Categories: Special ReportTravel Buyer Think Tank

Think Tank: Travel Buyer’s POV

This month, the members of the Think Tank team share their points of view on the upcoming year and what the future holds for their programs and the business of travel management.
Happy New Year
So we survived 2018!  What a great year! As we jump into the new year, now is a great time to begin reviewing your travel program – what’s working, what’s not, and most importantly what’s the plan to take your program to the next level? Do you need to focus on your supplier relationships, your travel policy or the traveler experience? Whatever it is it is there are so many opportunities and innovations that the travel buyer can start to integrate into the managed travel program that will enable them to be more nimble, analytical, and a trusted advisor within their organizations. So think about integration of new technologies, taking some risk, and delivering a new level of experience and service into your travel program. It’s a great time to start raising the bar in the corporate travel industry! – Jennifer Steinke

Buyer Burnout
I once had a hotelier innocently asked me what I did the rest of the year after the hotel RFP was done; he went on to say “beyond, like, your air or car RFPs”. In that moment, I learned that, no, I could not murder people with just my brain.  I ran down what we are usually responsible for and the multitudes of directions we are pulled. I talked about duty of care, out of policy approvals and how people who have never worked in our field constantly tell us how we should do our jobs. And to paraphrase Dorian Stonie, “I’ve never heard of a travel department being overstaffed.” We’re tasked with supporting additional verticals, whether we add card, meetings or expense to our workload. My reason for writing about this is, I keep hearing it from my industry colleagues that we’re burned out. I’m constantly in triage mode, trying to figure out what’s the most vital to be done and what can wait. We’re in endless cycles of playing catch-up without ever catching up. And while I feel that I have should have some call to action, all I have is…take your vacation days. Take advantage of the relationships you’ve built and ask for a discounted rate someplace where your phone won’t work – disconnect. Make sure your colleagues do the same. – Rosemary E. Maloney

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