If there’s one skill that all travel managers have on their CV, it’s juggling...
Whether they’re dealing with traveller noise while making sense of travel reports, or developing new strategies while simultaneously updating key stakeholders and liaising with a TMC, they’re sure to be spinning multiple plates in order to keep an organisation’s travel strategy moving smoothly.
In an effort to better understand the people who really keep corporate travel on track, we spoke to clients, account managers and travel managers themselves. Here’s what they told us:
1. How do I keep my travellers and my organisation happy?
Travel managers have been performing the unenviable balancing act of managing traveller satisfaction alongside corporate interests since time began and that certainly looks set to continue, with a totally content team of travellers remaining the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The real challenge for travel managers is absorbing traveller noise and correctly evaluating which of that noise can be turned into useful feedback for procurement teams who are going out to tender, as well as direction for an organisation’s overall travel strategy.
It’s also becoming increasingly important for travel managers to educate travellers on the motivations behind an organisation’s travel supplier, programme, policy and duty of care efforts. It’s now so easy for travellers to book outside of contract, particularly those of the millennial generation, that travel managers are under pressure to get travellers to remain invested in an organisation’s travel programme if they’re to successfully capture leakage and satisfy corporate interests.
2. Are we using data effectively?
Data goes hand in hand with corporate travel technology. Whether it’s traveller profiles, journey itineraries, out of policy bookings, average cost or most popular destinations, it’s never been easier to collect data on how your organisation travels, but is it as easy to actually understand it?
As a travel manager it can feel like data is stacking up around you before you have chance to digest, understand and implement it. With the modern travel manager’s role becoming ever more strategic, it’s important not to get distracted by the quantity of data available and focus instead on the quality of the data and its implications for your organisation’s travel programme.
A great place to start would be highlighting data that can help you to predict how your organisation will travel in the future. The rise in popularity of predictive analytics and intuitive booking tools means that the whole of the corporate travel industry is quite literally looking ahead - being able to make smart forecasts regarding popular trips and style of travel in order to secure the best rates will stand your organisation in good stead.
3. Is our technology doing its job?
When it comes to selecting an online booking tool for your organisation, there’s never been more choice and online booking tools now make up the bread and butter of many a TMC’s offering. However, with so many online booking tools now available, it’s harder to correctly evaluate which will be the right fit for your travellers and your organisation as a whole – the wrong technology can send your travel programme into a nosedive, as travellers will quickly shun it in favour of a more accessible option.
The trick to finding the right booking tool is selecting one that has the ability to be flexible and prioritises user experience whilst looking after corporate interests. Flexibility is vital if you’re to select an online booking tool that is a viable option for the long-term, as it will give your organisation room as it grows and changes.
The corporate travel industry as a whole is seeing a real push towards improved user experience, striving for less disparity (if any!) between B2B and B2C booking tools. In order to find an online booking tool that will offer a great user experience to travellers, travel managers must have an in-depth understanding of company culture and attitudes – as well as being acutely aware of what it is about the current booking tool that turns travellers off.