When you oversee travel logistics for a company with dozens or hundreds of employees, catering to individual travel preferences while controlling costs can be daunting. Every business traveler has unique needs and preferences, from senior executives to interns.
How can busy travel managers provide personalized service while juggling many different traveler profiles? Use these key strategies to handle multiple employee travel needs seamlessly.
Leverage Travel Management Software
A robust travel management software system is the foundation for efficiently handling employee travelers. Centralized platforms like Planiversity provide a central hub to manage all your employee's travel plans, itineraries, and documents. Plus, the Planiversity phone app lets you communicate with the traveler in real-time.
Travel management software centralizes all data so managers have complete transparency into upcoming and in-progress trips company-wide.
Segment Travelers into Tiers
While all employees deserve excellent service, certain groups warrant special attention. Segment your travelers into tiers, with top executives and frequent road warriors in the highest priority segment. Define policies that align with each tier, such as:
- Top-tier travelers receive proactive notifications in case of flight delays or cancellations, complimentary upgrades, and special amenities during hotel stays.
- Mid-tier travelers have a dedicated agent to handle all of their bookings and in-trip needs.
- Entry-level travelers use self-booking through the online booking tool with minimal agent interaction outside emergencies.
Customizing your servicing approach based on traveler tiers allows you to provide bespoke care at scale.
Empower Travelers to Update Profiles
Instead of relying on agents to update all traveler preference data, empower employees to manage their own profiles. Through online portals and mobile apps, they can add details like:
- Loyalty status and frequent flyer/hotel numbers
- Seat choices, dietary restrictions, and TSA PreCheck enrollment
- Passport and Global Entry numbers
- Car rental and hotel brand preferences
- Frequent airport selections as home and common destinations
Travelers update their profile anytime something changes. This takes the burden off of agents to constantly chase down details.
Promote Travel Policy Compliance
When managing many travelers, you need ways to ensure compliance with company travel policies. Travel booking software can be configured to only allow bookings that adhere to policy, blocking exceptions attempting to be made outside of defined parameters.
You can also require pre-trip approvals for certain types of bookings or fares above thresholds, keeping rogue bookings in check.
Further promote compliance by regularly circulating email reminders on travel policies and offering training resources. Make sure employees understand what expenses will and will only be reimbursed after trips to avoid issues.
Solicit Regular Traveler Feedback
While travel management software provides data like passenger name records and itineraries, it fails to capture traveler satisfaction levels and feedback. Actively surveying employees about their booking experience, hotel stay, rental car, flights, and other trip components gives insight into areas for improvement. Some options:
- Post-trip surveys inquiring about satisfaction levels for each provider
- Periodic focus groups with a rotating set of frequent travelers
- Brief pulse surveys following one-off interactions like flight re-bookings
Feedback might highlight ways to enhance the travel program or uncover frequent frustrations, such as inefficient expense reimbursement processes.
Analyze Data for Travel Insights
Harnessing data analytics helps uncover opportunities to refine travel management. Frequently analyze information sources like expense reports, passenger name records, and operational data from travel suppliers. Look for ways to shift behavior through policy adjustments and traveler education based on findings like:
- Certain departments are overspending budgets due to excessive last-minute bookings.
- Employees repeatedly make the same booking mistakes, like forgetting trip insurance.
- Flyers aren't capitalizing on unused airline ticket credits expiring soon.
Adjustments driven by data-based insights help improve operational efficiency company-wide.
Recognize Top Travelers
Travel is necessary but not always enjoyable for employees. To boost morale among your company's frequent fliers, find ways to recognize their efforts. For example, identify the fliers with the most trips and highest air miles accrued at the end of each fiscal year. Award them points or prizes such as:
- Upgraded airport parking, lounge access, or limo service for the next year
- First-class flight upgrades
- Prime seats at company events or sporting games
- High-value gift cards to favorite restaurants or retailers
Recognizing road warriors makes them feel appreciated for their extensive travel commitments.
Managing business travel across an enterprise with hundreds or thousands of employee travelers on the move requires strategy and advanced tools.
While catering to individual needs takes effort, the right approach ensures each traveler feels supported before, during, and after trips. Taking steps to provide personalized service will make your program stand out.