So you may use surveys and other tools to learn more about the experiences of your travelers for inspiration on how to fine-tune the travel program, but today we’re turning the tables on all you travel managers (TM).
After all, you are an essential ingredient in the success of the company’s travel program and what kind of manager you are sets the entire tone.
So read the five types of TMs we’ve profiled below to see where you’re crushing it and where there’s room for improvement.
By the way, if you find that you fall into more than one category, that’s totally fine. In fact, it can be beneficial for TMs to employ a mix of styles depending on which hat they need to wear at the moment.
Type No. 1: The Dollars-and-Cents Manager
What they excel at: Sticking to a set T&E budget and keeping spending in control
What drives their management style: The company’s bottom line
They believe boosting compliance can be best achieved by: Keeping close tabs on travelers’ behaviors and hammering home the importance of sticking to the policy to secure the company’s negotiated rates and perks with suppliers
One area they need to work on: Meeting some requests on travelers’ wish lists
How they can pivot painlessly: Find ways to satisfy travelers that will not cause spending to spike. The best way to do that? Solicit travelers’ feedback to find out their biggest hassles and hurdles and see if you can work with suppliers in delivering solutions that address them.
Type No. 2: The Travelers’ BFF
What they excel at: Keeping travelers happy, as evidenced by high road warrior retention
What drives their management style: The travelers themselves
They believe boosting compliance can be best achieved by: Developing a traveler-centric policy and regularly conveying to travelers the benefits they receive when making in-policy bookings (e.g., they can earn more loyalty points when consistently booking with preferred suppliers, having their full itinerary captured so you can help if a situation arises)
One area they need to work on: Keeping the costs of the program in check
How they can pivot painlessly: Introducing a couple of cost-savings measures that do not detract from the traveler experience (much). For instance, only having travelers book business class seats for outbound/nighttime flights and having them return in premier economy.
Type No. 3: The Strictly by the Numbers Manager
What they excel at: They’ve done their research and know exactly where the program has been and where it should be going
What drives their management style: Business intelligence data
They believe boosting compliance can be best achieved by: Providing reports on compliance rates to department heads and having them address rogue travelers directly
One area they need to work on: Bringing a more human element to the program
How they can pivot painlessly: Lifting their head up from the computer screen and organizing some kind of lunch meeting or travel roadshow to gather intel and hear from the travelers themselves, face-to-face
Type 4: The Policy Enforcer
What they excel at: Getting travelers to book within the company policy
What drives their management style: Having a high compliance rate
They believe boosting compliance can be best achieved by: A mandated program in which travelers must follow the policy and book with preferred suppliers, otherwise, they won’t be reimbursed for their expenses
One area they need to work on: Being more flexible with travelers
How to pivot painlessly: Using Expert Auditor™ from American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), a tool that can help monitor if travelers are following policy but allow rules to be broken when the TM sees they have a valid reason for straying (like booking an out-of-policy hotel where there’s a room block)
Type No. 5: The Unmanaged Manager
What they excel at: Pleasing travelers by giving them the freedom and flexibility to book part or all of their trips through any channel they like with an “open booking” policy
What drives their management style: Trusting that travelers will spend responsibly and do the right thing
They believe boosting compliance can be best achieved by: Well, in an unmanaged program, there isn’t a strict policy to enforce, but TMs steer travelers by educating them about the company’s preferred suppliers as well as offering incentives when they spend less than the per diem
One area they need to work on: Quite frankly, a lot. When travelers book outside a corporate booking tool, it’s very difficult to corral travel data, which creates reimbursement processing headaches and weakens a company’s negotiating power with preferred suppliers. And unless a workaround solution is implemented, the organization will have little insight into where their travelers are located when a crisis unfolds, hindering its ability to provide assistance.
How they can pivot painlessly: Speak to American Express GBT to learn how your firm seamlessly can shift to a managed travel program with the assistance of a travel management company.