We have seen in detail in our previous blog posts that Travel Management has changed dramatically, particularly in Startups and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Important focus areas for corporate travel management in SMEs:
In the last few years, business and corporate travel management has undergone a sea change within the Startups and SMEs including higher expectations from Travel Buyers. They look upon their TMC for increased cost savings, management of travel expense and greater understanding of their business travel patterns within the organizations. Their expectations also include comprehensive reports, positive ROI and exhaustive spend analysis. The concerns are discussed long before the sales process, travel policy or inventory matters.
A survey by Egencia concluded that increased cost savings, raising traveller productivity and enhancing spend visibility were ranked the top three focus areas for this year. Surprisingly, traditional focus areas such as improvement of business traveller risk management program, expansion or improvement of travel policy and refinement of air or hotel contract agreements are ranked lowest for 2018.
Travel Management is moving to a cost efficient function, particularly for SMEs. The advent of business travel management suite like Tripeur, which is highly scalable for small and large corporations, is focussed on the strategies to promote travel compliance, bring down travel spends and foster better relationships with TMCs, travel operators, travel agencies, hotels and airlines. At the same time, smaller companies and SMEs, by hiring a travel manager, felt the need to be more cost–conscious than corporations, and that rapid growth can result in fast increase of travel expenses. For the same reason, most travel manager report to Account/Finance/Treasury departments in a company.
Coming back to our earlier question if travel management dead. It certainly isn’t, but the mission of the travel manager has shifted in the management of travel program, traveler’s safety, travel spends, and establishment of support compliance.
Even if business travel management is now linked to Accounts or Finance departments, the role of a travel manager is much more efficient when he/she understands the company culture, identifies stakeholders and knows the people than just dealing with a TMC or buying travel. An insider for the travel manager position can fetch appreciable results in any organization.
Specific training tailored to understand the language of travel industry specialists is a plus. For example, understanding what a GDS is helps if one wants to appreciate the booking system, and a certain asset, for sure, if you want to launch a RFT to determine the best TMC.
The travel industry is highly dynamic. A travel manager must be up to date with the required resources, be an active participant in all events conducted by TMC and exchange ideas with his/her peers – networking holds the key.
In conclusion, business travel tools like Tripeur has given a new lease of life to travel management with traveler tracking, custom report, market intelligence, supplier negotiation/contract support with AI, machine learning and chat bots to help the travel manager cope with new challenges.