The corporate travel manager is responsible for managing, planning, and negotiating travel for the company's employees.
A corporate travel manager can book flights, hotels, and car rentals for the whole company, unlike most employees who rely on their employers for these services.
Read on for tips on how to become an expert in corporate travel management.
1. Understand Your Company's Travel Policies
The travel policy for your company will have an impact on how your company travels, who travels, and why they travel. Any travel policy should, however, address some points.
You must include your approved booking process, as well as your preferred booking tool.
Would it be good if travelers were able to book with one business travel platform to consolidate their spending?
Are you asking travelers to book themselves according to company policy or are you asking them to send a travel request to an office manager who will book all trips?
It is also important to have a policy that outlines what purchases can and cannot be expensed so that your travelers do not unknowingly purchase items that they cannot get reimbursed for or incur unnecessary expenses on their corporate card.
You need to make sure that your policy clearly defines business expenses such as entertainment costs, meals, and registration fees for events.
2. Understand the Needs of Your Employees
As far as corporate travel is concerned, each of your employees has their own needs.
Flexible corporate travel policies are necessary to ensure the satisfaction of employees who will travel on company business.
Employee satisfaction can also be improved by a corporate travel manager.
As a result, your employee has more time to devote to core business tasks, as they will have one less time-consuming administrative task to add to their list.
The company may create additional arrangements with the employee, such as getting visas and filing paperwork, booking immunizations, arranging travel insurance, and arranging reservations for restaurants and conference rooms for the employee.
Managing and streamlining can often take hours when dealing with these additional concerns.
To ensure everything runs smoothly, a dedicated corporate travel manager will be the point of contact.
3. Use a Travel Management System
Business travelers use travel management systems to book, track, and analyze business trips.
Travel management systems are the most common platform used containing an inventory of travel plans, policies, and reporting functions.
However, the term can also refer to business travel management in general.
It doesn't make sense anymore to build business travel management tools from scratch when there are already available, affordable tools available out of the box for you to use.
A company's travel activities and expenses are managed, regulated, and coordinated through these systems. These are primarily manual tasks that a company's travel manager, or office administrator, would take care of.
The work involved in managing travel can be streamlined or automated entirely with a travel management system.
To accomplish this, staff can be freed up to work on more valuable tasks than monitoring others' travel plans.
4. Build Relationships With Vendors and Providers
Negotiations with providers are an important part of the travel manager's responsibilities. This can undoubtedly affect expenditures from business trips, as well as the quality of the work environment and traveler satisfaction.
A good, warm attitude may be very beneficial even when negotiating with providers, beyond the simple requirements of a business relationship.
The travel manager's allies are or can be, providers, and providing them with better management is their responsibility.
The best option is to choose a provider who allows for changes or cancellations at the last minute, such as transport providers or accommodations.
In case the chosen provider cannot accommodate last-minute changes, it is not harmful to keep other options in mind.
5. Create a Travel Calendar
You can save a great deal of time and effort by creating an itinerary for your business travel.
As a personal assistant, or as someone who plans the travel for coworkers, using a standard itinerary for travel preparation will be invaluable.
We recommend using a standard business itinerary template when traveling, whether for yourself or a group of coworkers.
While it requires some effort to set up, it will save you valuable time while traveling. In addition to making sure you don't forget anything for your trip, a business travel itinerary will make sure you don't get lost.
If you plan, you will ensure that all meetings, check-ins, and departures happen when they're supposed to.
If you're chasing a big deal, you don't want to be late for a meeting or miss a flight last minute.
A month's planning is one benefit of booking as early as possible to secure specific arrangements and times. It also allows you to find the best rate and to make last-minute changes if necessary when you plan.
6. Follow Up to Make Sure All Goes Smoothly
Once everything is in place, it doesn’t mean that you stop there.
A lot of unseen circumstances may come such as delays in flights, hotel booking changes, some sort of problems regarding the allotted travel budget, etc.
Following up with providers gives you ample time to come up with a solution and fix unforeseen problems.
Communicating effectively with road workers is also essential.
Two-way communication is essential to keeping an employee informed about schedule changes, organizational changes, etc, regardless of where an employee is located or what kind of trip they are taking.
A corporate travel manager can achieve success if they are organized, diligent, and prepared to work hard.
When planning and organizing company travel, keep these tips in mind, and you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of corporate travel management.