Implementing the right software solutions can bring about huge savings for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) when managing travel, says Shirley Le Roux, concept founder and general manager of TraveluXion.

Cost remains a critical factor in the SMME market, which is often not as capable of negotiating better rates as their larger counterparts, simply due to not having the financial might to do so. Managing cash flow and keeping to tight budgets is a common approach.

“Best price of the day is often a very good approach for SMMEs with all the online travel agent (OTAs) sites available these days,” says Le Roux. “The need to have supplier negotiated rates is often over rated as suppliers manage inventory very well and offer the public highly reduced rates. With a system like TraveluXion – which encompasses offline content booking, meaning content booked on the web, as well as a robust self-booking tool, powered by one of the largest distribution companies in the world and the benefit of requesting agent assistance where necessary – SMMEs are assured of securing the best deals at the lowest service fees.”

According to Le Roux, the implementation of such a software solution addresses the cost factor more than adequately.

“The right solution brings the necessary control and peace of mind to an SMME that can know the business spend is managed in a secure environment,” she says.

The company recently proved its ability to save costs when it implemented its solutions with an SMME that was paying service fees of about 3,9% of their total spend making use of self-booking tools owned by an agency.

“Within 60 days of implementing our software, the company has seen major cost savings, and is now paying only 1,19% in service fees. The benefits are tangible, exciting and quickly realised.”

She says, to date the company has helped SMMEs save on 25% of spend.

“This is massive – regardless of what they spend on business travel,” she told TAM.

According to Le Roux, it is essential that solutions for the SMME market are not only highly cost efficient but also user friendly.

“There are many SMMEs who try to manage this travel process internally. This is generally offered through one or two travel agents who work independently. This system usually works fairly well, however without the SMME adopting software such as TraveluXion with customised workflows and approval structures, they forgo the real benefit of having a solution that manages the entire transaction in a transparent manner.”

Le Roux says the right software offers SMMEs the benefit of upfront approvals and on-demand reporting, which is naturally critical to any organisation.

“With our offering, we don’t charge for reporting or account management,” she says. “Furthermore, it is imperative that companies ensure their travellers’ well-being and whereabouts are known at all times. Often when bookings are conducted outside a managed environment, the traveller’s safety can sometimes be unknowingly compromised.”

With SMMEs at the heart of the economy, driving innovation and delivering solutions to this sector will become increasingly important.