In recent years, the role of corporate travel managers has shifted from that of gatekeepers of corporate travel policy to enablers of a positive and productive experience for business travelers. Now, especially as travel managers are contemplating their travelers’ return to the road in a travel environment that is changing daily, it is essential that travel management companies (TMCs) are in-tune with what their clients are talking about now.
While some organizations have fallen, others have thrived. Those TMCs who are proactively adapting to these changes and adapting to client needs will be the ones who emerge from COVID-19 strong.
The questions you have are valid. The needs of your organization and travelers have changed substantially over the past year. To better share what are common questions and topics for travel managers today, we talked to Fox World Travel’s global sales team to better understand how the needs of travel managers are changing. Here are some of the trends they identified:
Health & Safety
It’s no surprise that this topic leads the pack of new concerns for travel managers. Duty of care and risk management tools have always been in the travel manager’s toolkit, but functionality and ensuring wholistic processes of those tools for both client and TMC use has become a necessity. Working with security and HR teams on employee safety and liability has made your role as a travel manager more important than ever.
Additionally, you may need to start considering vaccination policies for your organization’s travelers as well as the vaccination and safety policies of the companies you are going to visit.
It’s all about the traveler:
“Continuing to trend in the business travel world is the focus on the traveler journey, travel risk management, ensuring traveler wellbeing and customized recommendations based on company’s travel policy,” said Vivian Maxwell-Smith, Global Sales Director.
Fox’s entire business philosophy focuses on advocating for the traveler journey. We recognize that your business travelers are the frontline of your travel program and help your business stay in action. Supporting them every step of the way continues to be at the forefront of travel manager’s minds, especially since they are the ones that will feel the impact of the new COVID-era of travel.
Cost Benefit Analysis:
Depending on your organization and industry, the economy has been an emotional rollercoaster for the past year.
“We see companies questioning their travel budgets as business travel is more highly scrutinized,” said Fox Global Sales Director Melisa Driesbach. “Companies are asking, ‘Is it necessary?’ Especially with much of the world going virtual, executives and accounting teams are trying to understand how to return to travel.”
Trying to get a full picture of the cost/benefit assessment of sending employees on the road has become a huge priority, so capturing any off-channel bookings and ancillary spend such as meals is at the forefront of travel managers’ minds. New technologies and seamless reporting is now one of the top priorities for organizations to capture and understand the uncaptured travel spend so they can make the best, most informed decisions.
Evaluation and Reflection:
Having the right partner to help you navigate times of uncertainty is key. With changes in the industry, many travel managers are evaluating their current TMC partner or find themselves in a situation where their current partner has closed their doors.
Tifani Jones, Director of Global Development and sales operations at Fox, has seen this as a larger trend.
“There has been an uptick in organizations utilizing the services of consultants to evaluate their current travel program and to help shepherd them through the RFP process,” Jones said.
Travel managers and their organizations need more flexibility and customization in their travel programs, because each company is handling their new travel needs differently. They are recognizing the need for a partner that understands that and can deliver that personalization.
Fox is here to help guide you through these times of change. We live by our mantra of “Finding A Way” and with every new challenge and regulation updates, our team is on standby to ensure you have the support and tools you need to be successful in bringing your organization back to travel.
Don’t navigate the new normal alone, contact us or call 888.369.8785 for more information about how we can support your business travel needs.
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