What’s Trending: Digital Gift Cards For Business Travel

November 22, 2023

Julie Gu

Julie Gu is Vice President of Consumer and Marketing, North America/Global Acquisition Marketing at Prezzee, a leading global eGift card platform. With nearly 20 years in brand-building and revenue growth, she spearheads the company’s U.S. marketing efforts, collaborating with the global team on data-driven customer strategies.

With the business world returning to a sense of normalcy, global business travel spending is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels and expected to grow substantially in the upcoming years. Global business travel spending rose in 2022 from the previous year by 47% to $1.03 trillion, according to The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) 2022.

Not only is global business travel spending expected to recover in 2023, but also it will also grow even further to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027, according to GBTA. The two biggest drivers of business travel in the last six months have been the return of in-person meetings and events and the recovery of some international business travel.

With the growth in business travel also comes the growth in out-of-pocket travel expenses. One thing that has not changed when it comes to business travel is that companies have always been trying to reduce costs and streamline operations. A notable trend gaining momentum is that many companies are asking their employees to shoulder the cost of travel more by implementing per diem limits during business trips to manage costs and control expenses. 

This approach often places the financial burden squarely on employees’ shoulders. Expenses such as meals, accommodations and incidentals are typically incurred on personal credit cards, creating financial stress, especially for those with limited personal funds.

The process of handling expense reports, verifying receipts and reimbursing employees due to the limits that per diems can place can be cumbersome and time-consuming for organizations – especially smaller organizations with fewer staff. It also leaves room for errors and discrepancies, which can lead to dissatisfaction among employees and financial inefficiencies for the company.

Because of these challenges, a noteworthy shift to using digital gift cards has been emerging as a viable solution to per diem issues, and it is a great solution to challenges faced by both the employee and the employer. This innovative approach offers several significant advantages:

1. Immediate Access to Funds: Digital gift cards can grant employees immediate access to their allocated travel funds. This eliminates the need for employees to use their personal finances, debit cards and/or credit cards during business trips and alleviates associated financial stress. Instead, employers can provide their employee with a loaded digital gift card with the allotted amount they might require to travel. The employee can then use the digital card for payments during their travels.

2. Streamlined Expense Management: For companies, the transition to digital gift cards can simplify expense management. It eliminates the need for extensive expense report processing, receipt validation and reimbursement delays. This streamlined approach significantly reduces administrative overhead and minimizes the potential for errors in the expense processing workflow. 

3. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction: Providing digital gift cards for business travel expenses sends a clear message of trust and support to employees. It underscores the company’s commitment to their well-being, both financially and emotionally. This boost in morale and employee satisfaction has a positive ripple effect throughout the organization, resulting in a more motivated and engaged workforce.

4. Versatility and Choice: Digital gift cards offer employees the freedom to choose from a diverse array of brands and vendors while traveling. Whether it’s for dining, lodging, transportation or incidentals, employees can use their digital gift cards where they see fit. This autonomy empowers employees to personalize their travel experience, catering to their specific preferences and needs.

Embracing the Future of Business Travel

As the business landscape continues to evolve, it’s essential to adapt strategies and tools accordingly. Implementing digital gift cards for business travel expenses can align seamlessly with ongoing digital transformation efforts and streamline the expense process for employees. 

The days of employees shouldering the financial burden of business travel expenses and navigating the complexities of expense reimbursement can swiftly become a thing of the past. The adoption of digital gift cards represents a forward-thinking solution that simplifies expense management, offers immediate access to funds and enhances the overall satisfaction of business travel. 

By embracing this innovative approach, businesses can now ensure that their employees remain focused on their work during travel, free from the burdens of expense management. 


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