The quickly evolving coronavirus crisis has changed the travel landscape in a matter of weeks leaving many companies scrambling to figure out what business travel will look like once we all return to work. One thing that is absolutely clear, as much as they have been in the past, a proactive and informed account manager will be key to a successful travel program moving forward. They will be your trusted advisor helping you manage all the changes to your program. But if you are asking yourself, how do I know that my account manager is set up to help navigate our company through these uncharted waters? We have outlined a few crucial points your account manager should be reaching out to assist you with.  

Reporting: Being able to analyze trends in your program and understand how to best optimize your partnerships for maximize savings is always important, but as we all emerge from self-distancing and begin to travel again, your program is bound to look much different than it did a few months ago.  Having an account manager who will be able to run reports alongside you and help you understand what your ‘new/temporary’ program looks like will not only help you better understand what your trends, but they can also help you use this new data to negotiate new contracts with your suppliers to ensure you are optimizing savings.

Managing Unused Tickets: Some companies will come out of this pandemic with thousands of unused tickets! And without a managed program, and more importantly a knowledgeable account manager by your side, figuring out what to do with all those tickets may be next to impossible.  As policies will vary by airline and may continue to change as companies begin using all their unused tickets, tracking and utilizing those tickets will be paramount to your programs future success. 

Policy Adjustments: With programs and policies with airlines, hotels, and car companies changing by the minute it is next to impossible to keep up and understand the options available to you. And being flexible with your policy when we all return to the skies will be crucial. But what parts of your policy should you be flexible with? Allowing travelers to be a little pickier with the hotel they stay in because they are more comfortable with their sterilization processes may be something to consider, but should you allow them to be as picky with their airline? Maybe. You and your account manager should look at all the options to ensure those policy changes don’t end up costing you in the long run.

Helping You Support Your Travelers: Communication is key! But once we all begin to travel again it will be so important for your travelers to hear from you regularly. Some of them may be hesitant to begin traveling again, and if you make changes to your policy when we emerge, they need to know about it. Work with your account manager to determine what changes need to be announced and how to announce them.

Industry Knowledge and Expertise: Your account manager – and your TMC – should already be communicating with you regularly on developments and changes within the industry. But once things settle and you begin to assess your program, your account manager should work in tandem with you to reevaluate your business plans and use their industry expertise to guide you through the first few months back. From program and policy changes, the latest country travel restrictions, the enhanced technology offerings to help you communicate quickly and efficiently, to policy enhancement options like risk management.

There is no doubt that things will look different when we get back to traveling but having a team of professionals by your side with the knowledge you need to make any changes you require will be essential. And if you find yourself in need of a new TMC – or account manager – World Travel, Inc. is only a phone call away – we would love to help!

Phylicia Sierer

Written by Phylicia Sierer