Fourth in a series on Managed Travel 2.0
Freedom. That’s the big difference between managed and unmanaged travel. Under a managed travel program, travelers have some fence posts to abide by. The question is how much room to roam do you give your travelers?
1. Shop anywhere – period. Why ride against the tide? Your travelers are doing this anyway. Let’s acknowledge it, accept it and move on.
2. Book anyone – so long as the supplier is safe. Travelers need to know who to avoid. Classifying suppliers on safety is a core responsibility of travel managers. Not much of a restriction, practically speaking.
But that “book anyone” bit – does that include non-preferred suppliers? Oh, yes. Fundamentally yes. It says trust your travelers to figure out which suppliers best meets their needs for the trip in question. Let’s not pretend that the travel policy always gets this right.
3. Book anywhere – so long as the employer gets the data fast. Wow, those fence posts just got a lot closer, didn’t they? This is a bright red line – one that underscores the “Managed” in Managed Travel 2.0.
It’s a safety issue, first and foremost. You need to know where your travelers are. Booking via the corporate TMC or corporate booking tool solves this problem. But those aren’t the only solutions.
Concur’s Open Booking initiative is a bold step toward creating more choice and convenience for managed travelers. GDSX’s TripLink has similar goals. It soon will be a world where travelers can book most anywhere, and have their corporate trip data automatically pushed back to the travel manager, where it belongs.
Still, the point is that if travelers are willing to manually re-key their data, they can book anywhere. Puts a bit of pressure on the corporate booking tool’s user experience, no?
4. Book anything – so long as the trip is in budget. First class flights? Yes. Five-star hotels? Yes. So long as the trip is in budget. No small limit, that. But a limit placed best by the traveler, her manager, or her travel budget owner. It’s the best solution to the pesky problem of travel optimization.
What’s the worst that could happen? Imagine all policies aside, no company-wide standards for the class of travel. Wouldn’t the traveler’s manager impose some kind of expectations? Set some kind of example? Of course they will. How else are they going to manage their travel budgets? And what if they don’t? It’s their budget, baby…and their jobs on the line.
5. Pay with the corporate card. Evan and I debate whether this is a key principal or just an obvious tactic. Either way, let’s agree that travelers should use their corporate cards as much as possible to enhance their travel data trails.
So that’s it – Managed Travel 2.0 wants to maximize traveler freedom, subject to a few essential constraints. Gotta keep that “Managed” part in mind!
Up next: Managed Travel’s Implications for TMCs. Previous posts in this series:
- Why Traveler Friction Matters
- The Convenient Fiction of Program Optimization
- The Rise of Managed Travel 2.0
Author’s note: Evan Konwiser contributes significantly to this series.
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