Change can be a wonderful thing – but as business travel managers know all too well, it often trails disruption in its wake.
After the disruption of work travel in the depths of the pandemic, the world is now (mostly!) open for business, and work travellers are keen to get back out there. However, as our recent research into what makes the perfect business trip reveals, new challenges have emerged from all the flux. Here are five of the biggest issues travel managers face today – and a few quick tips for how to tackle them.
1. Balancing the small details and the big picture
A comfy bed. Strong Wi-Fi. Easy access to a nice brew before heading out the door. These details have long been integral to a decent business trip, but now travel managers have even more boxes to tick – whether that’s ensuring access to public spaces to facilitate meet-ups for remote teams, or even checking that a hotel’s sustainability stance aligns with your own company values.
2. Understanding the who-what-why
Business traveller expectations have evolved. Our research found that 77% of travel stayers think their needs and desires around business travel have changed, and generational expectations are shifting, too. Our survey revealed that junior staff have notably different priorities from senior management, meaning travel managers must consider the nuances depending on who they’re booking for.
3. Dealing with disruption
Every travel manager wants the trips they book to run seamlessly. Unfortunately, uncertainty and disruption seem to be recurring features of life in the 2020s. From travel strikes to freak weather incidents, things can change at any moment – so travel managers have to be prepared to respond to disruption whenever it hits and take care of their staff.
4. Balancing the books
Travel managers are under a great deal of pressure to make sure stays are enjoyable, but for many, budgets are going to get tighter – in fact, our research found that ‘cost’ is their third biggest worry (45%). It’s the finance team in one corner, vs. colleagues after a pleasant trip in the other – so travel managers need to strike a middle ground between quality and cost that keeps everyone cheerful. And, speaking of happy…
5. Keeping everyone happy
Alright, we’ll admit that this one isn’t a new challenge. It’s always been important.
But it’s still worth discussing, because when we asked travel managers what they’re most worried about, ‘I worry the stayer will be unhappy with my choice’ (56%) and ‘I worry their personal needs won’t be met’ (48%) were the top responses.