Business travel brings plenty of benefits but can be a challenge to organise and manage for corporate travel managers. Booking trips, accommodations and flights to arrange, and an infinite list of additional travel expenses, surprises, and duties to keep track of with employees going all over the world. However, companies have so much to gain through business travel by building strong partnerships, standing out from the competition, boosting the company’s exposure, and delivering top-notch service to clients.
Excellent business travel management is a real need to get the most out of your company’s business travel programs. It helps you stay on top of business goals while taking care of employees on the road. If your company is rethinking business travel and looking for ways to improve travel management while prioritising cost savings, this complete guide is the right place to start.
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Travel management is a function that covers all aspects of business travel for companies including booking trips, duty of care, travel costs control, risk management, claims and reporting. Because travel fees and travel expenses can make up a large portion of a company’s annual budget, having a solid strategy in place is essential for keeping the bottom line healthy. Travel management services and policies go beyond booking business travel to ensure that employees’ needs are met and they are supported throughout their business trips.
Business travel can be managed by an external corporate travel management company, an in-house travel manager, or an office administrator. Without dedicated travel management, the role of organising, managing, monitoring, and calculating the expenses can fall onto employees on top of their regular job responsibilities unless they employ corporate travel agencies.
Travel management is increasingly earning recognition as an important business function to improve the productivity of teams, meet business targets and properly solve unexpected issues. Moving away from micromanagement and improper delegation, companies are now opting to hire travel managers and use a travel management system. These travel management software solutions are often easily possible in a partnership with a travel management company.
Travel managers aid in the creation of a company’s travel policy, the management of travel plans, the selection of travel options, the organization and monitoring of travel expenses, and the safety of business travellers. A travel manager is also responsible for reviewing data after the trip and applying it to streamline and optimize future travel. They must have a diverse range of capabilities, including great communication and organizational abilities, as well as the ability to think strategically.
Travel management systems refer to all-in-one online platforms that offer extensive travel inventory, automated travel policy, risk management, expense reporting and continuous support for business travellers. Travel managers and travel management systems are not always mutually exclusive. Working together gives your employees a familiar point of contact internally and your company a modern way to manage business travel.
Travel management is not reserved only for large companies and frequent travellers. Organisations regardless of the company size and the number of individuals that travel for business, whether first-time or often, can benefit from travel management. Travel management systems are a smart way for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer employee headcounts to get the most out of their business travel programs.
How can you tell when your system has started to crumble? Or what are the signs that your business travel management system and practices need to be completely overhauled or improved?
When your firm uses a method that just isn’t tailored to the company’s specific needs, what you get is either overly compensated results or little to no results at all. This leaves either business travellers or administrators or both not getting what they need to have productive business travels. Most businesses still prefer not to update and upgrade their current process leaving their travel management suffering. These signs may include:
Business travel management platforms offer additional solutions that corporate travel agents and online booking tools cannot such as:
The Covid-19 pandemic compelled an unprecedented global experiment of innovative working habits and forced the travel industry to change. The world witnessed the confluence of rapid internet connectivity, high-quality cameras, and online collaboration tools. When the need arose, adjustments were made and work-from-anywhere is now widely accepted. This birthed new trends in travel management, changing nearly everything we know. The major trends include:
Managing travel means effectively steering through variety of challenges it comes along with, including the following responsibilities:
1) Managing crises and challenges through 24/7 support
2) Travel flexibility – travelling is more open to changes that may occur
3) Increased compliance to travel policy by automating
4) More efficiency and productivity. More time for employees to focus on business goals
5) A vast travel inventory gives you more to choose from within your requirements and price range
6) Generating savings and return on investment with the expert opinion of finance teams
No matter where your company’s travel management is at the moment, there will almost always be something to fix or improve. Although it may not be pressing enough to take urgent action, it is important to be in the know and make improvements with time. Here are ways to improve your business travel management even without travel agents.
The best way to know if you have problems with your travel management is to actually take the time to assess it. Talk to your employees and ask them about their travel needs. Are transit times getting in the way of work productivity? Incorporating lounge access within your travel policy may help. Do travellers know what to do if they fall sick on a business trip or lose their travel documents? Are you currently aware of the travel industry trends? Ensure that your duty of care is well-communicated. Note the issues you identify and begin to work towards scanning for solutions.
The key to improvement is finding and implementing the right solutions. Scan for all the solutions present, including hiring dedicated managers, going external to find corporate travel agencies to do the job, opting for finding websites or adopting a travel management software.
After identifying the problem and possible solutions, it’s time to choose which solution would be best to address the specific problems and types of business travel to be explored. Weigh the benefits and travel spend of each and match them against your goals. These are the various solutions and what advantages and disadvantages they may pose.
Travel Management Software:
After you find the problem, survey solutions and select the one with the best value for the management, it is time to put things in place. Return to the root and start drawing up plans that are best designed to produce seamless, safe, and easy global business travel.
Make sure that all employees are on the same page with the plans and the changes you are about to implement. This may take top-down meetings and sessions with clear lines of communication. Keep communication two-way and open for employees to raise any questions or concerns. Take these into consideration and address key concerns before moving forward.
Clear communication is key for any implementation to be successful. For your new travel management system to be accepted, employees must first be aware of it and how it works. Organise demos and ensure processes are well-documented for employees to access at any time. Set a launch date and support them through the transitional phase of the new system. Keep them up to speed and ensure that they understand how things work even as they evolve.
After implementation, it’s time to see if your travel management processes work. This is the stage where you closely monitor and listen to your employees on where adjustments need to be made. This is also the stage where you work closely with your solution provider to ensure everything is in order and issues can be smoothly rectified if any.
Proper travel management can significantly help your company reach new heights and break new records. Keep your team productive with full suite travel management for reducing travel costs, easier bookings, travel safety and more flexibility. Book a demo or sign up for a free trial to see how TruTrip can improve your business travel program.
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