Changing Technologies Are Shifting Role Of Travel Manager
Technology is already an integral part of a travel manager’s role, but a new study by the GBTA Foundation suggest it will become increasingly more important in the future as travel managers seek to take a more strategic position within their organizations.
The study, Travel Manager 2020, sponsored by Sabre, surveyed more than 230 travel managers to better understand their key responsibilities, how technology has changed their role today and, how technology is expected to further change their role in the future.
The central finding: 61% of travel managers currently think that evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role and 75% expect it to be “very important” in the near future.
“Technology is going to become increasingly important for travel managers, as they seek to expand their role and further demonstrate the value that they bring to their organization,” said GBTA Vice President of Research Joseph Bates.
“This study builds on a similar study we conducted last year, finding that by 2019, technology is expected to fully transform the role of travel managers.”
A large majority – 86% – of travel managers reported having responsibilities related to selecting or implementing technology, such as online booking tools, mobile solutions or other travel technology software.
Due to technological advances, a similar percentage foresee their role becoming more strategic in the next three to five years than it is today with mobile technology, virtual payments and data collection and analysis all predicted to be a much higher priority in the near future.
Travel managers also report that they place a great deal of value on having accurate, holistic travel data, which helps them to more easily demonstrate the value their program brings to the company.
Uses of this data include contract negotiations with suppliers, monitoring compliance and identifying hard dollar savings. These three activities were also highlighted as some of the most time consuming aspects of their roles and could potentially have the greatest potential for direct impact with the use of better data.
Additional highlights from the report include:
·When discussing the travel technology solutions that will take on a larger priority in the future, travel managers frequently mentioned solutions related to mobility, especially apps for booking on mobile devices. Mobile technology may also play a greater role in duty of care, where mobility can help with communications and traveler tracking.
·Travel managers highlighted payment technologies, particularly mobile payments, as a field of technology where they expect to see an increase in the near future.
·This increase in technology use comes with some challenges. One third of travel managers said they find it challenging to keep up with new technology and only 39% believe business and technology are aligned within their organization.