Travel Leaders Corporate Whitepaper Finds Changing Role for Travel Managers
Post-pandemic, business travel trends bring new challenges, renewed call to justify the expense
NEW YORK (January 12, 2023) – Business travel is steadily returning to its pre-pandemic levels but with some major changes that will have a big impact on the role of travel managers, according to a new whitepaper from consultant Festive Road that was commissioned by Travel Leaders Corporate.
Despite many challenges, there is a great deal of optimism about the future of business travel and the value it provides. At Travel Leaders Corporate, we remain ready to assist companies with a wide range of solutions for their business travel needs.
– Mike Boult, President, Travel Leaders Corporate
A recent survey of travel managers by the Global Business Travel Association shows that 83 percent of companies allow domestic travel and 62 percent allow international travel. But companies are proceeding cautiously, taking into account key considerations such as sustainability, new ways of working, changing appetites for travel and price increases.
That shifting focus means corporate travel managers will face new challenges over the next year, with heightened scrutiny of every trip to ensure it will provide a return on investment, while at the same time taking care of the needs of employees when they’re on the road. As a result, the whitepaper concludes, travel managers must develop new ways of measuring the impact of business trips.
“Travel programs need to be agile and responsive to these changes,” according to the Festive Road report. “But they also offer a unique opportunity to raise the perception of the value of travel.”
The issues facing businesses and travel managers include determining how remote-work policies influence travel expenses. As a result of a revised boardroom agenda, sustainability is becoming a core priority when planning business trips. Travel managers are also increasingly involved in a range of social and governance initiatives.
At the same time, 33 percent of travel managers say that industry staffing shortages are creating a significant impact on their travel programs. Airline punctuality in North America has dropped from 80 percent before the pandemic to 68 percent in June 2022. When it comes to hotels, hundreds of thousands of workers have left the industry, leading many to scale back amenities despite the surge in demand.
Business travelers have changed their routines, too. They’re booking trips closer to the departure date, making greater use of rental cars and switching to digital payments and mobile wallets. They’re also booking fewer but longer business trips, squeezing in more meetings or sometimes tacking on leisure
travel. In addition, after two years of close to minimal travel, many employees have forgotten the basics of “how to travel.”
In addition, C-suite leaders are placing a top priority on achieving successful outcomes from business travel. One way to do that, the whitepaper suggests, is by creating an “ROI scorecard” with metrics such as the spend and volume of travel by trip objective, measuring a trip’s carbon footprint, and a success rating by the traveler post-trip to determine whether it helped or hindered the reason for the trip. Once the scorecard is built, it can help prompt conversation about how the travel program is contributing to the organization.
“We commissioned this whitepaper to explore the ways in which business travel has changed during the pandemic, how this new climate will affect the work of corporate travel managers and to explore new opportunities,” said Mike Boult, President, Travel Leaders Corporate, a full-service travel management company. “Despite many challenges, there is a great deal of optimism about the future of business travel and the value it provides. At Travel Leaders Corporate, we remain ready to assist companies with a wide range of solutions for their business travel needs.”
As part of the whitepaper, travel managers shared their views on these new priorities and initiatives in focus groups held by Travel Leaders Corporate and with independent moderation by Festive Road in mid-2022.
Among their top objectives:
· Ensure that travel takes place only when necessary, and is linked to balanced corporate objectives around people, profit and planet.
· Enable travelers to add personal time to any business trip and/or have family accompany them.
· Develop cross-company partnerships to ensure that the travel program meets the strategic needs of the business.
· Expand the use of virtual payments for convenience and reporting data and reduce the burden on employees using personal forms of payment.
· Update the T&E policy to cater to the needs of hybrid or remote employees.
· Adjust the sourcing strategy across airline, accommodation and ground transport to fit the new size and shape of the travel program.
· Support employees with up-to-date guidance on how to travel effectively given the changes due to the pandemic.
· Collaborate with the organization’s sustainability officer and consider setting carbon budgets for teams or travelers.
· Create better visibility for the ways in which travel contributes to the business achieving its objectives and purpose.
· Address the health and wellbeing needs of the traveler as part of the company’s duty of care obligation.
· Update the travel policy and processes to cater to the needs of all travelers equally and equitably.
· Re-establish online booking as the preferred method for domestic trips and optimize the user experience, including a more streamlined interface.
For more information or to take advantage of Travel Leaders Corporate’s personalized service and cutting-edge corporate business travel solutions that provide a complete travel enrichment experience, email email@example.com or call 844.485.2677.
About Travel Leaders Corporate
Travel Leaders Corporate is an innovative business travel solutions firm with a focus on customized Travel Fulfillment, Meetings Management and Data & Analytics. Travel Leaders Corporate, founded in 2008, is born out of the digital age and shaped around the three technology trends impacting every
industry: mobile, data, and the cloud. This enables Travel Leaders Corporate to offer a flexible suite of services customized to a client’s needs. Travel Leaders Corporate is part of Internova Travel Group, which is the highest-ranking American corporate travel management company, according to Business Travel News.
About Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 100,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.