With globalization and mobility, come modern professions to go with the rapidly growing trends. And as businesses and markets expand, corporate travel is becoming more and more common. Only a few years ago did we start hearing the term Travel Manager since this role was often covered by the administrative staff. However, the latter usually do not have the training or the expertise necessary to properly manage corporate travel. In the last article of our Travel series, we discover what the travel manager’s job description is and what their responsibilities and goals are?
What is a Travel Manager?
As the name indicates, a travel manager (TM) is responsible for all aspects of business travel within a corporation. They assist in creating a company’s T&E policy, establishing and maintaining relationships with travel agencies, and managing T&E expenses. The TM’s job does not end once employees have departed on their business trips; in fact, post-trip, the TM analyzes data and uses it to streamline future trips. A set of skills that include excellent interpersonal and negotiating skills as well as knowledge in data management are also needed to excel as a travel manager.
Different kinds of travel managers:
In most cases, the internal travel manager is part of the HR or the finance teams and managing corporate travel is among their different responsibilities. Due to cost restrictions and low-volume business trips, the internal TM is often found in startups or SMEs.
An external travel manager can work in-house or remotely and is more specialized in corporate travel and better connected in the industry. These travel managers can be freelancers or a part of a corporate travel management company (TMC), an entity that provides solutions for the travel needs of businesses.
What are the main responsibilities of a travel manager?
Corporate travel policy
One of the main roles of travel managers is to manage the entire T&E activity of the company. They are the key contact internally, as well as with suppliers for all matters relating to business travel of employees or guests. They also manage the budget and the services needed during travel (travel agencies, partner hotels, air and rail ticketing, car rental agencies, travel management tools, etc.)
Travel managers also encourage employees to follow the company’s travel policy by organizing and leading internal meetings and conducting training to encourage the implementation of best practices and compliance with the established rules.
In certain companies, travel managers are the ones responsible for booking all the travel necessities of employees, while other companies leave this up to the employees themselves. Travel necessities are not exclusive to transport and accommodation but also include travel insurance, airport transfers, etc.
Travel managers always book trips in accordance with the T&E policy that they have created; this ensures the company managers that they are getting the best deals.
Managing T&E expenses
Travel managers are required to set acceptable spending limits for employee trips and to put a cap on company credit cards in order to gain better control over business travel expenditure.
It goes without saying that employees should have a certain degree of freedom, and so a TM with enough knowledge and resources is responsible for finding a balance between what’s cost-efficient and employee freedom while taking into account the variation of costs of living from one destination to another.
As mentioned above, the travel manager’s job does not end when the employees leave on their business trips. It is very important to analyze the trips made, to extract trends, and to make informed decisions about employee spending going forward.
This financial data is also very important when it comes to setting company KPIs and analyzing the profitability of business trips. Are the expenses incurred compensated by the gains of every trip?
Travel managers are required to keep up with the new trends in the world of business travel and to quickly adapt. Tools such as Expensya help travel managers set up rules, manage business trips, and extract relevant data easily and quickly.
Why is the travel manager important?
Whether internal or external, having a travel manager within your company establishes control of your business travel expenditures. Unmanaged and uncontrolled travel can lead to unexpected costs that could have been easily reduced had the company resorted to a travel manager.
An expense reporting solution like Expensya makes travel easier for employees and for travel managers by automating the entire expensing process and by customizing the solution to your company’s travel policy rules. Try Expensya for free for 30 days, and you will be convinced it is your best friend during business trips.