What Is Travel Management?

by Anne Kinsey

Published on 13 Jun 2019

Travel management services and policies help to ensure that departments and employees spend wisely while away for business travel, whether to attend meetings, conferences or visit another corporate office. Travel costs and expenses often make up a sizable portion of a corporation's annual budget, so having a solid strategy is crucial to protecting the bottom line. Though travel is often necessary, there are ways to secure lower prices to make it as economical as possible.

Travel Management Definition

Travel management is the process of securing the lowest possible rates for corporate travel, as well as tracking employee expenses on meals, ground transportation, lodging and other necessities. Companies can do this internally through the accounting or human resources department. Alternately, they might outsource this responsibility to a travel management company.

Travel Management Meaning and Application

The application of travel management services and planning means spending time negotiating rates or contracts with airlines, hotel chains and car rental companies. It includes the process of reviewing employee receipts and claims for travel reimbursement, as well as the distribution of vouchers, maintenance of a travel management website and looking for ways to reduce corporate travel expenses.

Internal Travel Management Services

If your company chooses to go the internal travel management services route, you will need to choose which department and personnel will be responsible for overseeing policies, procedures, bookings and employee reimbursement. When handled internally, sometimes employees are responsible for booking their own hotels, choosing restaurants, car rental companies and more. As they travel, they must keep track of all receipts and expenses and then turn them in to the appropriate internal parties for reimbursement. Other times, employees book travel through a special company website that automatically ensures that flights, hotels and other expenses remain within company policies for budget and brand.

External Travel Management Services 

While managing travel internally initially makes sense for a small and growing company, as a business grows, travel management can become too unwieldy to keep internal. External travel management services remove this pressure from a business so they can focus on what they do best. Travel management companies act as travel agents who negotiate the lowest prices and contracts with airlines, hotel chains, car rental companies and more.

External travel management services can be as simple as an externally created travel website that automatically facilitates and tracks employee bookings or expenses. It can also be as involved as having a specialized concierge available to each employee to arrange travel plans, hotel lounge access, car service and more.

Negotiating Hotel Costs

Finding or negotiating the best hotel costs is a vital part of the travel management process, as lodging can easily become more expensive than airfare. Many companies require employees to adhere to a hotel chain list, as well as booking a room within a certain price range. The lower the hotel cost, the more money is available in the budget to cover things like dining and ground transportation. Companies who practice internal travel management typically use the same booking websites as the general public, while travel management companies have access to special rates as travel agents.

Finding Ground Transportation

In travel management, ground transportation includes things like Uber, taxis, Lyft, shuttles, car services, car rental companies, subway fees and more. Your company's travel budget will dictate which of these services are covered expenses and which ones are not, as well as how much the company is willing to reimburse. For instance, when a free hotel shuttle is available from the airport to the hotel, your company may choose to decline reimbursement for a car service. Special deals are often negotiated with certain ground transportation chains and employees must use those services in order to receive reimbursement.

Air Travel Options

Like with hotels and ground transportation, travel management services and policies often stipulate which airlines employees book travel with, as well as what class they may book. Different cost requirements are often in place, depending on your business travel destination and the time of day you must travel. Flights might be booked through a special website, or employees could be on their own to book airfare and then submit receipts to the appropriate internal or external travel management parties.

Meal Expenses and Per Diem

While companies are not required to provide money for meal expenses, many choose to provide this service as a way of taking care of their employees without burdening them unduly. The amount allowed for meal expenses is usually part of the employee's per diem. Per diem is Latin for "per day" and it typically includes things like meals, hotel and ground travel.

For instance, your company might allot $325 per day in travel expenses. This is the per diem and the employee is responsible for figuring out how to budget that. If employees choose economical hotels and car rental options, there might be quite a bit of budgetary wiggle room for eating out. Some travel management companies work with businesses to specify a dining cap in order to prevent overspending on company-funded meals.

Meetings and Events

Many companies include continuing education expenses as part of their travel budget so that employees can take part in special meetings and events. Other times, a corporation hosts a large conference or meeting and a travel management company helps to negotiate low block rates for rooms, book meeting venues, coordinate ground transportation services and more. Sometimes, these services are easily booked through a travel management website and other times an agent must book accommodations for each individual. Some ground transportation shuttles and services may not require client booking at all.

Paying for Travel Expenses

Sometimes employees are required to pay for travel expenses on their own dime and then submit receipts for reimbursement. This can be financially burdensome, so some companies arrange for company credit cards that can be used for travel expenses. Employees are still responsible for submitting travel receipts to the proper internal or external travel management parties, but will not be responsible for footing any of the cost as long as they only spent on approved expenses. Most companies have a way to submit a travel expense report, either online or on paper.

Reducing Corporate Travel Expenses

Small businesses often save money by managing their own travel policies and services, but as they grow it becomes impractical to pay staff to manage travel details for hundreds or thousands of employees. In this case, it is often more economical to partner with a travel management company who can obtain travel agent rates for everything from airfare to airport lounges and hotels, car rental services and more.

For companies who manage their own travel expenses, there are often cost benefits to considering the following:

  • Mid-tier hotels instead of high-end hotels.
  • Mid-size rental cars rather than sedans.
  • Budget airlines.
  • No first-class bookings.
  • Less expensive destinations.

For an idea of what a budget-conscious per diem might look like, the U.S. General Services Administration has a searchable travel management website of destinations that breaks down per diem expenses by hotel, meals and car rental. For a more middle-of-the-road cost option, Business Travel News compiles a yearly Corporate Travel Index that lists the average price of hotels, rental cars and meals in a variety of popular business destinations.

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What Is Corporate Travel Management?

Things to consider in corporate travel management, options for corporate travel management.

  • Challenges of Corporate Travel Management

Tips for Creating a Corporate Travel Management Policy

Budgeting and reducing costs for corporate travel, the bottom line.

  • Corporate Finance

A Complete Guide to Corporate Travel Management

Organize Your Employees’ Travel Itineraries and Manage Business Travel Efficiently

meaning of travel management

Travel is a major expense item for many companies, and while teleconferencing via Zoom and other online platforms may have eliminated the need for some trips, it remains essential for a wide range of business purposes, such as industry conferences and trade shows, critical sales calls, and certain meetings.

