Travel managers’ role transformed by mobility, virtual payments and data, study reveals

Travel managers’ role transformed by mobility, virtual payments and data, study reveals

Mobility, virtual payments and data are helping to transform the roles and responsibilities of travel managers, according to new research.

Sixty-one per cent of travel managers think that evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role, while 75% expect it to be “very important” in the near future.

A large majority – 86% – reported having responsibilities related to selecting or implementing technology, such as online booking tools, mobile solutions or other travel technology software.

Due to technological advances, 84% foresee their role becoming more strategic in the next three to five years with mobile technology, virtual payments, data collection and analysis all predicted to be a much higher priority in the near future.

Travel managers also report the importance of having accurate, holistic travel data, which helps them to more easily demonstrate the value their program brings to the company.

Seventy per cent say they consider leveraging and analysing travel data to be “very important,” while 82% say it will be “very important” in the near future.

But a third find it challenging to keep up with new technology and only 39% believe business and technology are aligned within their organisation.

Travel managers frequently mentioned solutions related to mobility, especially apps for booking on mobile devices. Mobile technology may also play a greater role in duty of care, where mobility can help with communications and traveller tracking.

Mobile payments are also seen as a field of technology expected to rise.

The results come from a poll of 230 travel managers by the education and research arm of the US-based Global Business Travel Association, sponsored by Sabre.

GBTA research vice president, Joseph Bates, said: “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 organisation.

“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.”

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