Inventive expense tracking answer to rise in Asian bleisure travel habits: Concur

The rise of bleisure travellers – those combining business trips with leisure experiences – in Asia is sounding the call for more inventive expenditure tracking, in order to improve transparency and reduce out-of-policy spending.

Business expenses related to travel and entertainment encompass eight to 12 per cent of the average organisation’s total budget, with 20 per cent being out-of-policy spending, reported Concur Technologies.

And with the rise of bleisure habits, “the whole dynamic of the traveller is changing”, noted Nick Evered, senior vice president and general manager of Concur Technologies in Asia-Pacific.

Evered said: “The new young traveller spends a couple of hours a day using mobile applications. This is changing the way the business traveller thinks.

The key, Evered expressed, is providing applications that the bleisure traveller can use to combine both business and leisure travel bookings, using a system that “also gives the company transparency” of expenditure.

This can help tackle the 50 to 60 per cent of accommodation reservations that are in breach of company policy, he said.

Concur runs the mobile application TripLink, which supports direct supplier bookings while allowing organisations to capture expenditure that falls outside its corporate travel system.

Playing into popular services, the company established a partnership with ride-hire company Grab to launch Grab for Work, a transport expense management tool for businesses to organise and oversee ground travel expenditure using Grab services.

However, Evered added that there may be a misnomer in creating “the killer app for booking travel” as it might not be what travellers want. He observed that in Asia, “social phenomena are now blurring into business”.

He elaborated: “People want to be able to book Grab, Uber, a flight, a restaurant and so on within WhatsApp, WeChat, Kakao Talk or Line. (Businesses are) tapping into the social network through social applications. We’re figuring out how to participate in that.”

Concur recently opened in South Korea, where conglomerates are starting to welcome cloud-based travel expenditure tracking and more US bleisure travellers are coming into Asia via the country.

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