Determining whether your business travel approval process is outdated or “ancient” involves assessing various aspects of the current system. Travel approval process is an important method to filter out the unwanted corporate trips and focus on the really important ones. These processes have been playing a crucial role from the beginning of time. Let us understand things to eliminate to create the ultimate business travel approval workflow.

Things to avoid to create the ultimate business travel approval workflow

1. Manual paperwork

Outdated travel approval processes often involve manual paperwork, where employees complete physical forms for trip requests. This antiquated method relies on signatures and physical document submission. It results in time-consuming processes, potential errors, and difficulties in document management. In contrast, modernization entails the use of digital forms accessible through web-based platforms or specialized software. Today, employees can electronically submit forms, attach necessary documents, and obtain approvals through electronic signatures. This digitized approach significantly streamlines the approval workflow, reduces errors, and facilitates efficient tracking and storage of travel-related documents.

2. Email-based approvals

In traditional travel approval systems, reliance on email communication can lead to delays, miscommunication, and tracking challenges. Approval requests and responses are often buried within lengthy email threads, making it challenging to ensure clear communication and timely responses. Modern travel approval systems, however, leverage dedicated platforms or software to manage approval workflows. These systems centralize the approval process, providing transparency and real-time tracking. By moving away from email-based approvals, organizations can enhance communication, reduce approval delays, and improve overall efficiency in managing travel requests.

3. Lack of automation

An outdated travel approval process lacking automation for routine tasks, such as expense calculations, approval routing, and notifications, can significantly increase administrative overhead. Modernization involves implementing automated systems that streamline these tasks. It reduces manual efforts, minimizing errors, and expediting the approval workflow. Automation not only enhances efficiency but also allows for a more responsive and error-free process. It improves overall productivity in managing travel approvals.

4. Limited accessibility

If your travel approval system lacks easy mobile device access or a user-friendly interface, it may be outdated. Modern systems prioritize accessibility for users on the go, enabling employees to submit requests and receive approvals seamlessly through mobile platforms. Enhanced accessibility improves efficiency and responsiveness in managing travel approvals, aligning with the dynamic needs of today’s workforce.

5. Slow approval times

Business trip planning

Delays in the approval process, particularly caused by manual steps or dependencies, may indicate an outdated system. Modern approval processes prioritize quicker turnaround times. It leverages streamlined workflows and automation to expedite approvals and enhance overall efficiency. By reducing approval times, businesses can better meet the fast-paced demands of travel planning. This leads to improved employee satisfaction and optimized operations.

6. Poor integration with policies

An outdated system that doesn’t integrate with company travel policies can lead to frequent violations. Modern systems incorporate policy enforcement directly into the approval process. It ensures compliance and reduces the risk of policy-related issues. Integrating policies improves the overall effectiveness and alignment of the travel approval system with organizational guidelines. This not only enhances adherence to policies but also contributes to a more robust and compliant travel management framework.

7. Lack of real-time tracking

Outdated travel approval systems lacking real-time tracking may indicate inefficiencies. If travel request statuses are not promptly communicated, delays and miscommunication can occur. Modern processes prioritize real-time visibility into the approval pipeline, ensuring quick and transparent tracking. This facilitates timely decision-making, reducing bottlenecks and enhancing overall efficiency.

8. Limited reporting and analytics

An outdated system may struggle to generate detailed reports and analytics on travel expenses, trends, and compliance. Modern travel approval systems leverage data analytics for informed decision-making. By providing comprehensive insights, these systems empower organizations to optimize travel budgets, enhance policy compliance, and make strategic decisions based on accurate data.

Suggested Read: Top Benefits Of Corporate Travel Reporting For Finance Team

9. Difficulty in collaboration

Challenges in collaboration between employees, managers, and travel coordinators due to system limitations suggest a need for an update. Modern travel approval systems facilitate smooth communication and collaboration, ensuring all stakeholders can easily collaborate on travel plans. Improved collaboration leads to more effective decision-making and a streamlined travel approval process.

10. Employee dissatisfaction

Frequent complaints among employees regarding the complexity, delays, or inefficiencies of the travel approval process may indicate the need for improvement. Modernizing the system addresses these concerns, aiming for a user-friendly interface, quicker approval times, and enhanced overall efficiency. Improved employee satisfaction is crucial for morale and contributes to a more productive and streamlined travel management process.

To create the ultimate business travel approval workflow, you have to eliminate numerous redundant processes. It is important that you evolve with the modern world and include technology and automation for errorfree approvals.

Suggested Read: Top Ways To Use Business Travel Automation In The Gulf

Create The Ultimate Business Travel Approval Workflow

How can one tell that the company travel approval process is outdated?

Signs of an outdated system include: manual paperwork, absence of automation, lack of mobile compatibility, and frequent employee complaints.

What are the benefits of modernizing my travel approval process?

Modernization can bring several advantages including streamlined workflows, improved accuracy, quick trip planning, travel policy compliance, employee satisfaction and more.

How can I get started with creating a better travel approval process?

Clearly define approval matrices, explore self-booking tools for employees, and regularly review and update your travel approval process.


Pratyush is a traveling enthusiast who always looks for innovations in business travel management. He has 5 years of experience writing content on corporate travel management and working closely with expert business travel facilitators.