to travel in 2023 brings with it a new set of challenges for travel teams. With
many organizations operating a hybrid model and teams dispersed, the question
is—will travel teams be able to keep travelers up to date with the latest information,
through one platform?
last 10 years we have seen a huge transformation in the role of corporate
travel managers. Traditionally the role was focused on supplier management and
cost savings, fast forward to 2023 and the role of travel manager is often an
integral position within the organization with access to boardroom discussions
and strategic input.
corporate travel policy has moved from being a cost-driven exercise to an
employee-led benefit. It’s a driver for recruitment, employee retention, and
employee effectiveness; and very much on the corporate agenda to help define company
culture and drive employee well-being.
this transformation came new considerations—a refocus on traveler well-being,
duty of care and sustainability. Employee satisfaction moved up the corporate agenda;
a change further accelerated by the pandemic as the attention shifted to the
traveler, and corporates worked with travel suppliers around the clock to keep
their employees safe.
change in the travel manager role, and the pivot from a focus on cost and
savings to an employee-centric travel management program with a far-reaching
remit to include all the elements of well-being, it’s no wonder travel buyers
are questioning the capabilities of tools and technology used in the past and asking
whether they remain fit for purpose.
pandemic, the lines between HR and corporate travel managers have become
blurred. The hybrid working model has forced organizations to look at their
working environment to ensure employee well-being, collaboration between teams,
and company culture are maintained. Internal team building, events and meetings
once organized by HR functions are now falling under the travel remit and
incentives to entice employees back to the office or to boost employee’s morale,
such as lunch providers, ground transportation and gym classes also now the
responsibility of the travel team.
of new categories of information such as sustainability, traveler well-being,
traveler safety; meetings information, ancillary services, the list goes
on, in addition to the rapid increase at which the information now needs to be
updated are causing a challenge for travel teams as they look for ways to
streamline information flows in 2023.
As well as the sourcing new suppliers
for these additional services, the role of the travel manager has the
responsibility of ensuring new solutions are sustainable choices. Shifting consumer sentiment towards
using sustainable choices will continue to be a real driver for companies who
understand the need to stay relevant and have a future, it’s at the forefront
of most corporate objectives.
only one side of the problem. As travel managers source new suppliers, new services,
and update travel policies, how do you then go about communicating this
information to business travelers—indeed, all employees given today’s remit—in
a timely and efficient manner? How do you ensure the information is kept
up-to-date and relevant and supplier’s information remains accurate? Some of
the larger enterprise organizations have up to 60 to 70 partners, it’s a huge
task just managing these relationships.
Tripism ran a survey that showed more than 90 percent of business travelers
were unaware of all the benefits available through their travel program.
Post-pandemic, you can assume this problem has only got worse due to remote
working, and this is certainly what I’m hearing when talking to corporate travelers.
Managers have done a fantastic job at developing travel policies, putting the
tools and services in place for today’s business environment. Dynamic programs
with a diverse range of offerings are the norm, but the challenge is how to
communicate and promote to a hybrid work force. Travel managers are not content
managers and managing multiple sources of information is difficult, add in the
complexity of the industry and the rate of change and this task gets even more challenging. Travel managers are being asked to perform a
myriad of roles in the new environment.
There is more
and more information available to businesses and consumers, so how do
corporates make it easy for employees to navigate the information, ensure 100
percent accuracy and negate discrepancies if information is shared across
numerous communication channels. As consumers we are all very familiar with the
user-friendly, intuitive applications we use in our private lives, and expect
this same level of service as busy business travelers.
every business needs a central ecosystem, a central depository for information
and one source of truth. How this information is presented and delivered to
business travelers needs to be tailored to the individual needs of the
organization based on traveler profile. Once delivered, collating traveler
feedback to continuously improve and refine the program will be crucial and
hugely valuable to business travel managers in securing traveler engagement.