How group events are changing business travel.
How group events are changing business travel.
Group events and travel are on the rise.
Global Business Travel Association has predicted that annual business travel spend will surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, and a large driver of that will be group events like offsites, team-building, and conferences. For distributed and global teams, in-person events can help keep employees feeling connected and motivated. Brex has seen offsite spend more than triple across our customers since the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating a higher demand for gathering in person.
However, most existing T&E solutions fall short, making this increase in group events and travel a growing burden on companies. Most solutions are insufficient to meet the needs of modern, distributed workforces. For many years, companies have been stitching together multiple disjointed and outdated solutions to book travel, plan and execute events, enable spend, and close the books. Disparate systems frustrate finance teams, managers, and employees and waste valuable time on non-strategic work.
The growing strain on group event and travel managers.
Employee experience managers planning an offsite often encounter similar frustrations and logistical challenges as event planners face when hosting conferences. As a travel manager, you choose an event location, set the dates, and block out a rough estimation of hotel rooms. And of course, you have a strict budget to adhere to — so you are constantly forecasting spend and running scenarios to maximize your event dollars.
Then you have to get everyone, including external guests, there — which takes much more work. You need to send out invites and track RSVPs, ensure attendees book their travel and comply with your expense policy, and collect their confirmation numbers. Employees may contact you to make a change, cancel, or rebook part of their trip. You also get countless one-off requests for safety information, contact info, and meal plans. You’re juggling separate spreadsheets with traveler details, hotel rooms, and budgets — with lots of back and forth over email or Slack that makes overall plans and expenses unclear. Once the event is happening, it’s difficult to track spend and control costs. Only after the event is over will you know whether you exceeded your budget.
How to streamline group event planning and booking.
What if you could manage all these group events and travel details from a single platform — one that automates a lot of the heavy lifting and gives you more control? We added group event planning features to Brex travel to allow you to do just that. Group events from Brex helps you stay organized in the planning process and enjoy these benefits:
- Keep costs in budget: Create a group event budget with shared spend limits and auto-enforced policies to enable and track all event-related costs, including attendee travel.
- Invite guests and track RSVPs: Easily share event details, travel policies, and agendas and see who has responded. Automate reminders to those who have not.
- Enable a self-serve experience: Empower everyone to book their own travel using the group event budget, Brex travel, and their Brex card or personal card. They can make in-policy changes, get 24/7 support, and access event details from their Brex mobile app that’s intuitive and easy to use.
- Manage traveler details without spreadsheets: View event attendees’ travel plans and updates in real time from the Brex dashboard. Any changes individuals make will be easily visible in your guest list.
- Keep everyone comfortable and safe: Send automated requests to collect attendees' information such as dietary preferences and auto-populate those details in hotel and venue books to deliver a personalized experience.
- Easily reconcile travel costs: See actual spend vs. budgeted spend in real time and get an overview of all expenses made during the trip as it’s happening. Everything stays in sync with your ERP to close the books faster.
The group events feature also helps travel managers communicate updates with the entire group of event attendees — who have access to event details in their Brex app. Additionally, Brex helps you uphold your duty of care by making it easy to collect and reference emergency contact numbers and required health documentation.
Maximizing the ROI of group events.
With hybrid and remote work remaining common in modern workplaces, the importance of gathering teams in person for offsites, conferences, client gatherings, or strategy meetings will likely continue to increase. In a multi-industry survey of 100 executives, McKinsey found that “organizations that have kept employees connected have also tended to see their productivity increase.”
The ROI of group events is clear — as long as you have the right tools. To maximize the benefits and minimize team travel costs, you need an integrated travel, group events, and expense management solution:
Control and manage all types of travel: From individual travel to group offsites to conferences to meetings with partners or prospects, Brex makes it easy to enable, book, and manage any type of travel – alongside your other spend, such as procurement and stipends.
Track spend and logistics in one dashboard: With Brex, all event-related logistics, spend, travel plans, and communications are easily accessible in one place, so costs and guest list details are clear at every step — across reimbursements, invoices, and card.
Get better visibility and more control: Using an integrated T&E solution that includes group event management means that you can control event travel arrangements and costs at the most detailed level with spend limits or blocks within specific categories like flights, meals, and entertainment. Plus, speed things up with customized, multi-level approval flows.
Leverage group discounts: Individual bookings made outside of a travel solution prevent you from getting bulk discounts from airlines or your TMC. Brex gives you exclusive rates on group travel.