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Report: Trends Driving Travel Manager Success in 2023

March 16, 2023
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories News,Travel Management

Corporate travel is in a moment of transition, with mounting inflation challenging the return to travel in the post-COVID world. How are travel managers thriving in 2023 despite the numerous complexities they face?

Spotnana partnered with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to delve into how travel managers are working toward success in 2023.

GBTA polled 151 U.S.-based travel managers on their biggest concerns for 2023, how their programs are evolving this year, and the pain points that they need to address.

Here are the top three trends from the report’s findings. You can download the full report here.

Travel managers are worried about inflation, but aren’t cutting back

When travel becomes more expensive, travel managers have to modify their programs to do more with less. Even for those whose travel program is growing, inflationary pressure is the top concern in 2023.

Inflation and rising prices top the list of travel manager concerns, with nearly half (48%) indicating inflation is their greatest challenge this year. Other concerns include possible travel disruptions (23%) and a possible recession (20%). Surprisingly, few cite geopolitical concerns such as the war in Ukraine as their single greatest concern in 2023 (2%). It is clear that concerns over inflation and rising prices have guided the decision-making process for those managing business travel.

Just 19% of travel managers, though, are planning to reduce travel in 2023. Successful travel managers are doing more with the same resources.

Travel managers are spending more time on communication than ever before

Travel managers have experienced significant changes in their daily duties due to the pandemic. 

Traveler communication, managing relationships with travel management companies, and data analysis take up a larger chunk of their time than before the pandemic.

Collaboration is essential for travel managers when it comes to data analysis. When asked to pick the three most important stakeholders for collaboration, finance/accounting (69%), senior leadership/C-Suite (49%), and risk management/ security (44%) were most commonly selected. 

Travel managers often share performance metrics on an as needed basis, rather than at regular intervals. A slight majority of 59% reported regularly sharing reports or performance metrics with the C-Suite on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. An additional 38% provided metrics upon request only.

Travel managers need more robust data analysis tools to better inform the stakeholders in their organization and promote the value of their travel program.

Travel managers need more from their TMCs and OBTs

Travel managers face a variety of pain points with their TMC and OBT partners. 

With their preferred TMCs, the most commonly reported issues surround agent assistance, data analysis/reporting, and customization to address a travel program’s specific needs. 

OBTs, similarly, have difficulties delivering a positive end-user/traveler experience, managing flight changes and cancellations, and staying ahead of the curve in technology innovation. 

For OBTs and TMCs alike, there is a unique opportunity to enhance their offerings in order to alleviate these pain points and provide better experiences to travelers.

By better understanding the needs of travel managers and their travelers, OBTs and TMCs can focus on building modern solutions that go above and beyond expectations.

Spotnana’s Travel-as-a-Service Platform provides unparalleled travel experiences and a suite of next-generation tools that make life easier for travel managers. To learn more about how travel managers are adapting their programs to succeed in 2023, download the full research report or get a demo of Spotnana today.