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In this post, we have curated 7 of the most prevalent issues that can seriously damage your business travel sector.
Ideally, corporate travel requires tactical planning, precision, convenience and communication over several meetings to finalize a fair deal.
As simple as it sounds, it is actually quite rare to achieve this ideal standard in corporate travel management.
In reality, the process is often cluttered with its own set of challenges. However, identifying these challenges can be the first step to resolving the issue before it can turn your corporate travel plans into a potential nightmare.
7 Issues that can ruin your corporate travel management
For the longest time, micromanaging heavily defined the sphere of corporate travel management.
The major reason for this is that corporate travel has always been a major expense for companies. At the same time, they offer a large return of investment (ROI) that validates their necessity.
According to a report on corporate tourism conducted by Oxford Economics, every dollar that companies spend on business travel guarantees a return of 12.50 USD on revenue.
However, the pandemic triggered a colossal shift for the sector towards the need for more transparency and increased compliance measures. There has been a significant downgrade in corporate travel, which had major business implications for many companies.
This has led to the need for re-evaluation of the major issues that can affect corporate travel management for your company. Here we have curated 7 of the most prevalent issues that can seriously damage your business travel sector.
Now, let's dive right in!
1. Monitoring excess travel management requests
Unless you have a dedicated corporate travel manager, monitoring a long lineup of travel requests can be a hard chore to manage with your regular schedule.
Since, the task is the first base of handling your corporate travel you cannot keep postponing it endlessly. However, a continuous stream of requests can easily take up a lot of time and resources away from other sections of your business.
Further, any procedural kinks in applying for travel requests can have headache inducing consequences for the person who is responsible for monitoring those requests. Filing the requests and processing it forward according to protocol, become additional tasks for the travel manager.
For startups, every challenge is further magnified because at the core, you are still learning on the job. Without proper experience, monitoring excess travel requests can become a horrendous task. Fortunately, you can depend on industry experts to bail you out of such situations.
Travelperk's corporate travel management guides are an excellent resource to understand the core processes involved in handling business travel planning.
When choosing resources to troubleshoot this issue, make sure to only rely on experts who have experience in the field. Also, the more in-depth the guide the more valuable it will be to explain and address the issue in reality.
2. Managing multi-channel communication
If monitoring an excess of requests is not challenging enough, you also have to deal with an Omni channel communication stream. Today, every business employs multiple communication channels to remain accessible to their teams and clients at all times.
However, this can add to the stress of your travel management strategy. Imagine one employee putting in a travel request via email, while another employee uses Slack's messaging app and yet another uses WhatsApp messenger to send you the requests.
While each of them just has to take the initiative to contact you, as the point of contact, you have to deal with checking all of the platforms to catalog the list of requests.
It is quite easy to miss checking some of the platforms in a day's work, however, that means you will not catalog some vital travel requests that can potentially cause losses.
Further, if corporate travel management is just part of your daily schedule, the constant stress of maintaining online and in-person communication for travel requests will be an interference. It will hamper your productivity and be a major distraction to your regular workflow.
3. Tracking request authorizations
While the influx of requests is a challenge, simply conquering that aspect of the process will not make a dent in your corporate travel management strategy. You need to follow through each of the requests for approval from authorized resources within the company.
The travel plans can only materialize when the funds are allocated for the process. However, only the senior management can grant the funding. The authority will share the burden of the decision making with the travel manager but they will not have the adequate time to sift through the requests and list them according to priority.
Considering that each request might come in at different times, comparing them to each other to determine the priority factor for each request can be time consuming and often confusing.
However, if you are in charge of getting the requests signed off by the company's CEO, you will not have the luxury to crib about the challenge of sorting the requests. Just identify the issue and put a system in place to help manage the tracking more effectively right at source.
4. Monitoring travel investments
Undoubtedly, corporate travel management is a part of key performance indicators (KPIs) of your business. If you want to track your travel expenditure, you have to measure it against the ROI generated by the travel plans. Certain travel plans have to be repeated frequently for maximum ROI.
However, some travel plans are basically a fishing alternative to collect information and introduce the brand to your client. In these cases, you have to monitor the KPIs to evaluate the advantage of repeating that particular plan for better returns.
Geckoboard's visual overview of the business KPIs can reduce the evaluation time when you are deciding between multiple travel requests. You can simply monitor the performance of the plan and decide whether it is worth your while to invest part of your travel budget into realizing it.
5. Reducing travel costs
If you reduce your business travel costs, you will potentially increase the revenue returns for each of the travel plans. This is a no-brainer. However, it is also easier said than done.
Most companies overlook the merit of researching for a low cost inventory when preparing travel plans. Booking business class transportation and hotel rooms at the last minute can easily translate into swollen travel costs. This will directly eat into the profit margin you are expecting from your travel strategy.
Do not sacrifice good travel deals for the sake of convenience just because you are booking for your business. If anything, startups should actually treat their corporate travel plans with as much caution as you take to seek out budget deals for your personal vacations.
6. Managing staff itinerary booking
If you do not have a dedicated corporate travel management, the sheer work of booking multiple travel itineraries can get demanding and unrealistic. Often small companies switch to staff self-booking to reduce this burden.
Ideally, this should lighten the load for the management; it can increase the travel costs as well. You have to put a system in place to oversee the company rules compliance for staff when they are booking their own corporate itinerary.
A dedicated chain of approval system will help you double check the itinerary and expenditure at multiple levels. This will help to manage costs and compliance more realistically.
7. Maintaining flexibility
While adherence to rules is necessary, try not to enforce strictness to a point that it feels suffocating for your employees.
Startups that pinch pennies during business travel do end up with a negative work impression on their current employees. When word gets out in the market, this can also harm their hiring potential in the future for prospective employees.
Corporate travel has a positive impact on the employees as much as it has for the clients.
Employees look forward to traveling opportunities and companies are often quite satisfied to provide them as long as it has a positive aftereffect for the business.
However, you need to maintain a broad inventory of travel resources to give your employees more choices when booking an itinerary. Make sure that you have a wide selection of travel routes, vendors and suppliers so that your employees have a choice.
This will further come in handy when you have to book a surprise corporate tour and do not have openings through your regular transportation or hotels.
In addition, having a wide selection of resources gives you the advantage of comparing prices and enjoying bulk discounts on competitive offers.
Corporate travel management is an essential part of a business. You have to identify the need for dedicated resources to handle the administrative side of booking travel plans.
If the travel process is complicated, employees will find workarounds to deal with the travel booking in the least troublesome way. This might not be the easiest on your budget or the best in maintaining compliance.
You need self-reliant travel management processes with built-in protocols so that the obligation is not on the employees to have to interpret the rules. Just come up with a system that acknowledges the above-mentioned issues and manages them from the very beginning.
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