7 Things Every Corporate Travel Manager Should Know In 2021

Category: How-tos

With 2021 coming to an end, it seems that our world is likely to witness light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Despite the COVID-19 imposed travel restrictions, the corporate travel industry enjoys a rich history of being a resilient industry. It is likely to bounce back with greater force in 2021 but with some changes.

Corporate travel managers need to take a moment now and consider what these changes might be and what they would mean for corporate travelers and travel management companies.

While travel management wouldn’t be the same as before COVID-19 rocked our world, there would be drastic changes right from the way a corporate ticket gets booked to a professional reaching their final destination.

To manage the new reality, organizations need to prepare beforehand to make corporate travel smooth, hassle-free and encourage organizations to arrange corporate travel programs like before.

In this article, we discuss a few things to keep in mind when handling the corporate travel management of an organization.

7 Things Every Corporate Travel Manager Should Know In 2021

Here are seven things a corporate travel manager should know in 2021:

Seek help from a corporate travel agency

With business travel likely to be less common and more mindful, hiring an experienced corporate travel agency to book and manage your business travel requirement can be an excellent way to ensure employee safety.

Business travel is likely to be hellish for a corporate travel manager like you. It can be an uphill battle to manage flight bookings, accommodations and track the endless list of miscellaneous costs while ensuring minimum spending.

That’s why organizations that turn to a company travel agency like Travelperk effortlessly take away your headache by providing travel experts without spending a single dime on hiring additional staff.

A corporate travel agency is an excellent way to end all your miseries.  From negotiating the best room and flight rates to offering travel support round the clock—a travel agency is your one-stop destination for managing business travel. Also, when negotiating corporate rates, these agencies provide a detailed report on the business travel spending of each department.

With 53% of business travels being booked on consumer platforms using a mobile app, consolidating the business travel spending of every department can become difficult. That’s another place where a corporate travel agency outshines.

Pro-tip: Choose a travel agency that is innovative, scalable, offers superior customer support, and ensures a seamless booking experience.

Provide corporate cards for contactless payments

Accepting and introducing new technologies like virtual payment cards for your distributed team may seem an impossible task. Still, these benefits will far outweigh the cost associated with introducing a new concept.

Like mobile wallets, virtual travel cards are easy to operate and ensure a contactless payment—something which every business traveler looks forward to.

Virtual cards are like debit or credit cards, but they’re digital instead of physical, entirely on your Smartphone. With such a card, you ensure your employees can make contactless payments in different stores by holding their phone up to a card reader.

Providing a contactless payment method for every employee’s spending is a great way to bring business travel back to normalcy and keep travelers safe.

Interestingly, a virtual card allows your organization to monitor and track the spending of a particular employee in real-time. You can integrate this information into your expense solution and create travel plans that do not overshoot a set budget.

Pro-tip: Try to provision virtual cards to your employees and access that data to make future business travel-related decisions.

Review and update your corporate travel policy

Almost every company involved in some business travel has a comprehensive and dedicated travel policy. Unfortunately, most of these policies are outdated because they were probably written years ago when there was no sign of the raging pandemic.

With COVID-19 coming as a wake-up call for organizations with an outdated travel policy, organizations that would review their policy after COVID-19 struck can enjoy peace of mind and have a clear risk management plan.

Now’s the right time to update your existing policy and include clauses that help your business overcome travel-related issues if something like this pandemic rises again.

So, update your policy to curb unnecessary spending or noncompliance trends and address future provisions for a business travel realm.

Your travel policy should give detailed information about guidelines related to essential and approved business travel. What an employee should do if COVID is on the rise in a particular city or state they’re visiting and the support your company would provide during such 

unprecedented events.

Pro-tip: A comprehensive travel policy can save you from a lot of legal troubles and helps you gain better insights into expense and travel data.

Focus on flexible bookings

In the past year, people canceled their flight and train tickets to remain safe and avoid unnecessary travel to different places. These multiple cancellations of booking brought to light that cancellations are time-consuming, costly, and frustrating.

As a corporate travel manager, you may book business travel flights using different online portals to get extra discounts and save money. However, these cancellations can leave you with money in different wallets.

So, organizations worldwide are likely to turn towards a flexible booking and focus on using a platform that provides a large inventory of hotels, restaurants, flights, and cabs where the travel manager can judicially use the refunded amount.  

Pro-tip: Without flexible booking, it can become a mess, especially if there is a sudden spike in Coronavirus cases in a particular city or state.

Focus on ongoing vigilance and adjustments

As the travel industry leaves no stone unturned to bring normalcy back, this transition phase will likely focus more on social distancing, disease surveillance, and hygiene measures.

So, even organizations and corporate travel managers need to remain agile and evolve policies that change with the changing times. This can include many factors such as the corporate travel advisory your organization issues and what measures your employees receive to prevent catching the disease.

Companies can include recommendations for their employees to wear a face mask and change it every six to eight hours (for international flights) and guide them to leave early for extra screening and testing processes. 

Pro-tip: Staying on ongoing vigilance increases employees’ trust because they know your company cares about their well-being. 

Communicate with your travelers

Don’t just let your travelers live in limbo and forget all about them when they board a flight. 

In unprecedented times like this, communicating regularly with employees is essential. Regular communication can help travel managers better understand how their travelers feel about the current environment. 

This also indicates that a company cares for the well-being of its employees. 

Companies that understand how their travelers feel in the wake of an ongoing pandemic are the ones that are likely to encourage other employees to travel for business purposes. 

Corporate travel managers like you can send a travel survey to get a pulse on what these travelers feel and understand whether they’re comfortable. Share these valuable inputs to ensure no one in your company has second thoughts about national or international travel. 

Pro-tip: When communicating with your employees, ask them whether they require any additional services to make their stay pleasant and memorable.

Equip yourself with knowledge

As a corporate travel manager, try to become a person everyone comes to for business-related travel advice.

So, know your stuff and the current global scenario related to business travel to better guide an employee who comes knocking on your door. 

To ensure you provide proper guidance to employees, have important travel-related government websites bookmarked and check all updated rules and regulations once a week. 

Equipping yourself with the right knowledge can help you make better travel decisions. 

Pro-tip: For providing information from credible sources, you should know which sources to trust. Also, try to limit the consumption of false news for correctly guiding your employees. 

Wrapping up

With the pandemic raging on and life continuing boldly, the corporate world is entering a new travel paradigm where the future will be bright but very different from what we have seen in the past. 

In the coming months, business travel and expense management are likely to be less about encouraging people to physically attend business meetings and more about the value generated from these meetings. 

With fewer but more strategic business travel on the calendar, use a dedicated corporate travel agency to fuel successful business travel in 2021. Apart from hiring a professional service, a corporate travel manager should communicate regularly with travelers, track expenses, opt for flexible bookings and update their company’s travel policy to bring back normalcy to some extent. 

If these changes are what your business is missing, now’s the time to get started. 

Use these seven tips to make your travel management safe and a painless process. 

How are you ensuring the safety of business travelers?

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