Corporate travel management (CTM) is one way that companies large and small can attempt to control and cut down on their travel costs. If you’re considering implementing a corporate travel management program for your business, here is what you need to know about how it works.

Key Takeaways

  • Corporate travel management is a way for companies to try to control their travel costs and cut back on them if necessary.
  • Some companies handle this function themselves, while others outsource it to specialist companies.
  • Corporate travel managers can be involved in setting itineraries, booking flights and hotel rooms, and managing other travel-related costs.
  • Today, many companies are concerned with not only the financial costs of employee travel but also its environmental impact.

Corporate travel management refers to processes that businesses put into place to oversee their employees’ travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses and ensure that they comply with the company’s policies. That can include approving (or rejecting) travel plans, arranging itineraries, purchasing tickets, and auditing expense reports.

A large company might have a separate department dedicated to corporate travel management, while a smaller one may assign the tasks to their human resources and accounting departments. Still others may outsource these functions to third-party travel management companies.

While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant cutbacks in business travel, an October 2023 survey by the Global Business Travel Association found that 84% of companies said their business travel had “largely” or “mostly” returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Companies can choose to exert varying degrees of control over their employees’ travel, from fairly general guidelines on spending limits to very specific, step-by-step procedures, including which travel suppliers to use. Here are some of the matters they may take into consideration.


A business travel itinerary is a summary of a proposed trip, including travel dates and times, flight numbers, hotel bookings, meeting appointments and contact information, and so forth. Corporate travel managers may develop itineraries in collaboration with employees, making sure that each aspect complies with company policies. A written itinerary is also a handy reference for employees to bring with them on their trips.


Corporate travel managers will often make transportation arrangements on behalf of employees, much like a travel agent might for someone’s personal vacation. Because they may control a high volume of business, they can have more leverage in negotiating with suppliers, such as airlines or rental car companies. They may also have special arrangements with certain suppliers, and the company might require its employees to use those suppliers whenever possible.

Even if they don’t have such arrangements in place or much power to negotiate prices, they may have tools at their disposal for searching out deals and discounts that individual employees don’t have. For example, they may have access to an online global distribution system (GDS), such as Amadeus, Sabre, or Travelport, allowing them to compare multiple carriers at the same time.


As with transportation providers, corporate travel managers can help arrange hotel bookings, often securing discounts that would be unavailable to employees individually. Hotel prices and availability are also provided on GDS platforms, which can save employees a lot of time and effort calling around to book a room.

Meetings and Events

For companies planning meetings and other events, corporate travel managers can book venues and assist attendees with their travel arrangements. Some companies may have separate travel management and event planning departments or merge the two into a single department. They can also farm out these functions to third-party companies that specialize in arranging events and have deep experience and contacts in that area.

Costs and Reporting

Since keeping costs under control is a major reason for implementing a corporate travel management program, setting spending policies and enforcing them is one of the managers’ key responsibilities. Employees must generally submit expense reports at the conclusion of their travel, which travel managers can then review.

Keeping accurate records, and receipts where necessary, is also important for tax reporting purposes. Companies can generally deduct employees’ travel expenses if they have a clear business purpose and are “ordinary and necessary” and not “lavish or extravagant.”

In many cases, companies will provide corporate credit cards for employees to use during their travels. Corporate credit cards can make it easier for companies to collect the information they need for reporting purposes, and spare employees the cost and bother of putting travel expenses on their own credit cards and having to wait for reimbursement.

Policy Compliance

Most companies of any size will have a written travel policy that they expect their employees who travel for business to become familiar with. This document will cover matters such as any required approval process before starting on a trip, spending limits, preferred travel suppliers, expenses that are reimbursable (or not), rules on the use of a corporate credit card, and how to fill out and submit an expense report at the conclusion of a trip. Written travel policies serve the dual purpose of controlling company costs and saving employees unwelcome surprises over expenses that the company won’t reimburse them for.

Beyond specific travel-related policies, corporate travel can be affected by broader company policies. For example, a 2023 Deloitte study reported, “Climate concerns will likely put a cap on corporate travel gains for several years to come. Four in 10 European companies and a third of U.S. companies say they need to reduce travel per employee by more than 20% to meet their 2030 sustainability targets.”

Travel Support and Assistance

In addition to helping employees with the logistical and financial aspects of travel, corporate travel managers can provide other forms of support, including help in a medical or other emergency. Many large corporate travel departments and third-party companies have support services available 24/7, just in case.

As mentioned, companies don’t have to take on all (or any) of these responsibilities themselves but can hire another company to handle it for them. While that represents an added cost, a company that specializes in corporate travel is likely to bring greater expertise to the role and may find cost savings that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Companies can also buy travel management software programs that allow employees to book their own travel arrangements and that may link to the company’s accounting software to simplify expense reporting. Such software can also flag and even reject any expenses that don’t comply with company rules.

If they don’t have access to professional GDS platforms, travel managers can also make use of regular consumer booking sites, such as Expedia and TripAdvisor.

Challenges of Corporate Travel Management 

While corporate travel management will often benefit a company from a financial perspective, it does present challenges.

For example, because it takes away some of the autonomy that employees may have become accustomed to in planning their own trips, it can cause them to feel mistrusted or micromanaged and make travel seem like more of a burden. In addition, for corporate travel management to be effective, it requires that the people who oversee it know what they’re doing, which may require not only training but also frequent refresher courses to keep up with the rapidly changing travel industry.

A good corporate travel management policy will lay out as specifically as possible the company’s rules for arranging flights and other transportation, booking hotel accommodations, and expensing other reimbursable travel-related costs, such as meals and entertaining. Any caps on costs should be regularly revisited and revised as necessary to keep up with inflation and changes in the marketplace.

The policy should describe a clear process for having travel approved in advance, if that’s required, and submitting expense reports after the trip for timely reimbursement.

An effective policy will also strive to avoid situations in which lower-level employees feel they are subject to stricter or more penny-pinching rules than higher-ups.

