The Institute of Travel Management (ITM) has launched a campaign to help business travel buyers seize a window of opportunity to re-enforce the strategic importance of the travel manager role and remit within their organisation post-pandemic.
Over the last two years, almost all business travel managers assumed unprecedentedly complex additional responsibilities, from disruption management, traveller guidance on Covid travel restrictions, changes to EU travel rules and extensive new levels of reporting, to manging the return to travel that meets duty of care and sustainability goals. As a result, travel managers were brought to the forefront of organisational discussions, often at c-suite level, for the first time. ITM believes buyers must act now to retain this elevated position and recognition of their consultative value in supporting the delivery of their company’s overall business objectives.
ITM has established a ‘Future Role of the Travel Manager’ taskforce of 12 buyer members from diverse industry sectors, who will examine the changing remit and discuss how travel managers can continue to demonstrate value internally within their business and remain at the core of senior management decisions. The taskforce also aims to identify ways to raise awareness across the business travel sector, as well as other industry sectors, of travel management as a profession, in order to attract talent to the role.
The taskforce is scheduled to meet regularly over the next two months at sessions which will be moderated by corporate travel consultancy FESTIVE ROAD’s Louise Kilgannon. FESTIVE ROAD will also bring independent insights to the discussions from the consultancy’s own exploration of the topic.
The campaign will culminate in a webinar sharing the outcome of taskforce discussions and the steps buyers need to take to elevate their position within their business. ITM will also produce a detailed resource with practical guidance for business travel buyer members, as well as cover the topic in buyer knowledge exchange sessions at ITM’s forthcoming ‘Accelerate’ conference in April.
Scott Davies, CEO, ITM explained: “Whilst business travel ground to a virtual halt over the last two years, the corporate travel manager's ‘to do’ list certainly did not; in fact, it increased exponentially. Many travel managers gained an elevated status among senior management, even at board level during this period, and they currently remain central in helping their organisation resume business travel safely and sustainably. Now is the time for travel managers to secure their strategic position within their organisation, demonstrate their value, and educate their c-suite on the travel programme’s core function in supporting and delivering accelerated business goals such as sustainability, employee wellbeing, and DE&I. We have established the ‘Future Role of the Travel Manager’ taskforce to give our buyer members practical support in making the most of this window of opportunity to position themselves as critical to their business in the long term. However, there is also a need to attract and retain talent in the profession. The taskforce will also address this issue and identify ways to raise awareness of the role externally and the benefit it brings to organisations.”
The ‘Future Role of the Travel Manager’ Taskforce members are as follows:
- Alison Rogan, ITM Chair & Global Head of Travel & Expense, Barclay
- Calum Hawley, Global Travel Manager] Endeavour Mining PLC
- Carlos Almendros, Global Procurement Services Leader (Travel) Cisco
- Carol Neil, Global Travel Manager Fidelity International
- Gemma King, Director Corporate Travel – EMEA, APAC, Omnicom Group
- Ian Blackie, EMEA Travel Manager, Bloomberg
- Jon Bolger, Head of Travel, Deloitte UK
- Leila Dunphy, Global Category Manager for Travel & Fleet Eaton Corporation
- Natalie Gardner, Senior Global Travel Manager, Electronic Arts
- Nicholas Nelson, Global Lodgings and EMEIA Developed Markets Travel M&E Leader EY
- Nikki Parsons, Global Director for Travel, Arcadis
- Stephen Lascelles, EMEA & APAC Travel Manager Willis Towers Watson