All hail the travel manager, the keeper of costs, the controller of compliance and the only person in the office who knows the good, the bad and the ugly of employee spending habits. The travel manager mindfully watches over road warriors as they spend the company’s second-highest annual expense (behind salary and benefits), playing a vital role in managing its strategic approach to travel.
But that management approach varies depending on the type of travel program. So, what kind of travel manager are you?
Between negotiations with vendors and expense report tracking, there is a lot of oversight required of travel managers. And Effective Evelyn wears her oversight responsibilities as a badge of honor.
Were rules made to be broken? Not under Evelyn’s watch. Before a road warrior books a last-minute flight or upgrades on an overseas haul, Evelyn wants to know just how much that’s going to cost. When an employee submits a claim for laundry service for a six-day trip, Evelyn wants three layers of approvals, citing the company’s policy that demands seven days go by before putting stinky socks on the tab.
Evelyn is all about following and respecting the rules. In a top-down travel and expense system, where the top dictates what everyone else down the ladder can or cannot do, Effective Evelyn is conservative and effective. Just don’t expect her to budge in special cases, where rules could be broken.
The Blind Eye Guy
That’s where the Blind Eye Guy shines: broken rules. When it comes to travel policy compliance and keeping track of where his travelers are going, The Blind Eye Guy lets the business traveler call the shots.
Don’t want to turn in your expense report this week? Hey, there are 52 weeks in an entire year, just turn it in another time! Claiming personal items on your report? Who is he to say your spouse’s spa day didn’t help close that deal! You want to book a flight based on your personal preferences, even if we don't have a vendor contract set up? Call me Gumby – take all the flexibility you need.
The Blind Eye Guy is all about rewarding road warriors, even if it means a few less than legitimate expenses slip through the cracks (or chasms). When living in a laissez-faire travel and expense world where employee freedom means more than policy compliance, he’s the best dude to get the job done.
The Zen Master
There is a happy medium between the Blind Eye Guy and Effective Evelyn. Who says you can’t improve compliance without more rules? Who says you can’t provide more flexibility to road warriors while maintaining control and visibility over travel spend? The Zen Master believes that a balanced approach to delighting travelers while promoting compliance brings peace and harmony to travel and expense management.
And as the travel industry embraces open platforms to serve their travel and expense needs, the Master of T&E management is even more effective. Open platforms connect suppliers, customers, travelers, TMCs, developers and everyone in the travel ecosystem works in a more efficient and effective manner. The Zen Master sees an opportunity to increase visibility about where travelers are spending the company’s money and gain insight into booking patterns, leaving the door open for new vendor agreements. He believes the yin of open booking balances the yang of adherence to corporate rules, which leads to a more compliant (and enlightened) team.