Finally, it’s important that employees be encouraged to read the policy and know the rules. They may also be given the opportunity to provide feedback on ways that the rules can be improved next time the policy is revised.

Corporate travel managers not only play a role in monitoring how a company’s money is being spent and looking for ways to cut its costs. They also often have a major say in setting the company’s annual travel budget, based on previous years’ needs and anticipated pricing changes throughout the travel industry.

Today that may involve weighing in on when a virtual meeting can substitute for an in-person one. A 2023 Morgan Stanley survey of 100 global corporate travel managers found that they planned to replace 17% of their corporate travel with virtual meetings in 2024 for reasons “ranging from cost savings to lower carbon footprints.”   

Why Is Corporate Travel Important?

While many companies learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that they could sometimes substitute virtual meetings for in-person ones, they have also found that travel can more than justify its cost in many instances . As Harvard Business School Associate Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury remarked in a recent interview on the university’s website, “Even in a hybrid world, even in a world of work-from-anywhere, we still need to occasionally meet colleagues in person for social purposes.” In addition, face-to-face meetings can help establish more profitable and productive relationships with a company’s key customers and suppliers.

Who Handles Corporate Travel?

Companies handle corporate travel in a variety of ways. Many have created internal departments dedicated to corporate travel management, while others outsource that role. However, many companies still leave most of the decisions to individual employees. One 2023 survey by Morning Consult Research Intelligence reported, “Over half (51%) of those who travel frequently for work book on their own using a platform of their choice.”

What Does Corporate Travel Include?

Corporate travel can include both domestic and international trips that have a business purpose. It generally doesn’t include employees’ everyday commuting. Commuting costs are not tax-deductible for employees, but companies can choose to subsidize them up to certain limits through what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calls qualified transportation benefits. Those benefits are not taxable to the employee, but the employer doesn’t get any tax deduction for providing them.

Corporate travel is expensive, but many companies find that its benefits outweigh the costs. Corporate travel management is one way that companies can try to keep those costs under control and get the most value from their travel budgets. While many companies have embraced corporate travel management programs, others still leave most decisions to their individual employees.

Global Business Travel Association. “ Global Business Travel Industry Sees Rebound in 2023 with Shifting Challenges and Opportunities for 2024 .”

American Express. “ What Is Corporate Travel Management and Why Do You Need It? ”

Internal Revenue Service. “ Topic No. 511, Business Travel Expenses .”

Deloitte. “ Navigating Toward a New Normal: 2023 Deloitte Corporate Travel Study .”

Oracle NetSuite. “ What Is Corporate Travel Management? ”

Morgan Stanley. “ 2023 Outlook: Business Travel Bounces Back .”

Harvard Business School. “ Why Business Travel Still Matters in a Zoom World .”

Morning Consult Research Intelligence. “ Business, but Not as Usual ,” Page 18.

Internal Revenue Service. “ Publication 15-B: Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits ,” Page 22.

meaning of travel management

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What Is Corporate Travel Management?

corporate travel management

Corporate travel management addresses all functions associated with supporting business travel for employees, customers, vendors and business partners. Companies may rely on in-house corporate travel management teams, travel agencies, online booking tools or any combination of those options to perform these functions. Corporate travel management policies create or enforce meeting and travel procedures while passing along travel data to accounting and finance systems and teams.

How Does Corporate Travel Management Work?

In addition to ensuring employees comply with a company’s travel policy, corporate travel management supports other tasks such as arranging business trips, establishing preferred arrangements with carriers (airlines, rental car companies, etc.) and hospitality providers, and issuing real-time reports that relay travel spend to accounting departments and other corporate stakeholders.

Why Is Corporate Travel Management Important?

Business travel management plays a key role in helping companies get the most out of their travel budgets by ensuring they are not overpaying for transportation and accommodations. It also establishes how employees arrange business trips and ensures all travel spend is allocated in the best interest of the company. A well-managed corporate travel program is also important to ensure traveler safety.

What Tasks Fall Under Travel Management?

Itineraries, accommodations, transportation.

  • Meeting & Events
  • Costs & Policy Compliance

Travel Support

  • Reporting & Data Analysis

Companies have different approaches when it comes to how employees create itineraries for their business trips. Considerations include cost, balanced with an employee’s business responsibilities and the company’s travel polices. In most cases, employees now use online booking tools to create their own itineraries. Some larger companies may have personnel or travel agency resources to create itineraries for senior leaders or those who travel frequently. Companies with a corporate travel program can configure travel management software with online booking tools to ensure travelers create itineraries that meet the firm’s travel guidelines while providing a mechanism for trip approval and the reporting of travel and expenses.

Corporate travel management is responsible for keeping costs in check, as travel prices are notoriously variable. Optimizing pricing can have a measurable impact on maintaining budgets and help companies fund more business trips without significantly expanding the budget. Corporate travel management can set guidelines for how much employees can spend on various travel costs, based on reasonable and customary prices in a given locale.

Some companies negotiate prices with certain providers, while others rely on agencies and other third parties who may have more leverage. Some might rely on both internal teams and a travel management company. Where it makes sense, companies should also leverage any business client relationships they may have with those who provide transportation, hospitality or other travel support functions.

Lodging costs are cyclical depending on economic conditions, location, time of year and other factors. The cost of accommodations also varies considerably throughout the world. Thus, corporate travel management may negotiate prices with major hotel chains or those who provide alternative accommodations such as Airbnb —or oversee an agency who does so. In addition to costs, businesses should consider accommodations that meet employees’ business needs and have favorable cancelation polices or are willing to waive certain fees.

When it comes to transportation, corporate travel management plays several roles, including determining the best mode of transportation for a given destination. It is the conduit through which employees make their arrangements with preferred carriers and ensures transportation arrangements comply with company polices.

Meetings and Events

Companies that host their own meetings and events need resources with which to book restaurants, hotels, convention centers or other venues that can accommodate everything from small executive meetings to large conferences. A corporate travel management team or tool facilitates these bookings.

For important meetings and events, the team will scout various venues and ensure each can meet the needs and budgets of a meeting or event. If it’s a major gathering that will bring together customers, investors or other influential stakeholders, corporate travel management teams will visit the venue. Besides evaluating the meeting facility, the team will ensure the surrounding accommodations and logistics are suitable.

