting standards has created a greater need for transparency and automated data collection. A travel management system will give you the tools to get an overview of all your company's trips, to save you the hassle of collecting pieces of information from separate booking sites. Climate-focused travel management systems like Goodwings will even help you collect, calculate and create an overview of your travel emissions data. If you need to start reporting in the next couple of years, a travel management system allows you to collect travel emission data immediately, since you'll need approximately one years' worth of data to create a baseline for your climate reporting.


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What to look for in a travel management system for small businesses


  • Centralized booking and travel management
Finding a travel management system that lets you book everything in one place is key to getting your business organized - no matter your size, booking or travel style. If you're planning to scale your business, centralizing your travel program will give you visibility into your travel habits and travel requirements, and help you streamline your business operations.

If your employees are used to booking on commercial booking sites like, Expedia or Momondo, it's especially important to find a travel management system that offers the same selection of flights, rental cars, hotels and trains as they're used to. Combined with a great user experience, having one booking platform removes the complexity of having to navigate multiple booking sites.

  • Intuitive expense reporting features

Look for expense reporting features that will make it easy for travelers to submit and manage their expenses digitally. This reduces the administrative burden on travelers, travel managers as well as finance teams. A travel management system can also help ensure that your company's travel policies are always in check. To make it easier for travelers to follow a company travel policy, some travel management systems give you the option to build company travel policies in automatically. This makes sure that travelers make bookings within company guidelines, and helps you control costs and stay compliant.

  • Easy integration with existing systems
Make sure the travel management system you pick is intuitive and that it creates a good experience for travelers and travel bookers. The system should fit into your existing systems and should be easy for employees to adopt into their workflows, so you can get it up and running right away. For the sake of implementation, it is always a plus to have a reliable contact to help you set up the system and help you onboard employees. Most travel management systems have the option to personalize the booking experience, save traveler profiles, include seat preferences, dietary restrictions, and loyalty program memberships. Being able to save settings takes the strain out of booking travel, and can also save a considerable amount of time for frequent travelers who need to make repeat bookings. 

  • Features that keep track and safeguard employees 
Travel management solutions often include optional "duty of care" features, which give companies visibility into when and where employees are traveling, so they can make sure they're kept safe, particularly in the case of emergencies. Another great feature to look for are digital travel itineraries, allowing travelers to access all their travel details in one place. This simplifies the journey and reduces the risk of missing important information. Real-time notification of changes, cancellations and other updates about your travel are also a unique service you can get by investing in a travel management system.

  • Emissions tracking and reporting 

As a small to mid sized company, you may be facing increased pressure to track your business travel emissions according to the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive). Even if this is not yet the case, most small to mid sized companies are now required to disclose their emissions if they work with larger organizations that are required to do this. Understanding the level to which you need to track and report on your travel related emissions will help determine if this is a feature you require in your travel management system. A good rule of thumb is that you'll need at least one year's worth of data for reporting, which means if you need to report in January 2025, you will have needed to start collecting from January 2024.


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When is the right time to get a travel management system? 

Travel management systems have a lot to offer, and finding the right solution for your company can save you both time and money. Since many small to mid sized businesses have limited resources and time, the decision comes down to evaluating the risks and opportunities of having a system in place, as well as striking the right balance between covering your bases now and in the future. But what does travel management have to do with evaluating future risk and opportunities? A lot, actually. 

Chances are you and your team are focused on short-term gains and needs. Yet, anticipating risks and opportunities can pave the way for efficiency, innovation, and cost-effectiveness. 

For example, if your company's growth indicates potential travel expense challenges as the team expands, considering a travel management solution before reaching a certain team size is a strategic move. Likewise, laying the groundwork for future scalability and transparency in accounting and reporting with a steady flow of data now will secure you for future accounting and reporting demands. Looking ahead and getting ready for the journey is fundamental for SMEs aiming for steady and sustainable growth.


It's time to take your business travel to the next level.

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