Business travel management is the universe that exists around organizing, planning, booking, tracking, and executing business travel. It includes the teams that manage business travel within an organization includes corporate travel managers, HR teams, and finance leaders as well as the business traveler themselves.
Showing up in person is powerful. It enables employees to build relationships, close deals, and drive growth. Business travel is a strategic lever for growth, but it must be managed to create efficiencies and value to a growing business.
Let’s start by looking at the different parts of business travel management:
A corporate travel policy is the set of rules and parameters set by business leadership to manage employees’ bookings and spend when visiting clients, prospects, colleagues, and conferences. A corporate travel policy is an attempt to organize travel so it becomes as effective, cost-efficient, and easy for everyone involved. It increases visibility and planning for the company while easing the stress of travel on employees. The ultimate goal is to keep employees productive and safe while maximizing the value of each business trip.
A TMC refers to the travel management companies responsible for handling the logistics for road warriors. In the past, companies relied on antiquated corporate travel tools that caused business travelers to book out of policy and limited managers’ ability to see what and where their employees were spending the most money.
Suppliers are an important part of business travel management. In the past, a corporate travel agency or sole corporate travel manager was tasked with forming and handling relationships with airlines, hotels, car rental companies to ensure the best deals and most options for travelers. Today there is a different way.
With new technology, a next-generation storefront can present ticket information and add-ons in a smooth, comprehensive mobile UX that empowers business travelers to make clear decision and select the best flight. It adds information and context allowing for personalization on a corporate policy and individual level.
Expensing is another important part of business travel management. To limit spending, companies often set a per diem, or the daily allowance that a company designates for business travelers to cover their transportation, hotel, meals, and incidental expenses.
Business travel management is important to employees’ happiness, satisfaction, and productivity. Companies with unmanaged or unorganized travel programs limit their growth and visibility. Their employees are frustrated by travel policy compliance demands or the confusion caused by unmanaged travel.
Poorly managed business travel causes stress with consequences on employees’ mental health, well-being, productivity, and loyalty. On the other hand, efficient and productive business travelers means good business. Empowered, well-rested employees are better positioned to succeed, to take on more responsibility, and grow within their role. Success business travel management takes the pain out business travel to increase job satisfaction, boost recruitment objectives, and build employee retention.
There is bad business travel management and good business travel management.
When growing a company for the first time or introducing managed business travel, some employers waste valuable time and resources on inefficient travel management programs that limit visibility into cost, limit planning, and cause stress among business travelers.
The hardest part of starting to manage business travel is understanding what factors to consider from the start. From policy control and reporting capabilities to traveler experience and support, it’s important to really consider all key features and functionality as corporate travel managers, HR teams, and finance leaders search for a travel management solution so they can intelligently decide what will best serve your business.
To help organizations on that search, Navan created a checklist of the key features and functionality to look for in a business travel solution, separated into four areas of consideration — implementation, inventory and policy, visibility and scalability, and traveler experience.
It is fascinating to consider the future of business travel management as futurist Dré Labre does in No Passport Required: A Futuristic Vision of Business Travel. But the presence of business travel management is easier, more effective, and more advanced than most business travelers and their employers even realize.
Fast becoming the default for business travel management, Navan is the modern business travel platform that combines the latest AI-driven personalization with unrivaled flight, train, lodging, and rental car choice, and proactive, global 24/7 365 live travel agent support to delight employees, finance leaders, HR professionals, and travel managers alike—all while empowering organizations to seize travel as a strategic lever for culture and growth.