According to a study by Amadeus and The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), travel managers do not believe they are under threat from increased software use and strategic sourcing, with 84.3% of respondents seeing their roles continuing into the future.
The overwhelming percentage of those polled believe that the strategic benefits of an experienced travel professional are the perfect complement to technical efficiencies, with the corporate travel manager best placed to oversee the IT capabilities in conjunction with the needs of their company.
The research, which surveyed 123 corporate travel executives in North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, also highlighted that more than 9 out of 10 (92.7%) respondents thought that the increasing technology component of the corporate travel manager function will allow them to devote more time to travel strategy development.
“As technology replaces previously non-automated travel processes, it’s easy to assume there would be less need for the role of the travel manager,” explained one European travel manager, “However, transactions are really only a small part of our role. The increased use of technology has unlocked the potential for corporate travel managers to contribute even more.”
“A corporate travel manager can provide much more value by focusing on the areas such as travel policy compliance, the management process and the safety of their travellers rather than on the logistical elements of making a booking, which are easily managed by a self-booking solution.”
The huge growth in the cost of business travel has already led many companies to automate and streamline their travel management process, with many elements of the traditional role of a corporate travel manager now being made easier by technology.
“The capabilities of IT have enabled corporate travel managers to evolve into taking a more strategic role within their organisation to focus on the part of their job that can really bring value to their employers,” commented Jér™me Destors, Director, e-Travel, the e-commerce division of Amadeus.
“The corporate travel manager is the strategic decision maker who combines a complex mix of understanding the internal dynamics of the company, proficiency in procurement techniques and handling the human aspects of travel to ensure the traveller’s comfort, safety and productivity.”