Corporate Travel Management (CTM) is the business function handling a company's strategic approach to travel, including vendor management, traveller safety, the company travel policy and related expenses. There is often a distinction drawn between CTM from the company, which creates the travel policy that all business trips must follow, and the day to day arrangement of travel.
The logistics of the actual trips are often handled by a Travel Management Company (TMC). They perform many of the functions of a traditional travel agency with the added duties of working with airlines, vendors and hotel chains to negotiate suitable business rates. Many larger organisations employ a Travel Manager to coordinate and handle their travel needs.
What are the Benefits of Corporate Travel Management?
Even the shortest, most straightforward business trip requires a large amount of planning and coordination. Without a strategic plan and direction that's followed across the company, mistakes can be made and the process doesn't necessarily improve from one trip to the next.
When done effectively, CTM can save companies both time and money. Many firms don't have the resources to devote to the minutiae of organising travel and won't always be aware of the best rates available. The assistance of a TMC or an in-house Travel Manager can ease these stresses.
Choosing a Travel Management Company (TMC)
Some companies choose their TMC by issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Potential suppliers can then get in touch to discuss their requirements and suggest how they could best meet them. In these circumstances, it helps to have as wide a pool as possible to choose from, and to select the chosen company based on how good a fit they are with the company's own requirements and values.
There are some key things to consider when looking at potential TMCs:
Duty of care and out of hours cover – The safety of the travelling employees has to be priority number one. TMCs vary in how they track employees on the road and how often they check in with them, as well as how they handle their out of hours enquiries, if they offer this service.
Service and experience – Which companies on the list provide the best value? It isn't simply a matter of picking the lowest price; different companies will have different offerings. Some TMCs will work across all corporate sectors and others will specialise or have valuable experience with similar companies.
Company values – All organisations have their own culture and corporate values. If these align with the company's, this can form the basis of a long and beneficial partnership. Many RFPs include questions on corporate social responsibility and environmental issues.
What is a Corporate Travel Policy?
Producing a corporate travel policy is a key part of CTM. They can include preferred vendors, hotels and guidance on acceptable travel expenses. Essentially, they set out the standards all business trips must meet and the processes the person booking the travel must follow.
They play an important role in travel safety. If they stipulate that all employees must submit a detailed itinerary of their trip, this allows the company and the TMC to track them and make sure they're safe at all points of their journey. Travel policies that make travel safety training mandatory ensure that every employee on the trip has a grounding in the important topics.
Sometimes travel policies place a limit on the price or rating of hotels in order to keep costs to a minimum. This is a good way of keeping unnecessary expenditure at bay and ensuring accommodation standards are kept regular for all travellers, but it needs to be carefully balanced with making sure all hotels are vetted and up to scratch in terms of health and safety.
Reviewing your Travel Safety Policy
Like all company policies, travel safety policies should be reviewed regularly, including after any changes in circumstances.
Just as the initial writing of the policy should take place with the input of the employees it affects, it should be reviewed in the light of feedback from workers who have returned from their business trip.