Costs and Policy Compliance

Many companies require corporate travel management to not only set cost thresholds but also track and enforce employees comply with them. Ideally, corporate travel management ties compliance to reimbursement policies. Moreover, its systems should prevent employees from making arrangements that fail to meet the company’s policies.

Because circumstances at times may necessitate exceptions, corporate travel management should have flexible approval mechanisms. Many businesses also issue a corporate credit card, which allows for better tracking of travel and expenses, simplified travel booking, faster reimbursement and access to real-time data regarding employees’ costs.

Sometimes, corporate travel management teams will serve as a conduit between employees, their supervisors and accounts payable. Larger organizations may outsource this role to travel agencies, such as American Express , which have sophisticated travel management platforms. Some organizations will provide higher levels of support, such as arranging for transportation to airports, making dinner reservations or serving as a liaison to travelers when they need assistance. In both scenarios, other than top executives and VIP guests, employees are increasingly expected to rely on self-service tools to address common travel needs.

Reporting and Data Analysis

Corporate travel management must report all travel expenses to accounting. Finance departments use that information to not only track expenses incurred during an accounting period but also inform current and forward-looking budgets and forecasts.

Automated Travel Management vs. Hiring a Travel Manager

Until recently, companies had to decide whether to hire people to support and manage travel or to rely on outside agencies to oversee those functions and then let accounts payable departments enforce policies when reimbursing employee expenses. While some companies choose one or the other and others go with a blend of both, nowadays companies have the option to automate much of the travel management process.

Some business management platforms, for example, offer corporate travel management capabilities. Many of the leading platforms have features including expense management , analytics , client management and project management , which together serve to automate travel management. These platforms also give accounting teams real-time information on travel’s impact on financial performance.

How Is AI Changing the Travel Management Landscape?

Business travelers are now actively using tools to automate travel management. With recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), they can now book a business trip with online booking tools even faster. For example, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is among the firms using AI to automate business travel planning. The global travel agency now has a recommendation engine that uses a traveler’s history to help find suitable accommodations when planning a trip.

But it is not just the giant travel agencies that are using AI to help automate business travel booking and related processes. Airlines, hotel operators and car rental agencies have started introducing chatbots to address routine inquires and issues. People are using voice commands for recommendations and to place reservations. These technologies are starting to appear in workforce automation, help desk and other business process management systems to enable increased self-service to routine processes.

The true potential of AI for corporate travel management comes from using all the data amassed by travelers to eliminate as many tasks in the planning of trips as possible, according to Travel & Hospitality magazine.

By analyzing how travelers across companies behave in creating their itineraries, AI automation tools can become more precise in predicting preferences, according to the report . “When preferences can be catered to without even asking for them, search time is heavily reduced, and traction is increased. Even shifts in traveler partners can be detected beforehand while negotiating with properties. Ultimately, an AI-powered recommendation mechanism could eliminate the dependence on potential complications of last-minute changes.”

Challenges of Corporate Travel Management

  • Employee desire for flexibility and comfort can conflict with a company’s efforts to manage costs.
  • Services that were once included in the cost of airfare or a hotel booking may now cost extra, creating disparities in company policies.
  • Escalating cancellation or change fees are costly if employees make errors when booking.
  • Company polices can often limit employees’ ability to choose lower-cost services that they discover on their own.
  • Many companies still lack ways to calibrate the needs of the business with costs and changing business conditions when it comes to travel.
  • Accounts payable policies are not always aligned with corporate travel management. The reimbursement process is very manual and requires significant resources to review and verify receipts for travel expenses.

How to Institute a Travel Management Policy

Every company should have a documented travel management policy and one that they enforce. The policy should be reasonable and ideally put together with input from employees who frequently travel. Gathering that input will reduce non-compliance, which by various accounts is high. Corporate travel surveys show more than half don’t understand or meet their companies’ travel policies. The Society of Human Resource Management, a non-profit trade association for HR professionals created a template that offers a baseline policy that companies can adjust to meet their own compliance requirements and what leadership believe fits within their organization’s best practices.

Trends in Corporate Travel Management

Business travelers expect every aspect of their trips to be accessible from their phones and their computers. Gone are the days of calling a travel agent to book their travel and submitting manual expense reports.

Businesses that can integrate all of the information pertaining to the planning of trips, expenses and how employees spend their time on the road are better positioned to determine the value they are receiving.

Improvements in technology and advances in AI are helping companies ensure they are receiving the most competitive rates, more flexibility and better visibility.

Improve Expense Management Efficiency

Best Tools for Corporate Travel Management

Many companies expend significant resources on corporate travel for business development, sales and marketing. Besides widely variable travel expenses, there’s a cost in terms of human capital management—organizations that use modern corporate travel management tools effectively are better positioned to get higher ROI.

Ideally, organizations should ensure their corporate travel management solutions are integrated with, or include, expense and vendor management systems. Likewise, organizations should integrate corporate travel management with core financial management and accounting platforms and resource and planning solutions.

On the front end, tracking expenses for travel has become easier now that employees can use their mobile devices to scan receipts when they receive them. As a result, many organizations have simplified their formerly paper-intensive expense management processes.

Accordingly, companies should make sure their expense management solution includes configurable mobile apps that can scan receipts and allow employees to easily itemize and categorize each expense.

Tools that can track polices will automatically reject unallowed expenses. The platform should offer flexible and configurable workflows that can avoid bottlenecks that delay approvals. The best expense management tools also offer connectivity with ERP, project management, accounting, billing, and analytics systems.

Travel expense management solutions that offer certified integration with leading platforms and help organizations reduce the amount of data entry among those in accounts payable departments. Likewise, they make it easier for employees to compile expense data, especially those that provide integration with approved credit card providers.

Financial Management

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What are the functions of a travel management company?

There are so many functions of a travel management company but what is right for your company? Get all the tips and low-down on TMCs.

By Jessica Freedman

February 7, 2024

functions of a travel management company

In the dynamic landscape of today’s global business environment, business travel is an essential component for companies looking to expand their reach and build international connections. With the growing complexity of travel logistics, ensuring smooth and cost-effective business trips has become a real challenge.

