What travel managers should learn about corporate travel management maturity

March 23, 2023 | By Martin Go
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Embarking on the journey of refining your company’s business travel management can be a challenging but rewarding endeavour. There’s no need to stress if you’re just starting to integrate travel management processes, as you might simply be in the early phases of maturity.

This article is designed to help you understand what maturity looks like for a modernized business travel program, allowing you to focus on where improvements should be made and identify any gaps within your program. We will delve into the various stages of travel management maturity, offering thoughtful insights and guidance for self-reflection. And if you’re eager to gauge your progress in a more personalized manner, consider taking our free assessment.

Areas where you can self-evaluate

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A successful alignment not only enhances the overall travel experience for employees on the go but also deeply intertwines with long-term strategic goals to create a cohesive agenda that reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional travel management. This holistic and forward-thinking approach paves the way for companies to optimize their resources and stay ahead of the curve by ensuring that intelligent, sustainable, and integrated travel policies are at the core of their business strategies. 


By evaluating the effectiveness of business travel management, companies ensure that their resources are being utilized in the best possible manner. This involves assessing aspects such as employee safety and comfort, cost-efficiency, and the overall impact of travel on productivity. Companies that excel in these areas demonstrate a high level of maturity in their travel management, fostering a sense of trust and confidence among employees and stakeholders alike.

Furthermore, optimizing the efficiency of travel arrangements can play an important role in enhancing a company’s environmental footprint, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for all. 


In the fast-paced business world, efficiency is a crucial aspect to consider when evaluating the maturity of a company’s travel management process. As travel becomes integral to an organization’s success, managing it efficiently can bring substantial value to overall growth and productivity. One must ask themselves if the cost of managing business travel surpasses its intended value or if resources and time are wasted.

An effective business travel management system ensures a seamless experience for employees, keeping in mind the balance between cost-effectiveness and convenience. A thoughtful approach can lead to time savings, improved compliance with travel policies, and rich insights into travel trends and expenses. 

5 stages of travel management maturity

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Stage 1: Little to no travel management process

In the first stage of business travel management maturity, companies often have little to no travel management process in place. This often leads to self-serve traveller bookings and a lack of clear guidelines on when and why travel is necessary. Consequently, costs can be wasted on last-minute bookings and cancellations as trips are planned ad hoc. Furthermore, the responsibility of admin-related tasks falls on employees, creating a potentially disorganized and chaotic travel experience.

In such cases, companies may partially shoulder travel costs through a mixture of bank deposits and a manual reimbursement process. This approach, however, lacks a clear boundary regarding what expenses the company is willing to cover, which can lead to confusion and disputes. Additionally, the absence of travel risk mitigation measures can leave travellers and the company vulnerable to legal and safety issues during their journeys.

This lack of structure in business travel management is inefficient and can negatively impact employee satisfaction, productivity, and, ultimately, the bottom line. As companies grow and evolve, it becomes increasingly crucial to implement a more robust and streamlined business trip management process that offers guidelines, protection, and support for employees, ensuring a smooth and stress-free travel experience for all parties involved.

Stage 2: Traditional enforcement of the programme

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At the traditional enforcement stage of impactful business travel management maturity, organizations are typically equipped with a basic travel policy and program called T&E (Travel and Expense). While these policies serve as a foundation for managing corporate travel, their enforcement presents a significant challenge as it heavily relies on manual processes. Consequently, this increases the chances of misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the policies. 

Organizations often turn to online booking tools (OBTs) or online travel agencies (OTAs) to handle bookings. Yet, this practice fails to address the problem of wasted time spent on handling paperwork. Although the traditional enforcement stage represents an initial effort to streamline business travel management, it is essential for companies to evolve their approach and adopt more efficient and technology-driven methods to reduce the room for error and optimize their travel experiences.

Stage 3: Incorporation of travel management technology

This stage is characterized by adopting a comprehensive platform to streamline the travel management process. By embracing automation, companies can save valuable time, enhance policy compliance, and minimize human error on travel and expense reports. Moreover, travel managers can effortlessly set timelines and monitor policies without micromanaging every detail. 


Automated travel management also improves travel growth and safety, enabling companies to track their employees’ journeys and promptly respond to potential risks or emergencies. By achieving this level of maturity, businesses can harness the power of technology to optimize travel experiences, ensure the well-being of employees, and ultimately drive growth and success.

Stage 4: Behaviour change

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The behaviour change stage of business travel maturity unfolds a new perspective, where travellers and travel managers work to optimize their travel experiences by aligning their actions with established policies. This transformation occurs when travellers become more conscious of the benefits of adhering to these policies, such as significant time and cost savings. 

Consequently, travel managers can shift their focus toward analyzing the frequently used travel vendors and negotiating improved deals. This collaborative and mindful approach fosters a strong sense of trust between all parties involved. It paves the way for a more enjoyable and cost-effective travel experience, reflecting the true essence of a mature business travel management system.

Stage 5: Travelling strategically and impactfully

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The stage of travelling strategically and impactfully in business travel management maturity is a pivotal point where team members can delve into the more strategic aspects of planning and executing corporate travel. By harnessing the insights offered by Travel Management Companies (TMC) and individual travellers, travel managers in this stage focus on understanding the specific departments and purposes that drive their company’s travel needs. 

This information enables them to prioritize travel activities and make data-driven decisions to scale back when necessary, yet without compromising the overall impact of the travel for the company. With a keen interest in continuous improvement, travel managers are now devoted to refining the entire travel process, making business trips more efficient, budget-friendly, and high-impact for their organizations. By embracing a thoughtful and strategic approach to managing corporate travel, companies can optimize their resources while still reaping the benefits of face-to-face interactions in a global business landscape.

Business travel management made easier with TruTrip

There’s never been a better time than today to start getting serious about your travel policy development and management. Take the initiative today to improve your settings and increase the quality of your program. Make it easier for stakeholders and travellers alike to experience booking efficiency, personalized and attentive customer service, fulfilling requests in a rapid fashion, cost optimization, dynamic reporting options, and more. 

For those seeking advice on where their organization stands regarding travel maturity or who need assistance modifying policy settings, take our free assessment. Book a demo or sign up for our free trial at TruTrip, and our travel experts will customize solutions tailored specifically for you. Transitioning from outdated practices or lacklustre policies toward smarter process automation is only one step away. Let’s get started!