Many business travelers are reluctant to book trips in advance -- for several possible reasons. One reason is that offsite meetings don't always come with early notice, and these last-minute plans often lead to short-notice bookings.
A recent study from Concur Technologies, a service that helps organizations integrate travel and manage expenses more efficiently, found that half of all business trips are booked less than two weeks in advance. The finding is in keeping with stats from Hotels.com, which found that 50 percent of mobile travelers book for same-day or next-day stays.
Concur's data also revealed an increase in the amount of money employees traveling for business expense in services such as Lyft, Uber, HotelTonight, and Airbnb. Based on data from January through May (when business travel is at its most robust) in both 2014 and 2015, money spent by customers expensing Lyft to their companies increased by a factor of seven.
To meet the growing on-demand needs of business travelers, Concur is partnering with Lyft and HotelTonight to add these features to its software. Now, when business employees use the the Bellevue, Washington-based company to book a car or hotel, the transaction will automatically register through Concur's database (provided, of course, that the employer is a Concur client). The new feature will be available to customers starting on Monday.
"Business travelers will flock to anything that makes their lives easier, which is why Lyft's affordable rides within minutes have quickly become a go-to ground transportation option for many companies," said Amit Patel, Lyft's director of enterprise. "By partnering with Concur, we are giving business travelers who choose Lyft convenience and efficiency."
With the new partnership, business owners can keep tabs of where their employees are, and can assist, say, in the event of an earthquake. Similarly, workers can apply the travel benefits offered by their employers when booking on-demand.
"This is all about context," says Concur's executive vice president of travel, Tim MacDonald. He believes that implementing a travel-spending policy can have dramatic effects on the costs that a business would otherwise incur.
The addition of Lyft and HotelTonight to the Concur app center will come at no additional expense to clients, though MacDonald declined to estimate a typical price point for the service, as it varies greatly depending on the client's size and travel policy.
Partnerships like these will help meet business travelers' growing needs for on-demand services that are quick and effective, while also providing finance and travel managers greater visibility and manageability for business expenses.