In today's corporate environment, companies have numerous technological means at their fingertips to communicate and connect with customers and partners. In some situations, however, an email or video conference simply isn't an adequate substitute for face-to-face meetings.
In many businesses, travel continues to be an operational linchpin. But managing employee trips while keeping safety and the company's budget in mind can become complex, and travel managers must find a solution that can meet their most pressing needs.
Travel managers need to improve visibility into travel spend
Many organizations put employees in charge of doing their own travel arrangements. In a managed program, travel might be booked through a specific online booking tool or a dedicated agent team, which makes it easier to adhere to a corporate travel policy. In an unmanaged program, a lot of visibility and control is lost, making the job of a travel manager much harder. This person must make important selections related to the current enterprise travel policy, the company budget and the relationships the organization has with its travel vendors and partners.
Managing all these different aspects is complicated, and today's travel managers require increased visibility that comes in the form of robust data to back their decisions.
The solution: Travel analytics
When selecting a corporate travel solution, decision-makers should select one that can provide access to real-time analytics capabilities specific to uncovering travel insights. In this way, travel managers can analyze patterns related to a whole host of critical elements, including traveler behavior, the travel budget, open bookings, traveler expenses and compliance with the company's travel policy. The right business travel partner can work with the travel manager to set up the right reports to get access to the latest industry trends, benchmark activity, review actionable advice and track travel program progress.
Travel managers have an array of data available to them, and leveraging this information intelligently will play a valuable role in making better decisions for the travel program moving forward.
Travel managers need to ensure traveler safety
Today's travel managers must also be fully aware of any safety risks that may befall their employees during their business trips. This is particularly important for organizations that do business globally and may need to send employees to developing and emerging locations with limited or unfamiliar emergency response infrastructure.
According to a 2017 study from the Global Business Travel Association, 45 percent of business travelers now rate the threat of terrorism as the most impactful risk during their trips - greater than the risk of street crime (15 percent), illness or disease (13 percent), or property crime or theft (12 percent).
The solution: Risk management
To quell traveler concerns and ensure safety, businesses should be sure to select a solution that will assist with the development of a comprehensive risk management strategy. This should include technology that can provide alerts to inform travelers and managers of dangerous or risky situations emerging abroad. It should also have the ability to track and communicate with out-of-office employees, even in the face of an emergency. This provides peace of mind for employees and travel managers alike.
Travel managers need to reduce travel costs
Without a strategy, corporate travel expenses can grow out of control. Separate GBTA research found that corporate travel spend will grow 5.2 percent by the end of 2017 and will continue the growth in 2018 to 6.1 percent because of increasing costs for rental car and lodging bookings. That's why travel managers ought to ensure that trips support the company's mission to stick with its budget.
The solution: Contract optimization
To keep costs down and support corporate travel needs, travel managers must get the most bang for their buck from their travel vendors and partners. A travel management solution that provides contract optimization features can be of particular benefit here, as it will enable travel managers to continually evaluate air, car and hotel contracts, better manage multiple partnerships and maximize contract advantages for their companies. Better yet, partnering with a travel management solution provider with a strategic sourcing team of industry experts will take the burden off the travel manager's shoulders and ultimately save the company time and money.
Selecting a travel solution that offers features for travel analytics, risk management and contract optimization will put your organization in the best position to meet the needs of the traveler as well as the travel manager. To learn more about how to select the best travel management solution for your organization, contact the experts at Direct Travel today.