Today’s guest blog post comes from Brad Bennett, product marketing manager, corporate solutions, at Sabre.
Are you prepared to be tomorrow’s travel manager? None of us know what the future holds, but we do know that the life of a travel manager in 2020 will be different than it is today. Today represents a tipping point in managed travel with travelers’ rising expectations, and a variety of other forces working to drive up the costs and complexities of running an efficient program. Everything from consumerization, data fragmentation, new supplier models, new traveler tech, to an increased focus on traveler duty of care are having some kind of impact on managed travel programs.
As a result, it comes as no surprise that travel managers are under a great deal of pressure to address these issues while still achieving program goals and delivering a positive experience for their travelers. What made for a successful program yesterday may not equate to success in the future. How do you know where to begin?
Last year we set out with the GBTA Foundation to better understand what it means to be a travel manager. We examined typical responsibilities and challenges, how savings are calculated, and the most used KPIs. It was an informative look at what it means to be a successful travel manager in today’s environment.
Now in an all new report we have explored where the role is headed and what it may look like five years from now. While travel managers are caught up in the day-to-day aspects of running their program, many believe that there is a path to being more strategic in the future. So how do you get there when you’re overwhelmed with tactical activities and limited time for strategic thinking?
Technology stands to play a major part in not only overcoming today’s challenges, but in helping position you for success tomorrow. According to the research there were three specific areas that rose above the rest:
- Data – Leveraging data to track program performance as well as for supplier sourcing activities topped the list of uses for data. While many travel managers use data to drive day-to-day decisions, fewer reported using it for more strategic analysis. As an industry there is still work to do as only 35% of travel managers stated that they were satisfied with the capabilities currently available to them, and roughly 6 out of 10 stated that data is one of their top three most time consuming activities.
- Mobility – The world has clearly gone mobile and travel is no exception. Travelers expect to be connected at every point along their journey, and according to the research 80% of travel managers expect mobility to become a higher priority for their role over the next 3-5 years. Mobile booking and itinerary management, as well as duty of care were all cited as primary uses for mobile technology.
- Payments – While in the past payment may have been more of a peripheral category for travel, it is becoming much more integrated. The availability of virtual payment solutions has provided a new tool for travel managers for improving the travel experience while also driving compliance.
Join us on Thursday, September 24th at 2 p.m. ET as we present the findings of the all new Travel Manager 2020 report, and discuss the implications in a special webinar. Register today and join the conversation.