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The Strategic Travel Manager: Five Takeaways from GBTA Travel Manager 2020

Posted July 31, 2015

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Technology, strategy, and the continuing shift in the roles of a corporate travel manager. These trends, highlighted by a recent study completed by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA Foundation), point to a shift in thinking among travel managers.

The report, Travel Manager 2020, surveyed more than 230 travel managers to better understand their key responsibilities, how technology has changed their role today and, how technology is expected to further change their role in the future.

The findings? Technology is expected to transform the role of the travel manager, and the ability to evaluate and apply technology solutions is critical to their current and future roles.

Among the technologies discussed in the report, three reigned supreme: Mobility, virtual payments and data collection and analysis.

GBTA highlighted five key trends among travel managers in the report:

  • Due to technological advances, the vast majority (84 percent) of Travel Managers predict their role becoming more strategic in the next three to five years. Priority areas include
    • Mobile technology
    • Virtual payments
    • Data collection and analysis
  • Sixty-one percentof Travel Managers currently think that evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role and 75 percent expect it to be “very important” in the near future.
  • Eighty-six percent of Travel Managers reported having responsibilities related to selecting or implementing technology, such as online booking tools, mobile solutions or other travel technology software.
  • Seventy percent of Travel Managers currently say they consider leveraging and analyzing travel data to be “very important,” while a larger proportion – 82 percent – say it will be “very important” in the near future.
  • When discussing the travel technology solutions that will take on a larger priority in the future, Travel Managers frequently mentioned solutions related to mobility. Mobile technology may also play a greater role in duty of care, where mobility can help with communications and traveler tracking.

“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,” said GBTA Vice President of Research Joseph Bates. “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.”

With increased focus on technologies across the spectrum, travel managers will need to keep up with new and changing technology, as well as work to align business goals with technological initiatives.

The report is available here to GBTA members.

For continued coverage on how technology is shaping the lives of those in the travel industry, we would like to invite you to sign up for our WEX Travel E-Newsletter.

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