The last year has made the term “travel management” a bit of an oxymoron. Travel managers likely feel as if travel—or the virus—is managing them rather than the other way around. One way to get through the noise and determine the proper areas of focus for your travel program is through understanding the needs of your travelers.
For Gena Miller, Indirect Commodity Manager at Oshkosh Corporation, a key ingredient to her organization providing COVID- 19 travel information for essential travelers was insights gained through a traveler sentiment survey.
“I did a lot of research, talked with other travel managers and attended webinars to learn what business travelers were feeling and their comfort with travel, but I really needed to understand the questions and concerns of our travelers,” says Miller.
To begin the journey in understanding COVID-19 era needs of travelers at Oshkosh Corporation, Miller implemented a traveler sentiment survey offered by Fox World Travel. Through the survey, she learned that there was a higher level of comfort with travel than she anticipated, but there was uncertainty around all the information needed to make the right decision to travel. “There was, and still is, so much information out there from us as an organization and from outside sources,” says Miller. “Our teams needed guidance and clear direction from us to support their travel decisions.”
In some ways, the results weren’t surprising and the subsequent action items fit into Oshkosh Corporation’s People First culture. “Part of our People First culture is about caring for our team members and providing support when they face decisions like this,” says Miller. “We learned that all the COVID-19 information and requirements our teams were receiving actually caused some stress about travel and we needed to provide more information and education to support our team members.”
Using these learnings and insights, Miller and her Travel Council Team developed COVID-19 Travel Guidelines so that travelers at Oshkosh Corporation could feel confident they were doing the right thing for themselves and the Company.
The Council will continue to update and distribute guidelines as the COVID-19 travel landscape changes. “Our travelers told us what they needed to be confident in travel again,” says Miller. “We gave them the information, education and guidance to help them feel supported by our organization.”
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