Corporate travel managers serve an important role in corporations and enterprises. Even small businesses benefit from hiring a professional who books, manages, and oversees company travel on a part-time basis.
When searching for career paths, it helps to find positions with natural fits. Travel planning professionals will:
- Establish a corporate travel policy
- Oversee all company travel arrangements
- Manage travel budgets
- Analyze data
- Establish vendor and provider relationships
Therefore, those who have strong communication, organization, and negotiating skills are more likely to naturally fit in this role.
Travel managers do not necessarily travel. However, you might find opportunities to travel when developing relationships with business partners that benefit your company.
We look at seven reasons to become a corporate travel manager.
1. Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the career outlook for travel agents will remain stable through 2030. Therefore, professionals surmise that it will remain stable for corporate travel managers too.
Since the bulk of travel managers work for large companies, the salary is commensurate with the environment. Managers make between $67,000 to $135,000 depending on experience and performance.
Amazon, IBM, and Deloitte have single-handedly kept the business travel sector alive. Therefore, those who land this position with sizable organizations can obtain a healthy salary and benefits package.
2. Manage a Department
The number of professionals who work in a corporate travel department varies. As the manager, you will run it. This affords you the freedom to run it as you see fit.
Executives will expect you to meet some parameters such as budgetary limits. Then, it’s up to you to determine the processes.
For example, some companies provide employees with a travel allowance. Then, they reimburse some expenses. You’ll come up with the reimbursement procedures and expense reporting process, among others.
3. Establish Policy
All companies that fund employee business travel must have a travel policy and handbook. The manager writes the policy, distributes it, and answers questions.
As you run the department, you’ll experience first-hand each policy in action. Some of them will work as intended. Others will falter. As you obtain data and feedback, it’s your responsibility to alter policy to improve processes.
In addition to establishing policy, you’ll also develop partnerships with vendors and providers. For example, to streamline booking, you can use the services offered by Hotel Engine.
4. Communicate with Company Executives and Staff
The corporate travel department might have two or three staff members. As the manager, you’ll communicate with company executives and staff. Therefore, the ideal manager will enjoy speaking in public and in meetings.
Speaking with company executives provides opportunities to shine. Although you have already achieved a managerial role, it’s more about increasing your salary and perks than climbing the corporate ladder.
Meetings with decision-makers also present opportunities to shape company-wide policy. Maybe the corporate travel budget requires an increase. You might find beneficial conferences that staff should attend. As a manager, you have the authority to contribute to the bottom line.
Managers also meet with staff. If you enjoy working in a team environment, you’ll experience it too.
5. Problem Solving
Individuals who become travel managers should enjoy traveling. The more travel experience you accrue, the more you’ll understand the things that can go wrong. For example, weather travel delays are common in the northeast and during the winter season.
Thus, those who enjoy problem-solving can use these skills daily.
Corporate travel managers must remain organized. You’ll organize the travel of others, their expense reports, and your business relationships.
Those who become travel planners will have natural organization skills. This position is a great way to put them to use.
Most people shy away from negotiating. They tend to look at everything that could go wrong instead of the potential benefits.
Since travel planners work with vendors and providers, they will negotiate often. A professional who has negotiating skills will use them in this position. Although the company will establish a travel budget, professionals who can come under it may receive incentive bonuses and other perks.
Corporate travel managers run departments at corporations and enterprises. Although the bulk of the work takes place in-office, it can open the door for travel too. Individuals who enjoy negotiating, public speaking, and establishing policy might enjoy taking this career path.