Travel managers tend to be incredibly busy, particularly in this new era of seemingly constant rebooking. Time is always of the essence, and there always seems to be a better way to manage it. Even for those who feel they currently have enough time to complete all tasks, it never hurts to be more efficient. So whether you’re a travel veteran, or just starting out, here are 6 top tips to adhere to:
Create a Travel Policy
If you’re just starting out and do not yet have a travel policy in place, now is the time to create one. Without a policy in place, your business travel will be disorganized and become even more stressful. Business travelers may ask for more expensive accommodations, and you may not have a solid reason to refuse requests.
Avoid these issues by ensuring you have a clearly outlined travel policy in place. It should not only create the rules for business travel at your company but also outline when exceptions are allowed and how to handle them.
Figure Out How You Spend Your Time
Another early step to take is to audit your time to figure out how much time you spend on each aspect of travel management. In the best-case scenario, you will find that your time is well spent and no tasks are taking too long or getting neglected.
However, it is much more likely that some tasks take longer than they need to, or at least take up time you don’t have. After auditing your time, you can take advantage of some of the following tips, like delegating tasks and using technology, to make the most of your time.
Delegate Tasks When Possible
As you audit your time spent managing travel, you will hopefully realize that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything yourself. Delegation is key, but the way that you go about it will depend on your company’s structure.
If you have other employees in your department, delegate some specific tasks to them. If you are the sole person in charge of booking and managing travel, consider delegating aspects to the travelers. For example, you could give them the travel policy and specific instructions, then have them book travel. As a bonus, that will make them feel more in control of their travel, boosting their satisfaction with the trip.
If there is no one to delegate tasks for and you don’t have the budget to hire someone, delegate to technology.
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Use the Right Tech to Stay Ahead of the Game
Smart travel managers take advantage of technology to stay ahead of the game. Think of it as delegating repetitive or time-consuming tasks to technology. One example of this would be FairFly’s one-stop platform that constantly scans GDS data for the best possible fares that fit any given travel program. Using technology like this helps you use your time more efficiently as a travel manager.
As the travel manager, you need to know who is gone on what dates, as well as what dates they have to be in the office. As such, you should make sure you have access to the calendars of anyone you book travel for. This will help ensure that they don’t miss important in-office meetings right before or after travel. It will also help you confirm how many employees are out of the office at a time.
Encourage everyone involved in the process to give you feedback when necessary. Start by asking travelers to complete a brief survey or feedback form when they get back. Ask other admins who are involved in the travel planning to give feedback as well. This will help you better choose which airlines and hotels to book, as well as whether any of your processes need improvements.