This is where travel management companies (TMCs) come in as invaluable partners, offering a range of services to simplify business travel operations . In this post, we will highlight the importance of business travel management, explain the functions of a travel management company, and explore why companies, regardless of size, can benefit from this kind of expertise.

The importance of corporate travel management

Business travel is not just about employees traveling around the world; it is a strategic tool that promotes business growth, customer loyalty and collaboration. Effective business travel management is critical for optimizing expenses, increasing employee productivity and ensuring compliance with company policies.

A well-managed travel program can contribute to a company’s overall success, which is critical for organizations to pursue robust travel strategies.

What is a travel management company?

Travel management companies (TMC) are specialized organizations that help companies manage and optimize their business travel activities. TMCs provide end-to-end solutions that include a wide range of services to simplify travel planning, spend management and travel compliance. They leverage technology, industry expertise and global networks to create seamless business travel experiences for their customers.

The roles of a TMC

1. take care of travel bookings.

At the heart of a TMC’s responsibilities is the management of business travel bookings. TMCs use advanced booking systems and partnerships with airlines, hotels and other service providers to secure the best deals for their customers. By centralizing the booking process, TMCs ensure a standardized approach and compliance with corporate travel policies, enabling organizations to optimize costs and track expenses effectively.

2. Manage travel spend & expense management

Controlling travel spending is an ongoing challenge for companies. TMCs play a crucial role in managing travel expenses by implementing robust expense management systems. These systems automate the reimbursement process, provide real-time insights into travel expenses, and make it easier to enforce travel policies. Through comprehensive reporting and analysis, TMCs enable companies to make informed decisions about their travel budgets.

3. Help fulfill duty of care

The safety and well-being of employees on business trips is a legal and moral obligation for companies. TMCs help meet this duty of care by providing risk management services. From tracking employee travel plans to providing emergency support, TMCs help take a proactive approach to managing potential risks and ensuring employees are supported and adequately protected during their travels.

4. Improve travel compliance

Establishing and enforcing a robust travel policy is critical to controlling costs and maintaining consistency across an organization. TMCs help companies develop and implement effective travel policies and ensure employees comply with guidelines and restrictions. By automating compliance checks, TMCs contribute to a culture of responsible travel and align individual decisions with corporate goals.

offline support

5. Providing 24/7 support

Business travel happens around the clock and unforeseen challenges can arise at any time. TMCs understand the importance of ongoing support and often offer 24/7 assistance to travelers. Whether it’s rebooking flights due to cancellations, dealing with emergencies or providing travel advice, TMCs ensure that customers and their employees have access to reliable support at all times.

How do large companies manage travel?

Large companies often have complex travel requirements with numerous employees traveling to different destinations at the same time. To address these complexities, many large organizations are opting for comprehensive travel management solutions provided by TMCs. These companies leverage TMCs’ expertise to centralize travel bookings, control costs and ensure compliance with corporate policies.

What’s a good way for all companies to manage travel?

No matter the size of your business, an efficient travel management solution is crucial. While large corporations benefit from comprehensive TMC services, smaller companies can take a more scalable approach. Implementing an online booking tool is a practical and cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes, providing a simplified way to manage travel arrangements while controlling expenses.

Online booking tools enable organizations to gain control of their travel management processes. These tools provide a user-friendly platform where employees can make their own travel arrangements within the parameters set by the company. This not only simplifies the booking process but also increases transparency and accountability.

Online booking tools offer features such as policy enforcement, real-time reporting, and integration with expense management systems, making them a versatile solution for companies looking to streamline their travel processes.

The difference between a TMC and online booking tools

Although both TMCs and online booking tools contribute to effective travel management, they serve different purposes and cover different needs. TMCs offer a comprehensive range of services including strategic advice, expense management, risk mitigation and personal support. On the other hand, online booking tools mainly focus on simplifying the booking process and providing a self-service platform for employees to make their travel arrangements within predefined guidelines.

Why does your business need a corporate travel company?

The need for a travel management company arises from the increasing complexity and challenges associated with business travel. TMCs bring a level of expertise and efficiency that goes beyond what individual employees or internal travel coordinators can achieve. Here are some compelling reasons why your business needs a travel management company:

TMCs leverage their industry connections and bargaining power to secure the best deals on travel-related services and optimize costs for their customers.

Outsourcing travel management to a TMC frees up valuable time for employees and allows them to focus on their core responsibilities, which in turn increases overall productivity.

 TMCs help organizations develop and enforce travel policies and ensure employees comply with guidelines and restrictions to minimize risk and ensure consistency.

TMCs play a critical role in fulfilling a company’s due diligence by providing risk management services and 24/7 support to employees while traveling.

For companies with international operations, TMCs offer global expertise and local knowledge to enable seamless business travel experiences across different regions.

TMCs leverage advanced technologies to provide integrated solutions from online booking tools to expense management systems, ensuring a cohesive travel management experience.

In the fast-paced world of business travel, effective business travel management is of strategic importance. Travel management companies play a critical role in simplifying travel logistics, optimizing costs and ensuring employee well-being while on the move. Regardless of whether you work for a large company or an SME , using a TMC like GetGoing can make all the difference in staying competitive and reducing the workload on your employees.

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meaning of travel management

What is a Travel Management Company? TMC Explained

what is a travel management company

If you’re a business owner or manager, you know how important it is to keep your team productive and your expenses under control. Without knowing fully what is a travel management company and the services offered by these companies it can be impossible to fully streamline your is business travel operations and manage your expenses. That’s where a tmc comes in.

Generally, a tmc provides a range of services that can help your business save time and money. They can help you create a travel policy on your first business travel that fits your needs, book flights, hotels, and rental cars, and provide 24/7 support to your employees while on the road.

What is a Travel Management Company?

A travel management company (TMC) is a professional service provider that specialises in managing all aspects of corporate travel, from booking flights and hotels to arranging ground transportation and managing expenses.

The best travel management agencies help businesses of all sizes and types to streamline their travel processes, reduce costs, and ensure the safety and well-being of their employees while on the road.

