Lately the role of a travel manager has been feeling more like a communications coordinator. Between policy changes, travel restrictions, duty of care and technology updates, there have been many changes that you need to communicate to your travelers. Especially now in the COVID-19 travel environment, your travelers and your organization want information more than ever, but with the amount of information at your fingertips you want to make sure you get them the right information.
As a travel manager, you hold valuable information that your organization needs to return to travel and get back to business. Think about it this way, if your organization is in manufacturing, perhaps your operations team is itching to get out and monitor the progress of their divisions across the country, but are making inaccurate assumptions on travel restrictions. Or, if HR is working on return to work policies, duty of care initiatives might be key in assessing liability and helping set organizational guidelines. Your teams might not necessarily know the information that your travel program offers to an individual, but YOU do.
Maybe your accounting and financial teams are working hard to find extra savings in the aftermath of COVID-19, and you are using the Fox waivers and unused tickets technology that has increased savings and refunds. They don’t know that there might be funds out there, but YOU DO! What about those travelers that need to get back out on the road? They might be anxious about traveling again, but they don’t know all the precautions and safety measures you have put in place on the back end. Share that information with them, get their support and give them that confidence they need.
As a travel manager, you can work with your travel management company (TMC) to gain valuable knowledge and communication tools to share with your travelers. Here are five questions to get you started on a great communication plan:
What’s your Communication Goal?
Hopefully, we have given some examples above about why it’s important for all travel managers to communicate within their organization. It’s important to ask yourself what this looks like for your own situation. What are your reasons for communicating? Once you understand what you have to offer, it will be much easier to answer the rest of the questions.
What are your Means of Communication?
Maybe it’s an email? Maybe a weekly leadership update? Or maybe you have an internal intranet site? Just like in travel, you have to pick the best method to deliver your message. This is a great time to get in contact with your TMC to ask them what tools they might have to help you connect with travelers or other stakeholders at your organization.
How can you get the Message out?
Think about the people who you are trying to connect with and how they like to receive information. Maybe they like a lot of details and information, so a formal technical communication style is the way to go. If you have a fast-moving crowd, maybe a short informal video would get the engagement you are looking for. Get creative and tailor your message to your audience, you will be surprised to find more people read your messages when it’s presented in a way that works for them.
When do you Communicate?
We all know that sending out an email at 4 p.m. on a Friday probably will not be looked at until early Monday morning, if at all. Think about this when you plan to send your communication. Do the people you want to connect with take meetings on a particular day of the week? Perhaps catch them on a day or at a time when you know they will be at their computer so your message does not get lost.
Is it Working?
Always, always, always monitor and adjust. Sometimes things that worked one time will not work as well the second time. Or something that was really engaging a few months ago might not be as interesting anymore. Never let your communication get stale, keep your organization and travelers engaged and wanting more.
Communication is more important now than ever. Be proactive with your communication plan and drive your value to your organization. The Fox World Travel team is always here to provide tools and education to help you brainstorm creative ways to connect and give insight on successful methods of communication.
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