Changing Technologies are Shifting the Role of Travel Managers
Alexandria, VA (July 15, 2015) – Technology is an integral part of a Travel Manager’s role and will become increasingly more important in the future as travel managers seek to take a more strategic position within their organizations. This is according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Travel managers report that mobility, virtual payments and data are helping to transform their roles and responsibilities.
The study, Travel Manager 2020, sponsored by Sabre®, surveyed more than 230 travel managers to better understand their key responsibilities, how technology has changed their role today and, how technology is expected to further change their role in the future. Sixty-one percent of Travel Managers currently think that evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role and 75 percent expect it to be “very important” in the near future.
“Technology is going to become increasingly important for travel managers, as they seek to expand their role and further demonstrate the value that they bring to their organization,” said GBTA Vice President of Research Joseph Bates. “This study builds on a similar study we conducted last year, finding that by 2019, technology is expected to fully transform the role of travel managers.”
A large majority – 86 percent – of Travel Managers involved in the study reported having responsibilities related to selecting or implementing technology, such as online booking tools, mobile solutions or other travel technology software. Due to technological advances, the vast majority (84 percent) of Travel Managers foresee their role becoming more strategic in the next three to five years than it is today with mobile technology, virtual payments and data collection and analysis all predicted to be a much higher priority in the near future.
Travel Managers also report that they place a great deal of value on having accurate, holistic travel data, which helps them to more easily demonstrate the value their program brings to the company. Seventy percent of Travel Managers currently say they consider leveraging and analyzing travel data to be “very important,” while a larger proportion – 82 percent – say it will be “very important” in the near future. Travel Managers commonly use data for contract negotiations with suppliers, monitoring compliance and identifying hard dollar savings. These three activities were also highlighted as some of the most time consuming aspects of their roles and could potentially have the greatest potential for direct impact with the use of better data.
“We were very excited to partner with GBTA on this research. This is an important topic within the industry and builds on our research project last year,” stated Yannis Karmis, Vice President of Corporate Solutions at Sabre. “We are committed to helping travel managers be successful in their roles and are making investments in our technology to not only help them today but as their role continues to evolve.”
Additional highlights from the report include:
• When discussing the travel technology solutions that will take on a larger priority in the future, Travel Managers frequently mentioned solutions related to mobility, especially apps for booking on mobile devices. Mobile technology may also play a greater role in duty of care, where mobility can help with communications and traveler tracking.
• Travel Managers highlighted payment technologies, particularly mobile payments, as a field of technology where they expect to see an increase in the near future.
• This increase in technology use doesn’t come without its challenges. One third of travel managers said they find it challenging to keep up with new technology and only 39 percent believe business and technology are aligned within their organization.
The current study is based on an online survey of 237 travel managers from the United States and Canada. Of the 237 respondents, nearly all say they have some level of responsibility with hotels (96 percent), airlines (93 percent), and Travel Management Companies (TMCs) or Agencies (92 percent). Many also have responsibilities with ground transportation (88 percent) and travel technology (86 percent), while relatively fewer have responsibilities with meetings and events (59 percent) and payment solutions (48 percent). Those with no level of responsibility in any of these categories of business travel were excluded from the study.
The Travel Manager 2020 study, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A workshop on this topic is also being offered during the GBTA 2015 Convention. More information on that workshop can be found here.
CONTACT: Colleen Gallagher, +1 703-236-1133, email@example.com
About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world's premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA's 7,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA's members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.
About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading technology provider to the global travel and tourism industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than $110 billion of estimated travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre operates offices in approximately 60 countries around the world. 2015 GBTA Convention Booth #1125