Major Role of a Travel Management Company

The role of a TMC is to act as a one-stop shop for all of your travel needs. They work closely with your company to understand your specific requirements, and corporate travel and expense policies , and then use their expertise and industry connections to find the best deals and options for your business.

This includes negotiating special rates with airlines, hotels, and car rental companies, which can result in significant cost savings on business travel for your company.

In addition to managing your travel bookings, TMCs also provide a range of value-added services to help you optimize your travel program. This includes providing detailed reporting and analytics on your travel spending.

This helps you to identify areas where you can save money, and provide duty of care support to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees while on the road.

Overall, the role of a TMC is to simplify and streamline your travel program, so you can focus on running your business. By partnering with a TMC, you can benefit from their expertise, industry connections, and technology solutions to optimize your travel program and achieve your business goals.

Core Services Provided by Travel Management Companies

Here are some of the core services provided by TMCs:

Travel Booking and Reservations

One of the primary services provided by these companies is travel booking and reservations. TMCs have access to a wide range of travel options, including flights, hotels/serviced apartments, car rentals, and more.

The top corporate travel management companies can help you find the best deals and ensure that your travel arrangements meet your specific needs.

TMCs can also provide 24/7 support for travel emergencies. If you encounter any issues while travelling, you can contact your TMC for assistance.

Travel Policy Development and Compliance

TMCs can help you develop and implement a travel policy that meets your business needs and complies with any relevant regulations. They can guide you on issues such as travel expenses, travel safety, and more.

By working with a TMC, you can ensure that your travel policy is up-to-date and that your employees are following it. This can help you control costs and reduce the risk of travel-related incidents.

Expense Management and Reporting

Another key service provided is expense management and reporting. TMCs can help you track your travel expenses and provide detailed reports on your travel spending.

This can help you identify areas where you can save money on travel and ensure that your travel expenses are within budget. They can also help you streamline your expense reporting process, making it easier for you to manage your travel expenses.

Benefits of Using a Travel Management Company

Here are some key advantages of using a TMC:

Cost Savings and Budget Optimisation

One of the most significant benefits of using a TMC is the potential for cost savings and budget optimisation. TMCs have access to negotiated rates and discounts with airlines, hotels, and car rental companies.

They can also help you find the most cost-effective options for your travel needs.

In addition, TMCs can provide detailed reporting and analysis of your travel expenses, allowing you to identify areas where you can cut costs and optimise your travel budget.

Streamlined Travel Processes

Another advantage of using a TMC is the streamlined travel processes they offer. TMCs provide a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs, from booking flights and hotels to arranging ground transportation and managing travel itineraries.

By automating different travel components into one online booking platform, TMCs make the booking process more efficient and easier to manage.

This saves your employees valuable time and allows them to focus on their core responsibilities.

Enhanced Duty of Care

TMCs can also help you ensure the safety and well-being of your employees while they are travelling. TMCs provide 24/7 assistance, so your employees can get help with any travel-related issues or emergencies at any time.

In addition, TMCs can help you stay up-to-date with travel advisories and alerts, so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans.

This can help you mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of your employees while they are on the road.

Choosing the Right Travel Management Company

Here are some factors to consider:

Assessment of Needs

Before selecting a TMC, you need to assess your business travel needs. Consider factors such as the number of employees who travel, the frequency of travel, and the destinations they visit.

You may also want to consider your company’s travel policy and budget. Knowing your needs will help you find a TMC that can meet them.

Service and Support Evaluation

The quality of service and support provided by a TMC is crucial. Look for a TMC that offers 24/7 customer support and has a dedicated account manager for your business.

You should also consider the TMC’s experience in your industry and their reputation for customer service. Reading reviews and testimonials from other clients can give you an idea of their level of service.

Technology and Integration Capabilities

A good TMC should have technology that integrates with your company’s booking and expense systems. Look for one that offers a user-friendly online booking platform and mobile app.

The TMC should also have the ability to track and report on travel expenses and provide insights into your company’s travel spending. Integration with your company’s travel policy and approval process is also important.

Trends and Future of Travel Management

As technology advances and travel becomes more accessible, the role of travel management companies is evolving too. Here are some trends and predictions for the future of travel management:

Increased Use of Technology

TMCs are becoming more tech-savvy, with many offering online booking tools and mobile apps to make travel planning more convenient.

This trend is expected to continue, with TMCs investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide more personalised and efficient travel solutions.

Greater Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to businesses and travellers alike, and TMCs are responding by offering more eco-friendly and sustainable travel options.

This includes promoting public transport, offering carbon offsetting schemes, and partnering with hotels and airlines that prioritise sustainability.

Emphasis on Duty of Care

As the world becomes more unpredictable, duty of care is becoming a top priority for businesses.

TMCs are responding by offering enhanced safety and security measures, including real-time travel alerts, 24/7 support, and risk management services.

Rise of Bleisure Travel

Bleisure travel, or combining business and leisure travel, is becoming more popular among employees.

Travel management companies are responding by offering more flexible travel options, such as extending business trips to include weekends or offering personalised travel itineraries that include leisure activities.

Key Takeaways

  • A travel management company (TMC) specialises in managing corporate travel for businesses of all sizes.
  • TMCs provide a range of services that can help your business save time and money, including creating a travel policy, booking travel, and providing 24/7 support.
  • Using a TMC can help you track your travel expenses and make informed decisions about your travel budget.

What services do travel management companies typically provide?

Travel management companies (TMCs) offer a range of services to help businesses manage their travel needs. Some of the most common services offered by TMCs include:

  • Booking flights, hotels, and rental cars
  • Providing 24/7 support for travellers
  • Managing travel expenses and invoicing
  • Developing travel policies and procedures
  • Providing travel risk management services

How do travel management companies differ from traditional travel agencies?

While traditional travel agencies focus on leisure travel, TMCs specialise in managing business travel. Usually offer a range of services that are tailored to the needs of corporate travellers, including travel policy development, traveller tracking, and expense management. Additionally, TMCs often have access to special rates and discounts that are not available to the general public.

How does a tmc contribute to corporate travel efficiency?

