Balanced collaboration between travel managers and travelers makes task execution easier. Corporate travel departments tend to employ ten or fewer professionals. However, they work with anyone who travels for the organization.
They also collaborate with other departments and company executives.
The department completes several duties that impact travelers, including:
- Organizing itineraries
- Booking hotel reservations
- Establishing vendor relationships
- Managing ground transportation partnerships
In addition, travel planners work with various personalities and positions in the organizational hierarchy. Seasoned executives have earned excellent accommodations and transportation. First-time travelers must earn their stripes.
Nonetheless, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that each professional will have different opinions, preferences, and expectations.
Although planners can’t satisfy every request, they can collaborate with their team members.
Travel planners also must collaborate with other members of their company. For example, you’ll work with the finance department. This department also examines traveler expense reports. They determine if traveling expenses are within the company’s budget or not.
We explore five ways travel managers can better collaborate with their company.
1. Create a Corporate Travel Policy
For travel managers, operations begin with the corporate travel policy. The policy addresses elements of trips including reimbursement amounts and processes.
Other components are:
- Ground transportation requirements
- Fuel usage
- Venue proximity
- Booking restrictions
As you create the policy, you must work with a few stakeholders to establish financial limits.
Companies must adjust to the economic climate. Most travel managers work at larger organizations. Thus, they have the budget to match. However, even Amazon, IBM, and Deloitte must adjust when gas prices break unprecedented records.
Other organization stakeholders will add their two cents to the policy, making it a great time to collaborate with them.
2. Keep an Open Door Policy
Managers for the travel planning department have busy moments. When team members return from trips, they turn in their expense reports. Then, managers have deadlines to review them.
Nonetheless, keep an open door policy.
Like other managers, optimize your days by carving out blocks of time for specific tasks. Ideally, you’ll have time to answer quick questions from colleagues about upcoming trips and expense reports.
If the answers to questions take too long, ask your colleague to schedule a block of time with you. They’ll schedule it or boil it down to the bullet points. Either way, you made yourself available.
3. Listen to Feedback
No manager can satisfy all requests. However, you can still listen to feedback. When feedback becomes a trend, take it seriously.
Explore the issue and find a solution. The quality of hotel locations can shift with employee turnover and management changes. Hotel chains scoop up small properties and merge with others, destabilizing operations.
You know that travelers want the best accommodations. Some have earned them, and others have a ways to go. For the novice, ensure that they have read the corporate travel policy. For executives, listen to their concerns.
Then, work with your hospitality partners and vendors to find solutions.
4. Update the Company Corporate Travel Policy
As business travel bounces back from the events of 2020, travelers still must deal with things like per diem taxes. Corporate travel managers can help them by keeping the company travel policy current.
Employees, like companies, must remain abreast of the latest tax code regulations. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you if they ask for information.
For example, find an overview of per diem taxes here.
In your policy, address the conditions and limits for reimbursement, especially if they change. Then, travelers know what they can legally claim on their income taxes.
Updating the policy might sound like a mundane task. However, it’s a great reason to touch base with different departments.
5. Incorporate Travel Software
Incorporating travel software into operations is the best way to collaborate with company members.
You’ll find a few software versions designed for travel managers. It helps you compile reports, manage calendars, and maintain vendor relationships.
These features help you compile reports for the finance department. After all, they cut the checks for travel reimbursement payments.
The reports also help executives ensure that the trips contribute a return on investment. They might decide that the R&D team should attend a different convention in another city next year.
Collaboration with company stakeholders makes your job easier as a travel manager. Your duties are set and straightforward. However, you still work with members of the finance and executive teams. Keep an open door policy and use software to quickly compile reports.