The Travel Manager only appeared in the 1980s in France and only started to explode at the time of the business travel boom in the 1990s.
The various changes that the travel industry has undergone, such as the development of airlines, the rise of travel agencies and the diversification of communication channels, have enabled Travel Managers to become true managers of business travel in companies.
Managing expenses, negotiating contracts with travel agencies, and providing support for travel were the main missions during the development of this profession.
The reporting line varies according to the size of the company, but the Travel Manager is generally part of the general management team, the finance department or the purchasing department.
The multiple economic and security crises in the sector have led to a rethinking of the position, making it a multidisciplinary job today.
Today, the Travel Manager has a full place in companies as he is in charge of each business trip in order to offer his employees the best conditions in terms of quality, assistance and security.
The priority being the management of business travel, the Travel Manager carries out priority type missions during his career.
He/she must prospect and find the best travel provider for his team. While being aware of the different evolutions in the world of business travel, he must keep himself informed of the latest developments in terms of tools and service providers in order to become more efficient.
Conducting reviews and evaluating traveler satisfaction allows them to question the travel management tool they are using and to adapt their own management of corporate travel.
However, not all travel managers agree with the idea of measuring their program's actions in order to learn from them, as this study shows.
In addition to having to follow the policies already imposed by the company, the travel manager must create new travel policies that consist of making budgetary or ecological choices for each trip (see our sample policy in this article). Using a tool that can take these policies into account is a plus, as it reduces the amount of checking to be done before each trip.
It also means creating follow-up policies for the safety and health of each employee to cover the risks throughout a trip. More than just an organizer, the travel manager is responsible for ensuring that the entire trip runs smoothly.
Drafting these travel policies and communicating them to the entire company will make it possible to raise awareness among employees and inform them in advance of the various rules to follow.
To gain time and efficiency, the Travel Manager must arm himself with a tool adapted to the size of his company to manage business trips (find the top 5 business trip management solutions in this article). However, he/she will have to keep an eye on it by controlling the different trips.
In agreement with other qualified teams to find adequate digitalized tools, he must choose a tool that is adapted and coherent with his needs and desires for the company. And even if it is a time saver for him, he will have to implement some actions in the tool such as travel policies, mission orders, or expense reports management.
Managing a business trip is not only about booking a plane ticket. Organizing a trip from A to Z requires the Travel Manager to take care of three phases: pre-trip, trip, and post-trip.
Identifying business travel as a long and perilous process requires him to be truly organized and open to new technologies and different business travel management methods.
Even more so since the pandemic, the Travel Manager has to manage the ecological impact of each trip and therefore of his company. To do this, he can use specialized tools for offsetting or simply calculating the footprint, which will help him to make assessments and implement actions. (To learn more about how to reduce your carbon footprint, read the article on the best companies for carbon offsetting).
Using a digitalized door-to-door travel planning tool represents a unique opportunity for the travel manager to properly manage all travel without worrying about details such as the cab to the airport.
Some companies are now choosing to outsource services or to offer new positions in certain branches abroad.
The role of the Travel Manager extends to the management of the company's expatriates (he/she thus occupies in part the position of an expatriation manager). Undertaking an expatriation is not an easy task, and thanks to his skills in terms of travel management, he can be of great help.
In addition to helping with insurance and visa management, the Travel Manager is responsible for learning about the measures, customs, and traditions of the country in question. He or she also represents a real point of reference for expatriates
Implementing different business travel policies also means monitoring the proper application of these policies.
Communicating and training employees helps to avoid disputes in terms of the policies chosen by the company and also avoids human errors in terms of reservations.
As the organization of a company is constantly being questioned, the role of the Travel Manager is evolving a little more each day, and it has become a multidisciplinary position with secondary missions.
Taking care of the recruitment of his collaborators is part of the secondary role of a Travel Manager, especially when he holds a position in a large company.
Occupying a key position between different departments, he/she can be called upon to participate in the development of the different teams he/she works with.
As a specialist in business travel and travel management tools, he/she must also compare his/her company's travel with that of other companies of the same size. This allows him to make assessments over the year and to question the company's travel objectives.
Organizing business trips also involves organizing seminars or team activities during certain trips.
Event management and travel management are linked in the organization, which is why the travel manager can work in collaboration with the department in charge of events by providing advice.
Being a true point of reference for the various travelers also means that it is essential to create unity between the departments. Building a company-wide traveler network and being the point of reference is an essential task for a Travel Manager in a large company.
Little known to students, the job of Travel Manager is gradually becoming more democratic in companies. Nevertheless, it is a job that requires a certain profile and great motivation.
Calling for different skills in different departments of a company, the training can be relatively varied.
Nevertheless, it is advisable to have a degree in economics, tourism, languages or accounting.
Training with a specialization in tourism companies or in project management is also valued when recruiting for the position of Travel Manager.
Becoming a good Travel Manager is not something you learn only during your studies, since there is no training course dedicated to this type of position. It is therefore advisable to have a few years of experience in a company beforehand to understand the different issues that can impact the different departments.
Being a multidisciplinary job, travel management requires various technical skills in different fields:
- Budget management
- Mastery of several languages
- Knowledge of the business travel environment and new developments
- Mastery of new digital tools
- Geopolitical culture
- Negotiation skills
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Listening skills
As for many other jobs, the salary can vary depending on the company, the level of responsibility, or the budget.
For example, the salary of a young graduate is between 25K and 35K while that of a senior manager is between 45K and 50K.
Moreover, as the missions of a Travel Manager are becoming more and more diverse, he/she can easily find himself/herself managing large teams or redirecting to departments he/she already works with, such as purchasing or general services.
His perfect knowledge of the business travel world also allows him to redirect himself towards jobs more focused on travel, such as travel agency manager.
As the position of Travel Manager became more and more cross-functional, it was in the United States that it began to evolve and was renamed the Mobility Manager.
Rethinking the position means realizing that it now touches different departments and that its main role is evolving along with growing technologies.
Creating coherence in travel management requires linking the many departments touched by the Mobility Manager.
To summarize, the Travel Manager today occupies a more important place than that of a simple travel manager in companies.
Her cross-functional role between the various departments allows her to diversify her missions and to occupy a place of her own in her sector.
As a reference point for business travelers, he/she also becomes a reference point for the entire company in terms of policies, budgets and organizational methods.
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