Managing business travel can be a very time-consuming task. In many companies, this responsibility falls to administrative assistants who are already juggling several other roles. The reason businesses feel comfortable doing this is that many administrative professionals already possess most of the necessary skills.
However, corporate travel management is still an added responsibility, and it can present some unique challenges. Here are some skills and considerations that are important for modern business travel management.
One of the fundamental keys to setting a corporate travel schedule is understanding the company’s goals related to travel. This means not just understanding where and when employees will be traveling, but also why. Are executives traveling for recruiting purposes? To meet with clients? Or, for the company’s expansion? Perhaps to attend a conference or event?
It’s also important to have a loose travel policy in place. What are the company standards and rules surrounding corporate travel? This concerns travel elements such as lodging accommodations and travel expenses themselves.
Corporate travel management may follow similar patterns to other office management responsibilities. However, it also comes with more variables.
Balancing a travel schedule can be difficult, and sometimes you can’t control as much as you’d like. Flexibility and adaptability are important skills to have when managing business travel for your company. You will likely need to adapt more than once to make a travel schedule work, especially if there are multiple destinations involved. Being able to solve problems quickly is a crucial, but often overlooked, skill for travel management.
This may go without saying, but it’s always important to make sure you keep everything organized. A corporate travel schedule can get very complicated, very quickly. Consider using a travel planning app, or a daily planner to help organize your corporate travel itinerary. It helps to be tech-savvy when managing business travel, so don’t be afraid to explore new technology.
Communication is always important when setting a schedule. When managing a travel schedule for an individual or corporate travel party, they should be well informed about any details. But you should also be communicative when it comes to setting a travel policy, if tasked with that responsibility. This lets everybody know what to expect, and to plan accordingly for their own corporate travel experiences.
Financial management is, in some ways, the most important part of corporate travel management. Managing travel for all employees without exceeding your travel budget is crucial. So too is properly documenting all expenses.
An effective travel manager will also find clever ways to save on corporate travel. There are some expenses that your company might be able to reimburse. In other cases, you might be able to book discounted travel or receive discounted rates on accommodations. The more comfortable you are at managing a budget, the more comfortable you will be at managing business travel.
Lastly, corporate travel management can be a difficult and unfamiliar task. If you find yourself in charge of this unfamiliar task, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to others you know who might have experience with business travel management.
You can also seek clarification on expectations from your manager or supervisor. As we covered above, there are a lot of variables at play in corporate travel management. You don’t need to tackle all of them by yourself.
Want to learn more about managing corporate travel? ASAP has plenty of professional training resources that can help. Check out ASAP’s webinar on creating a system for travel planning for more great advice.