As companies consider their long-awaited return to business travel, the notion of a managed corporate travel program has changed during the past 15 months or so of the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, travel restarts amid a new environment of health and safety measures, increased taxation complexities, volatile restrictions on movement, some level of reluctance to travel for some employees and, maybe, heightened attention to keeping travel costs low after companies found remote conferencing a reasonably effective alternative. Many companies will be looking more strategically at how travel enables business and what factors should determine when travel is warranted.
But much hasn't changed during the pandemic. Developing a managed program still offers the kind of benefits that remain important in challenging times, like the ability to track every traveler for duty of care, the control over traveler data and other sensitive information, and the ability to gather information with which to negotiate with suppliers to keep spending controlled.
It's for those reasons among others that the value of developing a managed travel program remains high for those without one, as is the value in fine-tuning and streamlining a mature program for travel management veterans. Ensuring that internal travel processes are structured and organized will help travel managers limit rogue bookings and noncompliant travel, helping to allow them to keep track of travelers while keeping costs controlled. Forming solid partnerships with well-vetted travel management providers, suppliers and third-party companies will help ensure the program remains comprehensive, current and centered on corporate objectives.
Organizations of every size now should consider how their approaches to business travel will change from pre-pandemic times. Determining how business travel can serve corporate objectives, and the objectives it should serve, is a many-tentacled discussion that should involve corporate senior management, financial executives, human resources, sales and marketing and risk management, among other personnel. But however businesses choose to restructure their travel programs with Covid-19 in the rear-view mirror, it can only help to review and consider the basics of building a travel management program.