Business travel is a trillion-dollar industry with companies of all sizes spending money on airfare, dinners, dry cleaning, hotels and more.
It also tends to be an excuse for employees to expense more than if there were using their own cash. TravelBank, a free solution for small to medium-sized businesses, promotes careful employee spending while also streamlining the expense and flight booking process.
How? TravelBank uses a rewards system. Rewards are earned when users come in under budget on an entire trip or book a flight that is less than the average cost of the flight across multiple airlines.
For instance, if a user came in $200 under budget, they’d split the savings with the business owner and receive $100 in dollar for dollar rewards to use for personal travel with Lyft, Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb.
The newest TravelBank feature helps business owners and employees book flights. Here’s how it works.
I’ve been tracking flights from San Diego to Shanghai and San Diego to JFK and was delighted to see that the cost of the flights is exactly the same through TravelBank as they are through the airlines.
If I had an employee traveling and enabled the rewards feature on his or her account, I could split any savings with him or her.
For example, if the average cost of a flight to from San Diego – JFK is $923 and my employee chooses a flight that costs $740 (perhaps it has an extra stopover), I can split the $183 savings with him or her.
This means my employee receives $91 in dollar for dollar rewards that can be used toward Lyft, Uber, Amazon or Airbnb. I pay $91 in addition to the $740 but it is less than I would have paid should he or she have chosen the $923 flight.
WiFi, Baggage, and Other Amenity Notifications
The app will display whether there is WiFi on board, how many bags are free, whether there are power outlets and other things that frequent travelers need to know before booking that they may otherwise have to search on their own.
If I have one wish list item for the app, it’s to also tell me what fare class I’m booking on this same screen so that I can know how many frequent flier miles I’ll earn.
Fast and Easy to Use
It’s possible to search and scroll through a variety of flight options in a manner of seconds. It’s actually a faster way to search for flights than most online services that I use.
If other employees book flights through TravelBank, the app will see you next to each other.
24-Hour Customer Service
TravelBank offers a concierge that is available 24/7 to address service issues which can come in handy during weather disruptions when the airline’s phone lines will likely be jammed.
Expense Tracking and Budgeting
When you’re on the road, if you photograph receipts and track spending through TravelBank, the app can automatically create an expense report and send it to whoever needs to approve it.
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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