By working with a TMC, businesses can ensure that their travel policies are being followed, expenses are being managed efficiently, and travellers are receiving the support they need while on the road. This can help businesses to reduce travel costs and increase efficiency.

What are the key components of the travel management process?

The travel management process typically includes the following components:

  • Travel policy development: Develop a travel policy that outlines the company’s travel guidelines and procedures.
  • Travel booking: Booking flights, hotels, and rental cars for travellers.
  • Traveller support: Providing support to travellers throughout their trip, including 24/7 support and assistance with travel disruptions.
  • Expense management: Managing travel expenses and invoicing.
  • Travel risk management: Implementing measures to ensure the safety and security of travellers, including risk assessments and traveller tracking.

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What A Business Travel Manager Does

What does a corporate travel manager do.

 Corporate travel manager making travel arrangements

A look at what makes up a travel manager’s job description

Travel managers play a critical role in the success of a corporate travel program. But the scope of their job reaches far beyond reserving flights, making hotel reservations, and booking car rentals. Travel managers interact with many – if not all – of the stakeholders in a company to make sure the corporate travel program supports business objectives, aligns with company culture, helps retain talent by keeping travelers happy, and much, much more.

Travel managers oversee and administer corporate travel policies and are traditionally tasked with travel expense management, leading vendor and partner contracts, monitoring business travelers’ needs and identifying cost savings. Their work could also involve procurement or working with external partners to get reimbursements for cancelled trips. It takes years of experience to master all of this. Working with a travel management company (TMC), travel managers make sure your travel program and policies meet the needs of your business and travelers.

Download the toolkit to redesign your travel program

Defining and implementing an effective business travel program is no easy task. Business requirements can change quickly, and the travel program must adapt just as fast. The business travel environment can shift unexpectedly, and the travel manager must proactively put travel policies in place to speed the corporate response and safeguard against risk. Effective business travel programs are built on a foundation of:

  • Clearly defined travel policies and procedures
  • Easy-to-use travel management tools and technologies
  • Traveler safety and risk management tools
  • Travel optimization programs

The travel manager works with various stakeholders to build and direct that foundation.

Defining travel policies and procedures

Clearly defined travel policies and procedures help rein in costs and promote traveler wellbeing. Consistency in policy definition and enforcement are key. Because business travel maps to business objectives, there are policies and rules in place that we don’t see when we book our leisure travel.

Corporations may have preferred vendors for hotels and car rentals, for instance. Setting limits for travel, accommodation and per diems can be defined for specific regions and countries and take into account cultural differences in various parts of the world. Duty of care policies also take a front seat when it comes to determining your travel policy.

All of this allows an organization to manage costs, measure return on investment and help keep travelers safe. For instance, NASDAQ discovered the benefits of thinking through their travel policy and leading a change in policy and process that benefitted business travelers’ experiences and the bottom line.

Managing all these moving parts is the role of the travel manager. It’s also the reason that many companies work with a TMC like Egencia. Choosing the right TMC is critical to the success of your travel program. You want a partner with the booking tools and technology that will make it easier for you to manage everything from making travel arrangements to refining the specifics of your travel policies. They should be a leader in the travel industry that’s able to help you negotiate the best rates and discounts for all of your business trips.

Using technology to create a better travel experience

The entire travel booking experience has been changed by technology. Your employees are consumers too, and they expect the same seamless, easy-to-use experience when it comes to business travel. The travel program has to serve them the way they want to be served.

For some, that’s on the web. For others, they want to book a business trip with just a few taps on their phones. Some still want to be able to call someone who will take care of things for them. The booking tools you offer employees have to meet their expectations and requirements, as investment firm West Park Management Services discovered when their switch to Egencia propelled them from 11% online adoption to more than 80% in the first month.

And you have to meet those traveler expectations while satisfying all the organization’s needs for travel program compliance. Today’s travel manager has to strike that balance — meeting business travelers’ needs and those of the business.

Fortunately, technology is available to do that. Beyond the very visible apps and websites, technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are making it easier for travelers to make the best choices that meet their preferences and stay compliant. Egencia customers are using AI every day, even if they don’t know it. Some of the latest travel technology is working in the background to improve experiences and compliance.

Traveler safety and risk management

As a travel manager, you’re responsible for the health and wellbeing of your business travelers. This falls under the definition of duty of care as a legal principle. Companies are legally required to have safety and security measures in place across all business functions, including travel.

When employees travel, the business is still responsible for them. Where are your employees? What is their situation? Do they need help?

Travel managers need business travel tools that allow them to anticipate issues or contact and locate travelers in a time of emergency. In fact, eight out of 10 companies integrate security factors into their travel policy and many companies have prioritized duty of care as a key component of their travel program strategy.

Crisis management is a critical aspect for the travel manager. Taking care of travelers while they’re on the road is one of the key jobs of the travel manager. In an emergency, you need to know where your travelers are and help them get to safety. When everyone books through the Egencia platform, you can access their location with Traveler Tracker .

Optimizing your travel program

Travel managers add value to the organization with travel program optimization through savings, reporting, duty of care and change and expense management. They are expected to advocate for the advantages that business travel creates. This requires understanding the business well enough to show the value of travel on competitive advantage, revenue and employee retention.

Egencia offers a powerful online platform so that travel managers have the tools to perform the analysis to find cost savings and demonstrate ROI. Egencia Analytics Studio gives travel managers visual dashboards with robust drill-down capabilities to analyze their programs and find cost savings. At  NTT Singapore , they use our data tools to monitor travel spend, analyze travel by individuals or business groups and report back to executives with visual reports on any aspect of their travel program. The company gains actionable insights from their travelers data, and their travelers get to enjoy an easy booking experience that meets their needs.

Corporate travel managers lead the journey

Travel directly affects organizational culture and the bottom line. The travel manager guides the program to serve those aims.

From policies and procedures to choosing the right TMC, corporate travel managers play a key role in building successful organizations.

Looking for better business travel solutions? Get in touch with us.

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What is a TMC (Travel Management Company)?

June 19, 2019

by Rob Browne

meaning of travel management

Business travel is a trillion dollar industry. With all of the money that is spent on travel every year, it can be a lot for large companies to handle managing all of the trips that their employees take.

