Corporate travel management is a vital component of any business. Corporate travel managers are responsible for ensuring employees have the necessary resources to stay productive and satisfied during their travels and developing company policies that impact the way they operate.
Corporate Travel Directors work with Corporate Travel Managers to create corporate guidelines, develop budgets, negotiate rates and service agreements, coordinate staffing needs, manage itineraries, organize accommodations and provide customer service after the trip.
Corporate travel management can be complex due to many factors, including budgetary constraints or lack of time between meetings. The following article will discuss common challenges faced by corporate travellers today and how to mitigate potential issues or disasters before they occur.
Challenge 1: Balance Spending With Traveller Welfare
Many companies have a Corporate Travel policy that restricts the number of trips per year, how many miles a traveller can fly on any one trip, and where they can go.
Business travellers are often faced with the dilemma of flying on a more expensive out-of-pocket expense ticket to gain extra frequent flyer points or enjoying their time off by staying local.
The next step is to consider en route/overnight stopover costs, which can sometimes outweigh additional airfare expenses.
To improve your travel management policy, have your departments work together to make improvements. Discuss things like how often people should travel, how much they can spend, and what the goals are.
Decide when you would be willing to allow first-class flights and accommodations. When teams are involved in the planning process, they will better understand each other
Challenge 2: Boost Hotel Compliance
Corporate travel policies often uphold high standards of hotel compliance, which can leave travellers with a challenge when it comes to finding a suitable hotel. Many hotels lack the facilities and amenities that meet business travellers’ needs due to low guest demand for those qualities and services.
To solve this, businesses can use geographically and use data-driven inventory management tools to allow travellers to book the most suitable hotel at the best rates available.
They can find hotels that fit within their price range and location requirements easily with a platform that a traveller can trust.
Challenge 3: Oversee Non-Employee Spending
Businesses need to handle how non-employee business travellers are spending money. For example, if the company is footing the bill for a stay at a hotel, it needs to handle how its employees are spending their room rate.
They have to maintain records of all purchases so they can report on taxable income and pay any applicable taxes on that income. A company may have a card programme for its employees to use while they're travelling, but it still needs stringent controls in place.
Companies can put into place a comprehensive travel policy that includes non-employee business travellers. You want to make sure you are covering all the relevant areas, including appropriate approval processes for expenses at both corporate and department levels.
One way to provide some oversight is to create an accountable expense model, which can help employees see how their expenses are affecting the overall company bottom line.
While this won't be entirely complete, it will give companies a starting point where employees can learn how their spending choices affect the company as a whole.
Challenge 4: Manage Bleisure Travels
Bleisure travel refers to when employees take both personal and business trips together; this includes work-related activities during vacation or personal time.
However, bleisure trips present challenges for both employers and employees, including increased costs, lack of work/life balance, and more.
If you allow your employees to take business trips that turn into vacations (bleisure travel), make sure you book with the same sites as your company. This will help you keep track of where everyone is. You don't want to be too nosey, but it's important to make sure everyone is safe at all times, even when they're on vacation.
Challenge 5: Find the Balance Between International and Local Trips
One of the biggest challenges for international travel managers is how to balance local and international trips. Many companies have a policy that all employees must take 25% of their time in an international destination, but not everyone has the same taste in travel destinations.
One person might want to spend every available hour backpacking through Asia, while another may want to lie on the beach in Mexico.
It’s recommended that a separate process be created for overseas travelling. The ability for employees to feel empowered is critical, regardless of where they work or where they live in the world.
However, there is no need to spend a significant amount of effort developing policies for places where your departments will not be present.
If you're planning a one-time vacation to Tanzania and your employees beg for particular hotel accommodations, give them what they want or at least as best as you can do.
In this article, we discussed some of the most common travel management challenges and how to overcome them. By following the tips we outlined, you can make your travel planning process easier and less stressful.
By making certain arrangements ahead of time, it is possible to keep your employees happy and productive while staying within budget.