Travel managers’ roles continue to change as they now regularly work with other departments within an organization. Their responsibilities extend far beyond just booking trips; many hold primary responsibility for key risk-related functions. A survey from GBTA in partnership with BCD Travel examines key questions about travel managers’ collaboration, including:
- Which responsibilities do travel managers share with internal stakeholders – and which do they primarily “own”?
- Do travel managers serve on cross-department committees or working groups? What do these groups cover?
- How often do travel programs share data with internal stakeholders and what metrics do they share?
“This research clearly shows the important role of the travel manager and how they are interconnecting with the highest levels of corporate leadership,” said Scott Solombrino, GBTA executive director and COO. “Their role and skill set continue to evolve and be vital to the overall success of their companies.”
Most important stakeholders for travel managers
Travel managers widely collaborate with colleagues from finance accounting (79%), human resources (66%), security risk management (63%), C-level (61%), and legal/compliance (59%).
Collaborating across departments
More than two-thirds of travel managers worldwide (68%) say they or someone from their department serves on a cross-department task force, committee, or working group. When they serve on such a committee, they commonly say their committee(s) addresses travel policies (84%), expense policies (70%), safety/risk management (66%), and technology (48%).
Driver or co-pilot?
Travel managers’ responsibilities overlap with those of other stakeholders. In some cases, they are in the driver’s seat, making critical decisions that impact employee safety and productivity. In other cases, they play more of a supporting role.
“It’s always been apparent to those working within the corporate travel industry that travel managers bring significant strategic value in support of their organizations’ underlying goals,” said Miriam Moscovici, senior director, Research and Corporate Innovation at BCD Travel. “Our survey results suggest that by more robustly engaging with stakeholders, travel managers can illuminate their value for everyone else across their enterprises.”
Deciding on travel risk management
A surprisingly high number of travel departments have ownership of key risk-related functions. More than half of respondents (58%) say their travel department is the primary owner of selecting their company’s travel risk management (TRM) provider(s). Almost half say the travel department is the primary owner of communicating with travelers in an emergency (48%) or developing the TRM policy (43%).
Making payment decisions for corporate travel
Many travel departments make payment decisions. More than half of respondents (55%) say the travel department is the primary owner of selecting payment providers for travel.
Supporting expense management
Most travel managers are involved with expense management, but typically in a supporting role. Fewer than half of travel departments are the primary owner of deciding expense policies for travel (43%), selecting their expense management tools (38%), or configuring their expense management tool (33%).
Sharing data with corporate travel stakeholders
Travel managers share data with some stakeholders – but not others. A majority “frequently” or “regularly” share data or reporting with finance/accounting (70%), C-level (66%), and security/risk management (50%). However, fewer “frequently” or “regularly” share data with human resources (39%) and sales (30%) even though these stakeholders make key travel decisions. Travel programs may not have relevant metrics to share with these stakeholders.
The GBTA survey
A total of 347 respondents, including GBTA contacts and BCD clients, completed the online survey. Of those, 163 respondents were from North America; 81 were from Europe; 56 were from Asia Pacific; and 47 were from Latin America. In-depth interviews were conducted with travel managers and a variety of stakeholders from different departments – including finance/accounting, human resources, security/risk management, and sales.