What does a day in the life of a travel manager look like? You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that travel managers around the world today are stretched thin across a number of different activities and priorities. From negotiating supplier agreements to setting travel policy to tracking travelers, there is a wide variety of responsibilities tied to the role.

Last year Sabre collaborated with the GBTA Foundation to better understand the dynamics of the travel manager role. It was the most comprehensive research ever conducted to date. The second phase of this research project focuses on what the future holds for the role of the travel manaer.

The all-new Travel Manager 2020 report highlights the key changes to watch for in the evolution of the travel manager. Some of these changes happening to the role are already having a direct impact today while others are more discreet.

One key theme that surfaced in the research is that travel managers expect to be more strategic stakeholders in their organizations moving forward. The study also showed that travel managers expect to be doing more of all of the same activities they perform today. If both managers and their teams are already spread thin, where does this additional time come from? More importantly, how do you become more strategic without changing your day-to-day activities?

Technology stands to play a major part in not only overcoming today’s challenges, but also helping to position travel managers to be successful in tomorrow’s environment. There were three specific areas that surfaced as being especially important to the role today, and going forward.

  1. Data – The research highlights that a small percentage of managers, 35% to be exact, are satisfied with the reporting capabilities currently available to them. Data was also rated by roughly 6 out of 10 travel managers as being one of their most time consuming activities. Leveraging data to analyze and track program performance as well as supplier sourcing topped the list of uses for data and reports.
  2. Mobile – Not surprisingly, 80% of travel managers expect mobility to become a higher priority. The key anticipated applications included mobile booking and itinerary management, as well as potential applications for duty of care.
  3. Payments – While in the past somewhat of a peripheral category to travel, those that are incorporating virtual payments are seeing the value in these new capabilities. Two thirds of travel managers anticipate virtual forms of payment becoming a higher priority, especially for driving policy compliance.

We will be onsite at the 2015 GBTA Convention discussing these topics in our booth (#1125) as well as highlighting three of our latest solutions to help address data, mobility, and payments. Stop by our booth to discuss your ideas and learn more about Prism Avion, TripCase Corporate and Sabre Virtual Payments.

Contact us to learn how to obtain your free copy of the entire research report. You can also find the 2014 research report on the GBTA Hub, or check out our additional commentary and insight published in a follow up white paper.

2015 GBTA booth #1125