Business Travel Travel Management

What Does a Corporate Travel Manager Do? Understanding the Travel Management Company Partnership

A corporate travel manager oversees their company’s business travel program and facilitates the organization’s relationship with their travel management company.

Through the travel management company partnership, corporate travel managers are able to develop a strategic plan for their travel program, outline and enforce travel policies, oversee and monitor employees’ business travel activity, negotiate vendor relationships and rates, create risk management plans for employee travel safety, align expense and reporting needs, ensure the ROI of the overall travel program, and more.

For organizations with extensive business travel requirements, or who need to facilitate group travel, or that plan conferences, retreats, and other corporate events, a strong relationship between the organization’s corporate travel manager and a travel management company is essential to the success of the corporate travel program.

What Does A Corporate Travel Manager Do?

A day in the life of a corporate travel manager revolves around aligning the needs of their business travelers with the needs of the company. This alignment occurs in myriad ways, although business traveler safety and ROI are often the highest priorities.

Typically, a corporate travel managers tasks involve:

  • Building a strategic partnership with a travel management company
  • Ensuring traveler safety through risk management plans
  • Providing a travel program that serves the needs of their travelers and facilitates well-being
  • Budgeting and measuring the ROI of the corporate travel program
  • Negotiating rates for air, car rental, and hotel vendor contracts
  • Developing travel policies and enforcing compliance
  • Overseeing their organization’s booking channels and approval process
  • Creating and analyzing reports to understand patterns, find ways to reduce spend, and identify opportunities
  • Integrating corporate travel software that saves time and money
  • Training employees on their corporate travel program’s policies, processes, and technology

Because business travel safety is among a corporate travel manager’s top priorities, daily tasks may also include awareness of travelers on the road and global security issues. And because generating a positive ROI for a company’s travel program is so important, a corporate travel manager is constantly looking for opportunities to streamline costs and manage efficiencies.

Why Corporate Travel Managers Need a Strong Travel Management Company

Any organization that requires business travel should partner with a corporate travel management company. In addition to the support this relationship provides to the corporate travel manager, travel management companies have the expertise and buying power to:

  • Transform Your Corporate Travel Program and Improve Performance

A travel management company not only helps you find the best rates on business travel, but works with your corporate travel manager to understand your organization’s needs, outline goals, develop a travel management plan, and identify key performance indicators that showcase how well your travel program operates, reduces corporate travel spend, and delivers an ROI.

  • Save Money on Corporate Travel

By relying on the expertise of a travel management company, corporate travel managers are able to leverage their organization’s buying power to negotiate the best deals with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and other business travel service providers. Additionally, travel management companies help corporate travel managers integrate travel policies with booking options to ensure compliance, monitor the reuse of unused airline tickets, and provide both data and consultative services that ultimately save money.

  • Serve Business Travelers 24/7

When employees are business traveling, concerns and needs can arise anytime of the day. This means corporate travel managers need the 24/7 service travel management companies provide. In an emergency, your employees must have a line of communication to solve the issues they may face on the road and around the world.

  • Save Time Managing Your Corporate Travel Program

Corporate travel managers wear many hats. They do not have time to research the countless vendors, rates, and reviews to ensure employees are using the best airline for your company, staying in safe lodging, and renting from the car company that aligns with your goals for every trip. But corporate travel management companies have technology, experience, and expertise to automate your program’s processes, find best rates, and assure that employees are safe.

  • Keep Business Travelers Safe

A strong risk management plan is essential to keeping travelers safe. Corporate travel managers can implement and execute that plan with support from a travel management company who has the technology and relationships required to maintain awareness of global risks, locate travelers, and communicate alerts. And because your corporate travelers have access to 24/7 business travel support, you can be confident that issues will be resolved no matter where they are in the world.

  • Deliver Travel Management Software that Facilitates a Strong Corporate Travel Program

Corporate travel managers need software solutions that facilitate success and make their job easier. By utilizing Christopherson’s integrated business travel technology, corporate travel managers can work more efficiently, access real-time data, and often reduce travel spend.

