The complete guide to corporate travel planning


Corporate travel planner: why do you need one

A corporate travel planner—also referred to as a corporate travel manager or corporate trip planner—is responsible for every aspect of business travel. They play a valuable role within the business, and can end up saving a lot on travel costs and other business travel-related expenses.In this article, you’ll learn all the benefits that come with from a dedicated role, and why it's a necessary role to fill within your business. We’ll explore the ins and outs of what a business travel planner does as well as options on employing a travel planner in-house or outsourcing this valuable resource.

What is a corporate travel planner?

A corporate travel planner is in charge of all company travel for employees. From securing accommodation and venue spaces, to organizing budgets and travel compliance, to making restaurant bookings, or booking various types of transport—they’re responsible for every stage of the trip.

What does a corporate travel planner do?

There are many tasks that a corporate travel planner will need to do. These are some of the typical duties you’d expect to find in travel planner job descriptions:
  • Handles credit card schemes and charges
  • Handles and reimbursements
  • Looks after all overseas travel arrangements and logistics
  • Manages relationships with travel vendors and use of travel agencies
  • Provides all travel documents for insurance and any regulations in place
  • Develops relevant and programs for corporate travel
  • Develops an for both international travel and domestic travel
Prior to having a corporate travel planner, the role of a would usually fall into the hands of an office manager or someone that operates within the HR department. However, due to an ever-increasing rate of business travel, there’s more need for a dedicated and exclusive role for this task.
As well as having great communication skills, ideally, the individual needs quite a few years of experience within the travel industry. This experience is essential when it comes to acquiring travel, making rapid decisions, and handling crises.
With , there’s no doubt the demand for this role will continue to grow.
So, we know you need a travel planner. Now’s the time to decide how and where you hire that person—or team of them.

What makes a good corporate travel planner?

As you can tell, a competent corporate travel planner must be a multitasking pro, but there are certain other qualities that make a great trip planner:
  • Excellent communication: a corporate travel planner will be the point of contact between employees and the respective airlines, hotels, and more. Keeping on top of correspondence and circulating relevant information is key to a job well done.
  • Strategic thinkers: planning business trips is often like a game of Tetris, fitting various blocks together until you reach a coherent itinerary. Taking into account all the different demands can be challenging, and you’ll need a strategic mind to help solve some puzzles along the way.
  • Being adaptable: corporate travel can be subject to last-minute changes, so business travel planners must always expect the unexpected, and be prepared to make last-minute modifications.
  • Respecting privacy: a corporate travel planner has access to a vast amount of your company’s and your employees’ private data, so finding someone trustworthy is essential (as well as the latest security tools to provide an extra layer of confidence).
  • Attention to detail: when is on the cards, it’s the little things that go a long way. A business travel planner has the power to make or break a trip with small, personalized perks your executive travelers will love.

Hiring a corporate travel planner in-house vs. via agency

You can choose to hire a travel planner internally to , or you could find an agency to supply the role for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Ready to explore a few?

The pros of in-house corporate travel planners

  • With an in-house travel planner, you’ll likely have access to the role more so than an agency. Perhaps they’re sitting in the same office, or on the other end of a Slack message, either way, your business is their only priority.
  • This person has been specifically selected for the role: the selected individual is likely to be more trusted as a result
  • Having someone in-house can make generating and processing travel reports easier, as this person is traditionally more in line with the company goals and has access to company data
  • An in-house travel manager can work closely with your finance team to ensure everyone’s keeping within the travel budget, finding the best rates for their bookings, and reporting to their line managers accordingly
  • An in-house business travel planner will likely utilize that can assist with many of the daily tasks they have, and automate the more mundane ones, or those prone to human error

The cons of in-house corporate travel planners:

  • With an agency planner, you only pay for the hours you need them for—without the financial commitment of hiring them full-time
  • Expertise is crucial, and it can be near impossible to meet the wider resources and collective know-how of an agency with one individual
  • Having one travel planner may not be scalable: for example, if your business suddenly has a great demand for travel bookings, one person will likely not be able to handle the workload

How TravelPerk makes tracking travel spend simple

Tools like TravelPerk are ideal for corporate travel planners. Plus. the only way to truly stay on top of your business travel budget, is with access to real-time reporting. With TravelPerk's sophisticated reporting tools you can break costs down by employee, team, travel type, average trip cost, recoverable VAT, and more.
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The pros of agency corporate travel planners:

  • Travel management companies (TMCs) offer guaranteed travel expertise and comprehensive services to different types of companies
  • Agencies provide access to multiple corporate trip planners and efficient booking systems—you’ll also get access to their toolkit for booking flights, acquiring rental cars and much more
  • An agency can help develop a that suits your business and its budget—optimizing your cost savings and tracking patterns in employee travel to ensure compliance
  • Another bonus of outsourcing a is that you’re not dependent on one individual. There are fewer chances of your team being stranded if something goes wrong and they’re in an out-of-office hours timezone.

The cons of agency corporate travel planners:

  • Outsourcing may complicate team integration and accessibility
  • TMCs may have limited flight and accommodation options due to pre-established partnerships
  • Hourly billing by TMCs can lead to higher costs for much-needed and often last-minute problem-solving compared to in-house roles
By now, you should have a clearer understanding of whether an in-house travel planner or an agency solution is the best fit for your business.
Ready to explore the top tools every travel planner needs in their stack? Read on.

Essential tools for corporate travel planners

Nowadays, most corporate travel planners will utilize various tools to stay on top of everything—regardless of whether they’re in-house or working in an agency. is being used across the board.

Here’s a list of the most popular tools for corporate travel right now:

  • TravelPerk: the all-in-one travel management platform that has become a go-to for many companies trying to streamline their business travel. The platform allows corporate travelers to book travel for themselves, or others, while staying within company . With a large inventory, , and , it’s achoice that’s taking flight with many.
  • Payhawk: business trips often require an accompanying expense management software in order to keep track of company spending. Payhawk is a leading solution, enabling businesses to automate manual processes, track company cards, and manage invoices through a single app—and
  • Tripkicks: an add-on providing insights and alerts for trips, Tripkicks is a simple but essential tool to improve the business travel experience. Given the possibility for last-minute changes, this software enables travelers to stay on top of their journeys by providing travel guides, listing entry requirements, updating on cancellations, and more.
  • Goodwings: a platform facilitating responsible travel through carbon offsetting and calculation of travel emissions, Goodwings is an increasingly popular option for companies with a climate conscience. Goodwings provides various services to make business travel that much more sustainable.

A corporate travel planner is essential for your business

Finding a solution for a corporate travel planner is not just about the cost savings, but the efficiency with which your corporate travel is handled.
Being able to get multiple staff to various locations on time, finding the cheapest flights, rail, or car transfers, having the right protocols and policies in place for emergencies are all tasks that can be handled by an efficient travel planner or TMC.
It’s time to weigh up the pros and cons above and make a decision based on your specific company requirements.
If you need any advice along the way, .
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