Business travel is entering a new era with organisations focusing more than ever on what benefits it brings. Previously, face-to-face meetings were considered vital for connecting with clients. Now these same types of trips might require manager approval before booking.
Since the pandemic, the fate of the corporate travel industry has been hard to predict. Many businesses are still limiting travel to essential trips and relying heavily on video calls.
Travel managers around the world are now expected to take a closer look at why their people travel and are often operating from a zero-based budget.
And it’s not just cost…
Other factors that may impact the future of travel include:
- Sustainability: Over 70 percent of travel managers across North America and Europe said that they're now concerned with their company’s carbon footprint and the environmental impact of travel (you can find out more about sustainable travel and building an eco-friendly travel programme here).
- The future of work: Organisations are taking a wide range of views on when, how and if they want to see their teams return to the office - with 72 percent of CFOs expecting their office space to shrink over the next two years.
- The personal appetite for travel has changed: A recent poll of business travellers in Europe suggested that only one third expect their own volume of travel to return the same level as before the pandemic.
The new role of the travel manager
The role of the travel manager has changed significantly. Responsibilities now include defining permissible travel, mitigating risk and supporting traveller wellbeing – all while optimising spend.
So, what can travel managers do?
Travel managers have a unique opportunity to expand their scope and to be recognised as a leader by the executive team. Creating a framework for deciding which trips to prioritise, and perhaps increase, will also help with an age-old problem travel managers have struggled with – how to communicate the value of business travel. And that’s where purposeful travel comes in.
What is purposeful travel?
The purposeful travel model changes the focus and aligns the travel programme strategically to core business objectives. It focuses on both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of business travel and how it can make a positive impact on your business.
For example, the travel manager of a pharmaceutical company whose purpose is to 'make the world a healthier place' can demonstrate how travel increases their ability to conduct research, deliver breakthroughs and ensure their products are well known in the marketplace.
Adding a focus on the 'why' of business travel turns it into a strategic investment rather than a cost to be cut. So, instead of the CFO asking, 'what travel can we eliminate in Q4 to meet our budgets?', under a purposeful travel programme that question becomes 'what’s the right amount to invest in travel to get the best return?’ Or even, 'what would we get in return if we invested in more travel to achieve our objectives?'
So, how do you build a purposeful travel programme?
To help you create a travel management programme that optimises spend while prioritising traveller wellbeing and reducing liability, we’ve teamed up with Festive Road to provide you with an easy three-step framework that includes:
- How to find your purpose and add true value to your travel
- New ways of thinking
- What questions you should ask key stakeholders
- How to get decision makers to sign off your purposeful travel
Download the white paper now to discover how you can build a purposeful travel programme focused on the types of travel experiences that benefit your company most.
Want to read more about purposeful travel? Check out this article by Festive Road - the Era of Purposeful Travel.