A corporate travel manager is an essential part of the business if you regularly have to travel for client meetings, team-building exercises or conferences. The role of a corporate travel manager is to make sure that everything involved in organising, booking, and ensuring the trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Corporate travel managers have several responsibilities, but not many people understand the full extent of the job. Let’s take a look at exactly what a corporate travel manager entails.
What is a corporate travel manager?
Having the role of corporate travel manager is somewhat different to just booking fun activities for employees to do on a work trip. There is a lot of research and work involved in putting a corporate travel itinerary together. The role includes making sure all logistics surrounding the corporate trip are sorted out, including flights, train journeys, taxi services, and hotel bookings.
Further to this, the corporate travel manager is also in charge of the travel budget and will have to report projected costs, tracked expenses, and corporate credit card spending to the finance department. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main responsibilities of their role.
Responsibilities of a corporate travel manager
Whether you’re thinking of hiring a corporate travel manager or considering applying for a job as one, it’s important to know exactly what to expect from the role. There’s a lot more to the job than most people think. Here’s what you can expect the responsibilities of a corporate travel manager to be.
Implementing and adhering to corporate travel policy
Corporate travel managers are in charge of the company’s corporate policy and making sure it is in line with local regulations as well as making sure the policy is adhered to while travelling and while booking travel. This part of the role is more than putting together a set of rules employees must follow.
Travel managers also need to make sure they keep the policies updated by conducting market research on common practices and setting realistic margins within the policy. They are also responsible for making sure employees adhere to the company’s travel policy, therefore often have to liaise with HR and higher-up managerial departments.
Arranging and overseeing travel itineraries
Possibly one of the more fun aspects of the job is putting together the itinerary for employees to follow. This document should include more than just the activities to be done whilst on the trip. It also has to include any flights, transport, hotel bookings and times at which everything is to take place.
The travel itinerary should also include meal plans and times. If employees are expected to arrange their own lunch, for example, this should be made clear on the travel itinerary. Further to make sure all the information about the trip is on the itinerary, the corporate travel manager should also make sure the format of the document is as comprehensive as possible to avoid any confusion. It is also the travel manager’s responsibility to make sure the group sticks to the itinerary.
Creating a monthly travel budget
As a corporate travel manager, you will have to come up with a monthly travel budget which should contain all the costs and expenses associated with corporate travel. This does not only mean you have to budget for large corporate trips but should also take small-scale business travel into consideration. For example, if it’s in the corporate travel policy that petrol is covered should an employee have to drive over 40km for business purposes, the funds for this should be allocated to the monthly travel budget. Managers will also have to leave margins in the budget for unexpected expenses such as rental car breakdown or rebooking for flight cancellations.
Keeping track of all travel expenses
One of the hardest things to do as a travel manager is to keep track of all the company’s travel outgoings and make sure they are accurately reconciled with the finance department. Keeping track of expenses allows travel managers and corporate finance to ensure the budget has been allocated accurately and to make sure that the company is not spending too much on travel. This is particularly tricky when you need to report spending on trips as it may require another member of the team to report back to the travel manager.
Communicating travel criteria and itinerary to everyone travelling
Effective communication is a key quality any travel manager should have. It’s their responsibility to ensure that those travelling understand where they need to be and when they need to be there. All team members should be absolutely clear on what the plans on a specific day are, and they need to have access to a document, contact details, and emergency procedures at all times. This is also the responsibility of a travel manager.
Building and maintaining relationships with travel service providers
Corporate travel managers may seem like they spend a lot of time making bookings and putting together schedules, but the role is just as personally involved as some others are in a company. Often travel managers will need to be in touch with visa offices, ticket offices, and even travel agents to assist in making travel arrangements. For this reason, it’s vital that these business relationships are made and maintained, and it is the responsibility of the travel manager to do this.
Why is a corporate travel manager important?
Corporate travel managers play a vital role in any business as they make sure all corporate travel relations are dealt with and professionally managed. They also act as someone that anyone travelling or wanting to book travel can go-to to consult on budget and viability.
Company policy is also an important part of running a business, so having a corporate travel manager create, update and implement a travel policy will prove to be a valuable part of this business.
When travelling for business, it’s easy for employees to take advantage of corporate credit cards and expensing certain spendings. A corporate travel manager will make sure all travel spending will add value to the company and remain within budget.
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