You’ve all seen the pressure to reduce travel costs, and the corresponding interest in video conferencing. The question I’m wrestling with is this: Where does the travel manager fit in with the effort to cut travel via virtual meetings?
Several of us will pick this issue up in a session* at the NBTA Convention next month. Meanwhile, here are my early views – subject to change with your feedback.
The key stakeholders in video/virtual conferencing are the meeting owner, the participants and their travel budget owners, the meeting planner, and the IT/Facilities folks.
I don’t yet see the travel manager as a key stakeholder. So what’s the TM’s role, if any? Try these two on for size:
- Cost Reduction Champion. Promote the use of video conferencing wherever practical. Make it easy for travelers to see cost and availability of video conference rooms.
- Contingency Planner. Ensure that meeting planners and travelers know of video conference facilities as a back-up in case of travel disruptions.
It seems to be a simple matter of expertise and involvement. Most travel managers don’t have the subject matter expertise, nor are they key stakeholders. Not to say that these are must-have requirements for someone to manage a function, but then why not also ask the TM to manage cell phones and the corporate e-mail system? Those are communication and collaboration tools, and they impact travel costs.
Asking a travel manager to manage video conferencing as a new area of responsibility seems inefficient. So what is the right/best way for travel managers to be involved in this arena? Your thoughts will be appreciated!
*Details of the NBTA Education Session in Houston on Monday, August 9 at 10:25 a.m.
MB7 – Maximize the Meeting, Minimize the Miles: Visual Conferencing as a Travel Alternative
Presented by the GLP Designation Team
Moderator: Cindy Gillen, CCTE, C.P.M., Director, Procurement & Travel, BDO Seidman, LLP
Get an inside look at the successes companies are having today using desktop, video and telepresence technologies in place of travel for small internal meetings of 30 or less. Policies, deployment, compliance and more – what are the emerging best practices? Can it work in your company? Attendees will get insight and information to take home and implement ensuring delivery of your Return on Objectives (ROOs).