Posted: August 11, 2015

How to maximize business travel management
Save time and money with these business travel tips.

Whether it's flying across the world to meet a potential new client or taking out a rental car to drive down to corporate headquarters, companies are spending more on business travel than ever before. According to a recent report published by the Global Business Travel Association, spending on business-related travel across the globe is expected to reach a record $1.25 trillion in 2015, a 6.5 percent increase from 2014. Furthermore, spending in this field is expected to continue to rise, as the researchers are already predicting a 6.9 increase on business travel costs for 2016. With so much money and time on the line, making each trip reach its full potential is an essential task for those assigned to corporate travel management duties. Whether it's minimizing overall costs or effectively using new forms of technology, here are a few tips managers should consider to maximize an employee's time during business travel:

Efficient technology use

With a new app or website seemingly popping up with every blink of an eye, knowing the most efficient technology to incorporate in an employee's business travel trip is essential for a variety of reasons. In fact, a survey conducted by the GBTA discovered that 84 percent of business travel managers envision their role as becoming more dependent and strategic when it comes to digital technology use. Joseph Bates, vice president of research with the GBTA, states that business travel managers need to boost their awareness of current technology to stay ahead of what will most likely become a more competitive field in the future.

"Technology is going to become increasingly important for travel managers, as they seek to expand their role and further demonstrate the value that they bring to their organization," Bates said in a recent statement. "This study builds on a similar study we conducted last year, finding that by 2019, technology is expected to fully transform the role of travel managers."

There are many travel apps that can help report expenses to employers or manage flight schedules on the go. There are many travel apps that can report expenses to employers or manage flight schedules on the go.

Much of the implementation of technology into business travel has to do with helping managers keep track of everything from progress reports to expenses. Making sure employees are recording any travel-related expenses they encounter into a shareable app not only keeps you updated on budget expectations, but can also help you see what potential expenses are unnecessary or should be eliminated for future business trips. Other apps allow for business travelers to stay up to date with the latest flight announcements or hotel arrangements, and can also be accessed by the company so everyone is on the same page. Here are our suggestions for essential apps that can help out any employee while they're on the road. 

Two birds, one stone

Whenever there's a chance to make a business trip incorporate multiple purposes, managers should take advantage of such an opportunity. This means being completely aware of the geography of where an employee's travels are taking him or her. If someone is being flown out to a particular city to visit a client, make sure to check if there are any nearby prospects or possible leads within a close proximity that could be worth stopping over for a visit. While certainly not every trip can be this effective, staying on top of untapped clients' locations will help ensure that when the possibility arises, your company is there to make a move on it.

"Having companies make travel arrangements frees up time for other responsibilities."

Collaborate with travel manager companies

Sometimes, eliminating a few chores from your daily tasks can not only be worth the investment, but can also save your company business travel costs. Using the services of travel manager companies to help you save more on everything from plane tickets to booking meeting rooms might be worth you and your company's time to ensure that you're getting the best deals for your employees' travels. Having professionals take care of these specific necessities also frees up more time for you and your team to review any notes or data that will best serve for whatever reason you're booking the trip in the first place.

Communicate with employees

While a manager's role centers around helping employees prepare for and make the most of their business travels, sometimes stepping back from an authoritative perspective and communicating with them one-on-one can be in both of your best interests. These people, after all, are the ones on the road or at the front lines of a business trip, so be sure to ask them for their input when it comes to how they believe business travel costs and tasks can be best managed. Engaging them more will also help them feel involved and in-the-know, which can also work to boost motivation and employee satisfaction.

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