Hiring the right corporate travel manager for your company
Corporate Travel Managers are becoming more commonplace within organizations. Previously, individuals with such skillsets were more often found in travel management companies (TMCs) or travel agencies that outsourced their services. As the industry continues to change, companies are looking to hire their own travel managers who can offer more specialized and tailor-made business travel services. A job in corporate travel management is a highly strategic one as a company’s business travel and travel expenses account for some of the largest chunks of the budget.
A corporate travel manager’s job description covers all aspects of business travel including:
- Creating and implementing a company’s corporate travel policy
- Overseeing travel costs and expenses and managing the travel budget
- Keeping immaculate expense reports and data in order to finetune the travel policy to ensure better business trip experiences while discovering and implementing cost-saving measures.
- Liaising with travel agents, travel consultants, and service providers when making travel arrangements
- Negotiating and sourcing the best deals and pricing for the company through the relationships mentioned above
- Also creating and managing business travel management plans that cover crises, security, and risk management. This includes monitoring staff while they’re on their business trips.
Thanks to new travel management solutions like TravelPerk, an all-in-one platform that streamlines business travel arrangements processes, liaising and negotiating with vendors has become a thing of the past for most managers. Thanks to these solutions, these tasks have now become automated and highly efficient.
Why should you consider hiring a corporate travel manager?
Businesses have long used the services of travel management companies (TMCs) to handle their corporate travel needs, normally with an internal project manager to act as the liaison. Thanks to the emergence of a new breed of TMCs such as TravelPerk, the game has changed. A subscription to a TravelPerk plan gives organizations full control over their business travel processes and hiring an in-house corporate travel manager ensures that they enjoy the perks of such plans to their full potential.
By streamlining your booking processes and travel planning, a travel manager will help you cut costs on your company’s travel spend and give you more control over your budget.
They also work towards creating a better travel experience for your employees which ultimately ensures that business trips are more productive. They act as the main point of contact between the company and the business travelers giving both parties peace of mind and security.
Currently, all of these jobs might fall under the remit of an office manager within your company. Hiring a full-time travel manager could be a real game-changer. With years of experience and industry expertise, a travel manager will not only unburden these tasks from staff members who might not be qualified to do them but will also ensure cheaper, more enjoyable, and all-around better corporate travel.
What should you look for when hiring a corporate travel manager?
If this is the first time you’re looking to post a vacancy for a travel manager job within your company, you might be unsure where to start from. This is why we’ve prepared a quick checklist of five things to look out for when drafting up your job postings and scanning LinkedIn profiles:
1. In-depth understanding of the travel industry
The role of travel manager is not an entry-level one. Your potential travel manager needs to know the travel industry intimately. This means understanding how to get the best deals, the economics of the industry, and be up-to-date with industry trends, policies, and best practices. They could have previous experience as travel managers or within specific sectors like service providers or travel agencies.
2. A great communicator and collaborator
Communication is an integral part of a travel manager’s job. Before the emergence of online booking tools, travel managers invested time and energy into building good relationships with local and international travel service providers. This included negotiating the best deals with airlines and hotels or searching for the best corporate travel programs for the company. Good travel managers who have remained up-to-date with the latest technology available for the industry spend less time doing this now.
On the other hand, a travel manager is in constant communication with internal staff in assisting with travel needs as well as communicating and reinforcing the internal travel policy. The type and tone of communication will vary depending on the seniority level of the staff members.
A travel manager is bound by a duty of care meaning that they have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their team members when traveling and this must be central to how they communicate and carry out their job.
3. An analytical and strategic mindset
Data is key in corporate travel management and this goes beyond just understanding the figures on a spreadsheet or report. A travel manager needs to be able to use that data in order to constantly fine-tune the company’s travel policies and practices, particularly considering the size of most companies’ travel budgets and the importance of successful business trips to an organization’s long-term goals. This includes constantly looking out for new ways to streamline administrative processes of business travel, saving the company time and money.
4. Great organizational skills
When multiple staff members are booking and planning their trips, reconciling their expenses, or are off on the trips at the same time, a travel manager needs to be on top of it all. They must have systems in place to have a real-time overview of all of this and this often means being open to using the latest technology solutions out there aimed at making this possible. A good travel manager must be an extremely well-organized and proactive planner.
5. The right qualifications
A travel manager’s experience undoubtedly comes from their time in the field, particularly in a supervisory role. That said, it’s important to make sure your candidates possess the right qualifications, in other words, a bachelor’s degree in tourism, travel, or hospitality. Candidates who have further certification in travel or hospitality are of particular value.
We asked Natalie Marcantonio, Office Manager at Quadmark what skills are generally valued in a corporate travel manager. Here's what she said:
"Being organized and pragmatic has helped me. Employees don't always have the time to organize their own travel, or due to being busy and stressed can often make mistakes in the booking process. I make sure that everyone within the company knows I'm approachable and willing to help them with their travel requirements. I also think it's really valuable to keep people updated with changes and confident to use all the elements available to them within the platform." (Natalie Marcantonio, Office Manager, Quadmark)