Does business travel sound Greek and Latin to you? Don’t bother; you will understand these terms if you make an earnest attempt to understand what key skills you require to become a dedicated travel manager. Yes, this, of course, in addition to your main roles and responsibilities. Here are five essential skills that no travel manager can ever live without:
How you negotiate is crucial in your role as a travel manager. More often than not, you need to negotiate with your travel management company (TMC) including the service contract, commercial and legal terms; travel vendors or suppliers; bookers; travelers and other relevant stakeholders in the value chain regularly, with business travel being more an emotional subject within the business.
With excellent communication skills almost a sine qua non for a travel manager, it is the ability to engage people that can help campaign the cause for a travel policy within the organization, and seek a mandate for its adoption amongst the employees. With increasing focus on employee engagement, businesses no longer enforce policy mandates, but instead suade employees to do the right thing every time by getting their buy-in from their employees travelling for work.
Business travel knowledge:
Even if you are just starting out in business travel, there are a lot of resources —both online and offline —that help you manage travel better. Business Travel IQ is a great way to start off with industry insights, reports, intelligence and analysis through editorials, events, commentary and bench-marking. It is important to keep yourself abreast of industry updates and trends. There are quite a lot of networking events, seminars and meet-ups showcasing the best practices in travel management industry. They offer an excellent interface for information gathering and exchange with industry pros and like-minded professionals.
Analyzing data, discovering new insights, drawing analogies between different datasets, and coming up with actionable solutions are crucial in maximizing the efficiency of a business travel program; therefore, analytical skills play a major role in trend spotting and identifying opportunities hitherto hidden in plain sight. Indentifying travel purchase trends and the influencing factors can open up a new world of opportunities for cost-savings, traveler satisfaction and employee retention. Besides, they can improve employee productivity levels, meet the company’s duty of care (DOC) requirements and travel safety needs.
Feel free to share skills that you couldn’t do without if you already manage corporate travel in your company.