Firstly, congratulations! We’re biased of course but we think business travel management is a great sector to work in. Whilst becoming a Travel Manager for the first time may feel daunting to you, the good news is that we’re here to help you on your way to becoming a GREAT Travel Manager.

The good news is that if your company is embarking on properly managing their travel for the very first time, there are lots of quick wins for you. And because we don’t believe in bad news, there is no bad news.  After the quick wins, there is plenty of scope for you to continue to achieve successes for your employer.

Inntel work with many organisations, in different industry sectors, with different cultures, spend levels and geographical needs. Many of our clients have appointed us because they’ve never addressed their travel spend at a strategic level before (the ‘DIY-ers’), some come to us because their incumbent Travel Management Company (TMC) haven’t been able to help them with the challenges they face and others find their way to us because they have run full market RFPs and we came up trumps.

No matter what stage our clients are at, we always help them achieve results – whether in terms of cost savings, compliance to programme, controlled costs, duty of care, visibility of travellers or any number of other reasons.

We work with some of the best Travel Managers out there and it’s fair to say that over the years (we’ve been doing this since 1984), we’ve all learnt from one another.

So, this ‘how to’ guide is created to help you, as a new Travel Manager, create your 30 day plan, or your 100 day plan or simply your ‘to do’ list as you embark on your quest to also be known as one of the best Travel Managers out there.

And, if after reading this guide, you’d like to know more, we would be delighted to share with you our advice, our knowledge and our ‘secret ingredient’ top tips…

So, let’s start at the beginning

Step 1 – the RESEARCH

Questions that you need to ask within your company:

  1. Is there any data available that will help you understand how much is being spent by your employer on business travel?
  2. This will help you understand what channels are being used to buy flights, train tickets, hotel stays, car rental, taxi’s, meetings and other ancillary travel related items
  3. And it will tell you who is booking travel – this may be a team, or individual bookers or perhaps travellers book their own travel
  4. Find out how your company pay for their travel. If you have a corporate card programme then you will be able to find out more information on travel spend from their data
  5. If you find out that your company is already using a TMC then make it a priority to contact them and ask to speak to your Account Manager – they will probably know a lot about your travellers, your travel bookers, if you have a policy, if people book online and more

Step 2 – the COMMUNICATION

  1. If your research has helped you find out who your travel bookers are, contact them – find out more about the current booking process, are there any authorisation processes in place, what they like and dislike about it and listen to their suggestions to make it better
  2. Arrange to meet with your finance department to find out what the current payment processes are – along with positive and negative feedback
  3. Other stakeholders that you should reach out to are HR, PA’s, the sales team and IT. Also, if your organisation covers a number of locations, make sure that you have contacted people in each of the regions as it’s likely they will have useful local information to share with you
  4. Consider doing a survey to find out information from a wider audience

Step 3 – the REVIEW

  1. Take a look at the current travel policy if there is one. Does it need refreshing in light of the information that you have got from the travel bookers and finance people that you have spoken with. Does it need changing to reflect objectives?
  2. If you have been able to get any management information from an existing TMC or corporate card provider review their data – spends, locations, routes, savings, , top bookers, top travellers, lead times etc
  3. If you do already use a TMC then meet with them. Ask how they have worked with your company in the past, what support they have given and what engagement they’ve had with your travel bookers
  4. Draft some objectives and present these to the most senior person you are able to, in order to get endorsement of any changes you want to make at a high level (NB this is important – travel is highly emotive!)

Objectives could include:

  • A complete review of booking channels – if everything is ‘DIY’ perhaps you would recommend appointing a TMC or if you have already identified a TMC in-situ you’d like to explore if there is an alternative who are a better fit
  • Increased online bookings
  • Cost savings targets
  • Duty of care obligations
  • Better lead times
  • Compliance to policy
  • Negotiations on preferred hotels, airline route deals, car hire
  • Changes to overall travel policy

Step 4 – the DELIVERY

When you’ve reached the stage when you have done your research, communicated with key stakeholders and reviewed the current situation, it’s time to put plans into action.

It’s likely that you will want to introduce a new or improved travel policy. At this stage it’s really important to involve different stakeholders within your company.  People are more likely to buy into your new policy if they have been consulted and helped create it.

If you enjoyed this article then have a read of  our other guide – How to Implement a new TMC