Top 10 Tips for Corporate Travel Programs
While many vendors’ travel operations have started to stabilize (yes, we are knocking on wood!), corporate travelers and travel managers are still facing unprecedented challenges and a host of new requirements in navigating the industry.
The KesselRun team has put our many years of combined experiences, as well as the strategies we have recently implemented in conjunction with our clients, to share the following tips for navigating the industry today.
For Travel Managers
- Cross-functional teams are more important than ever. Travel needs a seat at the table to discuss policies, goals, and processes relative to all business objectives. Risk and sustainability are most recently at the forefront, but also perhaps optimizing spend for the greatest return or for the most valuable clients/projects. Travel people know travel. That knowledge needs to be raised during the decision making process to ensure policies, guidelines and objectives can be operationalized.
- Take time to review new technology. We are all busier than ever, but it is worth the time to fully understand the market and get inspiration to help solve business challenges when they arise. Development is happening faster than ever. Networking with peers can also help to better understand how others are tackling similar needs. Chances are if you have a need, others do as well.
- Know that everyone is struggling (both internal stakeholders, counterparts and external vendors). It is always easier to say “no” or pass-the-buck, but approaching issues or new implementations with a “how can we solve this together” mindset will go far. Don’t expect immediate turnarounds but be agreeable to mutually defined timelines. Have your business plan/justification ready.
- Overcommunicate to travelers. Teams, Yammer, quick videos, emails, newsletters, in-app push messaging, dynamic notifications – use all available channels and meet your travelers where they are to best equip them for success on the road.
- Anticipate new business needs. Work from anywhere has huge policy, cost, tax and business implications, but it is happening even if you don’t realize it. New merchandizing strategies will also have an impact on policy and cost. Travelers are looking for a more consumer-like experience. As businesses operate in new conditions, employees have new expectations, roles in travel will need to get creative to address the changing landscape.
- Pack your Patience… Operations still aren’t 100% back to “normal” and there are still a lot of infrequent travelers on the road. Give yourself some extra time throughout your entire travel process – book parking or rides to the airport well in advance. Avoid same day travel/meetings at all costs.
- .… but don’t check your bags! If you absolutely need to, use air tags!
- Plan and book your travel in advance. Not just for the best pricing, but also for availability. Flights are not operating at pre-pandemic frequency, small meetings are booming and hotels are booked well in advance in many metropolitan areas. Save yourself frustration and book your trips as far in advance as possible.
- Read! And double check your itineraries. If your travel manager or TMC are pushing out messaging to you, take the time to read and understand it. Don’t hesitate to ask questions where you’re not sure about something. When you receive your itinerary from your TMC, make sure to double-check all dates, confirmation numbers and other travel details. If there’s an error, raise it right away.
- Keep your Health & Wellness in Mind. Getting back into a travel routine after the last two years is not easy. Take advantage of hotels that are offering new programs to support wellness while on-the-road… this includes both physical and mental wellbeing!
KesselRun specializes in helping companies manage and optimize travel programs. We provide custom solutions and independent thought leadership to a growing list of clients and would be happy to help you develop a best-in-class program for your business needs.