The Evolving Role Of A Travel Manager
The role of a travel manager has changed drastically from what it was a decade ago. It has evolved and goes beyond supporting employee travel, crafting a corporate travel policy, and managing approvals. Today, a travel manager designs travel programs, implements duty of care programs, does vendor management, and more.
According to a recent survey conducted by GBTA, over the past five years, the role of a travel manager has evolved to deliver an even more significant value to the company. Additionally, travel managers with at least 15 years of experience spend more time focusing on new responsibilities:
- 65% more time managing data, analysis, and reporting
- 70% more time evaluating new technologies
- 64% more time managing traveler safety and communications
And the role is ever-evolving.
In this blog, we will share with you how the role of travel manager is changing further, from tactical to a more strategic one, especially post-pandemic. There are a few areas in which new skills and technologies will be required by the travel managers to cope with the uncertainty in this “new world”. Read on.
The Changing Role of The Travel Manager
We believe the new responsibilities of a travel manager would include:
Ensuring employee welfare by assessing travel risk
As a travel manager, your role is not limited to booking tickets and planning itineraries for employees. In this new world, you will have to play the role of “risk manager”. From defining essential travel, assessing if the employee is fit to travel for her age, health conditions, any underlying ailments, etc, evaluating risks & business ROI for each trip, and doing robust scenario planning – you have a lot on your shoulders.
Ensuring the safety of employees
As organizations look at smarter ways to ensure safety for their employees while traveling, eyes turn to travel managers. As travel managers, you need to understand that safety is more than just “safe flight and hotels”. You are expected to be an expert in knowing if the destination is safe, immigrations rules, quarantine rules by the state or the country, travel rules, airlines guidelines, or any other thing that might impact the traveling employee.
We understand that it is not possible to have all this information at your fingertips. You would require more prepared travel and expense management partners and better technologies. For instance, with a T&E management solution such as ITILITE, you can provide your travelers with relevant, precise, and actionable information.
Also, it should send alerts and notifications, track traveler location, and provide 24*7 multi-level support.
Companies will be more sensitive towards travel spending post-pandemic and therefore, would want you (travel managers) to forecast the travel budgets. Firstly, there is a fundamentally different skill required as a travel manager to think of drivers of travel – if it is essential or not. Earlier, there may be many reasons for travel such as client meetings, building relationships with clients, etc.
However, in today’s times, you have to provide reasoning and forecast a budget before sending employees on business trips. An advanced T&E management solution provides travel costs and also helps you create budgets for future travel.
Saving costs for the company
Saving money has become more important than ever for businesses, especially post COVID. As business travel resumes, there will be a stronger need for cost control. Therefore, you are expected to evaluate the travel spends and accurately track savings for the company. The first thing that they can do to reduce travel costs is by increasing policy awareness and adoption. They can also get an integrated T&E management solution that helps them:
- Get complete visibility over the travel spend data, timely and accurately
- Prevent fraud with no out-of-policy bookings, duplicate bookings, weekend bookings, etc.
- Gamify the travel program by rewarding employees who choose low-cost options
- With dynamic pricing for hotels and airlines so that the system automatically compares fares and finds (and suggests) the best one to the employees
Aligning processes globally
Almost all companies have a global reach today. Therefore, the responsibility of developing and centralizing travel programs falls under the role of a travel manager. Therefore, you must select a T&E management solution that helps you align processes globally and manage cultural differences. It should have the capability to provide centralized data for all travel and expenses. The T&E solution should cater to employees across the globe, with different currencies and languages, and help in increasing compliance.
Future-Proof Your Travel Program With The Right Technology Partner
Corporate travel management is evolving and so are the roles and responsibilities of travel managers. As a travel manager, you will need to dive much deeper and learn new skills to enhance employee experience and save costs for your company. But you don’t have to do it all alone! Investing in the right technology partner will help you increase efficiency and decrease travel costs.
ITILITE is an integrated travel and expense management solution that can help you provide a seamless travel experience to your employees while controlling costs. To know more, book a demo with our product expert today!