Since COVID-19, the amount of remote and hybrid work has increased, and many workers are travelling on the go. Similarly, many businesses that have their teams in-house are looking for the safest and most streamlined ways for their employees to travel.
If employees don't travel well, their performance could be affected significantly. Whether they have a business meeting, a pitch, a proposal, or just working on the go, it's more important than ever for business travel to be conducted efficiently and properly.
Corporates are not willing to take risks when it comes to travel; they want everything outlined and managed from the initial booking. Keep reading to know why travel management is important, how it can benefit companies, and how to create a travel management strategy.
Travel management explained
In the travel industry, travel management is a specific niche which revolves around arranging corporate travel. This form of management is conducted by a person or a business tracking the travel expenses made by a corporation and formulating a detailed strategy around them.
The whole purpose of travel management is to help handle business travel plans without any glitches, optimising the way they travel. The ultimate goal is to ensure that travel is handled well with little negative impact on the things that matter for a business, like productivity or finances.
What are the benefits of travel management to a business?
The main advantage of travel management for a corporation is that it can significantly reduce travel expenditure. It typically reduces costs associated with airline tickets, train tickets, property bookings and travel insurance. Part of the reason for this is when working with a travel management company, corporates gain access to their extensive range of industry contacts, who negotiate on your behalf.
Travel management also helps companies take back time, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business. Often corporates get assigned a specific team or manager who takes on the responsibility of planning and curating their trips through a strategy. Because of this, employees can focus on their general tasks in the company. Moreover, time is often saved later as companies who contribute to updating their travel expenses and suggest changes can help make travel management more efficient.
What type of travel management can a business have?
If you're a corporate and thinking about saving money and time, you can choose two types of travel management. These types of travel management are either in-house or outsourced to a corporate travel agency. Regardless of your choice, both types of travel management have pros and cons.
In-house travel management
If you want to save a bit of money, you can leave your travel management to be arranged within your company. The in-house aspect of this ensures that only your company is responsible for creating a relevant travel strategy to your business. As a corporate, you can delegate this responsibility to an employee who can organise travel plans.
The main benefit for your business is that you take ownership of the strategy, and you can review the work of your in-house travel manager and refine it quickly. Also, you can save a fair bit of money as you don't have to pay a subscription or commission fee to an outside travel management company. Conversely, the main downside of this is that you have to take time to train an existing team or member of staff or take time to advertise the role for your business. Depending on the nature of your work, this time may be better spent elsewhere.
External travel management
The other option you have when arranging travel plans is outsourcing the role and letting a corporate travel management company take it on. When hiring these companies, you don't hire them directly; often, they will charge a subscription or request a specific commission from bookings. Many businesses choose to use external companies, as it frees up time from their employees and increases productivity. Plus, as these companies are specialists in this industry, your chance of getting cheaper travel deals increases. The main downside is that it can be difficult to review or evaluate their work; therefore, a large amount of trust is required.
What is the typical role of a travel agent?
If you choose to hire a travel management company or take the responsibilities on in-house, you must know more about the roles involved. Typically a travel agent does the following:
A travel manager plans all travel related tasks from flights, trains, hotel bookings, private transport, chauffeurs, meeting rooms and more. They cover everything and ensure the bookings are made for the best price, in line with the travel dates required. A travel manager also looks at the best times to travel, the right locations and add ons, which may help a company's productivity. Their in-depth knowledge of the travel industry allows them to plan swiftly.
A travel manager saves money for a corporate as they negotiate the best price for every aspect of travel. Due to extensive industry experience, they often have a large database of contacts that they utilise to help get unique deals. In this aspect, travel management companies do this better than in-house staff, as it takes experience and familiarity to get special rates.
A travel manager considers all the relevant travel arrangements for the accommodation preferences of a corporate. They factor in their budget, location, room preferences, number of days, guests and needs. Once factored in, they find the most suitable options, assess them and then select the best one based on the corporate's budget.
A travel manager optimises and streamlines transport plans by booking all the vehicles and flights in advance. Their capabilities range from booking flights, rental cars, organising airport transfers, purchasing train tickets and getting discounted deals.
Plans for meetings and events
As most corporates undergo meetings while away from their headquarters, travel managers book meeting rooms and event spaces for them. They're experts in planning to ensure everything from the logistics, and room facilities to the event staff like security are organised and arranged before reaching there.
Manages travel expenses
Lastly, a travel manager handles the expenses and simplifies them, allowing you to understand them and know how you can cut back on costs in the future. Typically, they consolidate all the travel information into reports, making analysis and vital business decisions easier.
How to cut back on travel expenses
If you want to manage your travel in-house and looking for ways to cut back on costs, you can try doing the following:
Use smart booking tools
If you lack a travel network, you can always count on smart bucking tools to save money. These tools can cover everything from self-booking, invoicing, reporting of travel spending, and inventory creation.
Dedicate travel support team
To save your employee's productivity, you might want to assign some members of your company the role of travel support. That way, if anything happens, such as flight cancellation or an accident, you have someone on standby ready to handle any incident that arises for your employee.
Have policies and workflows in place
If you really want to save time when managing travel, you should aim to automate your travel policy. When creating a travel policy, you should factor in the financial needs of certain departments, travellers and more.
Try and consider for each person or department the maximum cost of airfare, the maximum cost of accommodation per night, the minimum amount of days to be booked, hotel rating and flight class. Incorporating these into your travel policy will help save your administration time when booking transport, accommodation and more.
You might also want to consider approval workflows to help your administration. For instance, you may want to allocate certain permissions to staff members, i.e. it may be mandatory to have approval for any trip; some might only need partial approval and others have no approval before booking. Doing this can save you valuable time and review potential costs before going ahead with business travel.
Organise your travel data
Add labels and split up your travel bookings according to different categories when organising your travels. Doing this will allow you to file your reports at a quicker rate and help with smoother budgeting decisions.
Are there benefits to a travel company using travel management?
If you're based in the travel industry, you can reap the benefits of travel management by using the Global Distribution System (GDS System). This system allows you to gain access to flights, bookings, car rentals, corporate stays and more for great rates. The GDS also provides real-time insights into the availability of properties and travel-related services.
TrustedStays allow business travel agents, and businesses access the GDS system. Making it easier to book business travel, and get the best deals whilst also maintaining accredited serviced apartments & homes.
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