As for your travelers, road warriors can also easily manage their business travel with Christopherson’s technology. Through convenient booking options, a traveler-centric dashboard, and mobile apps, they can view itineraries, check in for flights and hotels, integrate trip plans, receive alerts, and communicate with your corporate travel agent team.

What Should Corporate Travel Managers Look for in a Travel Management Company?

Corporate travel managers should look for one thing when partnering with a travel management company—proven experience.

A travel management company that has a strong history of client retention will undoubtedly deliver the critical support corporate travel managers need to manage a successful business travel program.

The ideal travel management company will also provide corporate travel managers with:

  • An understanding of and responsiveness to your travel program’s unique needs and goals
  • Helpful ‘round-the-clock support for travelers
  • Consistent, consultative communication
  • Supportive, integrated business travel technology
  • Easy-to-understand data and reporting options

In researching travel management companies, corporate travel managers should first determine their travel program’s needs, goals, and priorities. Then research and develop a list of potential partners. As you refine that prospect list, you can request demos and presentations, or send an RFI or RFP to help you rank respondents. Ultimately, the best travel management company will be able to prove the value of their partnership and answer the vital question—Why should I choose you?

Christopherson Business Travel—The Leading Corporate Travel Agency

While there are dozens of corporate travel management companies, only one provides the unique intersection of personalized support and digital solutions that can propel your travel program forward. With a client retention rate of 97%, Christopherson Business Travel has proven its value and expertise for more than 60 years.

Learn More About Our Travel Advisors

We provide consultative corporate travel services and business travel technologies that will unlock your travel program’s potential. Our dedicated team is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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Business Travel Business Travel News Roundup

Business Travel News Roundup: May 2021

monthly roundup of business travel news, featuring important technology updates, helpful links and resources, and the latest from the industry.

As many of our clients have begun traveling again, here are four things you should do this month to keep the startup streamlined and easy to navigate:


1. Update Travel Profiles

Have your travelers update their travel profiles to include both their mobile and office phone numbers (and any other applicable lines). Doing this will help their calls route properly to your preferred advisors regardless of the phone they call from.

While they are updating phone numbers, they should also review their entire travel profile to add or delete any new or outdated information. For example, their credit card may have expired. As a reminder, online bookings cannot be issued if the credit card is expired and will require a manual intervention.

2. Turn Booking Site Back On

If you removed the ability to book in Concur in 2020, or your Concur site is currently locked against traveler use, notify your Account Manager that you’re ready to turn the site back on and test it to ensure it’s working correctly.

Additionally, if you’ve changed any of your travel policies in the last year, your Account Manager can help you align your online booking tool with those new policies. Of course, such changes can be made at any time and do not have to be done when you are ready to turn your booking site back on.

3. Check Traveler Programs & Passports

Remind business travelers to check their trusted traveler and passport status. If their TSA programs have expired, they may have lost their Pre-Check benefits and cannot regain them until they renew that service.

Passport status will be of particular importance for some travelers. A passport is typically valid for 10 years, however nearly all countries now require at least a 6-month validity period in order to be admitted. Since passport services were suspended for a large portion of the pandemic, you should anticipate for longer-than-normal processing times for renewing these documents.

4. Review Unused Tickets

Transferable unused tickets (i.e. tickets issued in one person’s name being designated for use by another person) are now offered by some airlines. Airlines providing this type of exchange usually charge a service fee unless certain requirements are met or if you have a partnership agreement in place. 

There may be instances where transferring a ticket may not be financially prudent or even possible. Christopherson’s clients can always view any transferable tickets in AirPortal and Account Managers can provide additional support as needed.

For more tips on how travel managers can be ready to support travelers and successfully manage their travel program this year, check out this blog post. 


Additional Travel Industry News as of May 3, 2021

While the Real ID requirement is still in the works, the deadline was extended once again. Travelers should have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license by May 3, 2023. We’ve got the full scoop here.

Delta Air Lines is no longer blocking middle seats.

We’ve continued our Executive Q&A interview series with our Chief Technology Officer. Click here to read his thoughts on the role of artificial intelligence in business travel.

We updated our Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide last month to include new information. Both the guide and our state/country restriction database are always accessible from the Info Hub on our website.

Good News Break

Here are a few fun, non-travel-related stories to enjoy: