The idea of the corporate travel manager and their strategic role within a business isn’t the same as what it was a few years ago. However, that doesn’t mean a corporate travel manager is obsolete.
Yes, there’s more technology available from booking portals to streamlined expense reporting software, but there are still ways corporate travel managers strategically contribute to an organization. It’s just often done differently than it was in the past.
The following are some key things to understand about the role the modern travel manager plays within an organization.
Technology is an Aid—Not a Replacement
For businesses that see technology as a replacement for the role of the travel manager, they are potentially missing opportunities. Technology can bring data that shows the ROI and performance of travel programs. However, what’s done with that data and how it’s put to use is up to the travel manager.
Travel managers’ role should become about not necessarily collecting data—that’s done for them with technology. Instead, it should start to transform into something that involves taking that data and making decisions based on it.
Another important function of the modern travel manager should be ensuring that employees are safe when they’re traveling. This is something that’s somewhat overlooked, even though business travelers can face significant threats in certain areas. Travel managers can put in place the technology and tools for employees to check in when necessary, and they can create the standard for how employees will do that.
In addition to the traditional idea of employee safety while traveling, there’s something else to consider which is cybersecurity. Travel managers should be trained on how to ensure that travelers’ data and key business information is protected while employees are abroad.
Platforms like expense management software make it much easier to see where non-compliance can be happening and also to prevent non-compliance. However, a business needs a clear idea of what non-compliance looks like. Travel managers in the modern era should always ensure that the travel policies are up-to-date and remain relevant.
Travel managers can also be the people within a company who outline what happens when non-compliance occurs or the steps that are taken. This is important within their role because they’re also working to adhere to cost management goals. Compliance is a key element of keeping travel costs under control.
Finally, employee satisfaction is important in so many ways when it comes to corporate travel. First, employees need to be at least relatively happy with their experiences, so they’re productive while they’re away. Also, for a business to retain top talent, they need to feel satisfied with their workplace including their travel experiences.
While more businesses are moving toward self-service options for company travelers, that doesn’t mean that travel managers can’t still work on employee satisfaction metrics. Travel managers can look beyond non-compliance and safety and check in with employees and see how they view their experiences and where positive changes can be made.