Enter the travel management company, or TMC, which can be hired to direct your company’s corporate travel needs.

What is a TMC?

A TMC, or travel management company, provides solutions for the travel needs of a business. It provides the ability to book travel with special rates, can be adjusted to a specific travel policy, and provides duty of care support for travelers.

TMC basics: how it functions, how much it costs & how to find the best one for your company

We’ll go over the basics of what a travel management company does for your company’s business travel , how much it costs, and how to find the TMC that best fits your company.

The role of a TMC in company travel

In managing a company’s travel needs via travel management tools , a TMC will be able to blend the specific travel policies of individual companies with the best available fares and rates on the market. It also can be used as a corporate compliance tool. There are four ways a TMC functions to manage corporate travel.

Enforces a corporate travel policy

Any company that has employees who travel for work needs to employ some kind of company-wide policy to ensure that employees comply with basic standards. These standards can include a specific fare class on flights, a star class for hotels, and a class of rental car.

A TMC helps enforce this policy through guiding travelers to options that are compliant. Often times, a TMC will only display options for travelers to book that are within their company policy. Using a TMC ensures that employees adhere to your company’s travel policy without having to spend extra time and effort to track travel compliance.

Provides systems on which to book travel

A TMC importantly provides both online and call-in systems in which employees can book travel. Online end-to-end booking is a necessity in 2019, especially because to eliminate hassle, booking business travel should be equivalent to booking any sort of personal travel outside of a TMC.

Where a TMC differs in how it provides systems for booking is that you can ensure that it is giving travelers the best rates possible. There are no hidden tricks or gamification strategies involved in booking with a TMC. It is a consistent, reliable platform on which your company receives the best rates regardless of when employees are booking.

Negotiates contracts with vendors for special rates

A key benefit of TMC use is that it can occasionally provide special corporate rates from hotel and car rental vendors for your business trips. These rates eliminate the need for extra work on the part of your travelers, as they have only one place to go for the best rates.

Any online travel site can offer a good sale once in a while, but using a TMC guarantees that you have certified travel professionals in your corner finding you the best options for your bookings.

Provides duty of care support

One of the biggest stressors for travel managers and those pegged with leading a travel program at a company is the safety and security of business travelers. TMCs contain duty of care features that provide real-time communication and information for the safety of travelers in new or unfamiliar destinations. Enlisting the help of a TMC takes the stress off of worrying about employees’ health and safety when they travel for work.

How much does a TMC cost?

TMCs can be priced either based on a fee per travel itinerary or on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. The exact cost will of course depend on the size and geographic scope of your company’s travel needs. TMCs charge fees just as airlines and hotels do when you book directly through them. You’ll also need to take into account that through the special rates they’re able to locate, TMCs find your travelers better fares on average than they would typically find themselves.

It’s hard to estimate an average cost of a TMC because of how dynamic the scopes of different travel programs could be in comparison to each other, but a rough estimate of the cost of a TMC per itinerary booked is $14. Whether you view the trade-offs of sometimes lower fares as valuable for your company is of course up to your discretion. However, most industry leaders suggest that the usefulness of using a TMC exceeds the hassle and potential wasted time and costs of managing your company’s travel autonomously.

Finding the right TMC

Selecting the right TMC for your business should begin not with the TMC itself but your own individual travel policy. Setting out a clear travel policy ensures that the TMC you choose aligns with the exact needs of your company. You should also consider where most of your company’s travel is regionally and what kind of budget your employees have on these trips.

Your industry and size should also dictate the type of TMC you search for. If you are a large company that puts on events and will consistently be on the road, you’ll need a TMC equipped to secure a large number of bookings and adapt to sudden changes in itineraries.

A final key component to finding the right TMC is to make sure that they’re a good cultural fit for your company. They’ll be working closely with your employees and contributing to how their time is spent on the road. If your company values work-life balance or the ability for travelers to have flexible schedules when traveling, you’ll want a TMC that can deliver on that culture.

A live look at the G2 Grid® for this category shows the different travel management products available based on real-time, validated user reviews.

Travel management companies help your business book travel for employees, encourage employee compliance to your corporate travel policy, and ensure the safety and security of business travelers. Although they can come at a steep price, many corporate travel departments view the use of a TMC as worth the money for making sure that business travelers are booking reliable fares and conducting their business on the road in ways that reflect company culture.

Looking for more information on corporate travel? Check out the best travel management software .

See the best travel management software of 2019

Rob is a former content associate at G2. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup. (he/him/his)

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Travel and Expense

What is a travel management system.

We know how much juggling travel managers do. One employee might need to get to Mumbai to manage an ongoing project, another needs to get to Boise to attend an industry event. Still others need to book a multi-stop trip, making sales presentations along the way. 

The person who manages company travel helps team members get to meetings, sales presentations, and trainings all over the world. They help book flights, reserve hotel rooms, and smooth out all the snags when delays or issues occur. And this recent study finds that travel management is growing more complex for companies of all sizes.  

But, the most savvy of them don’t do it alone. They use technology like a travel management system to ensure that nothing gets overlooked and everything runs smoothly. 

What is a travel management system? It's a tool that provides a single, seamless interface for booking, tracking, and handling end-to-end management for business travel .  

Understanding Travel Management Systems 

Travel management systems (TMS) are one-stop software systems where all of a company's travel arrangements can be handled. The platform helps you manage travel budgeting, policy, and reporting, so you can be sure that everything is always running as it should. 

Efficient company travel means spending money in a way that’s consistent with your company's goals and values. This means budgets for specific types of travel, and different travel policies that depend on each person's role in a company. The folks up in the C-suites, for instance, may have different needs than those in sales. 

meaning of travel management

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But keeping track of everything can be time-consuming. It's a drag when an employee is excited about booking a specific hotel, but then learns it’s outside your company policy. It's also a pain when someone is geared to book a flight but loses out on the seat because they aren't sure whether it's compliant or not. 

A good travel management system puts all the data you need in front of you so you can work faster and easier. 

Key Features of an Efficient Travel Management System 

The right TMS can be customized to work with your unique travel needs. You can set policies so that each employment role has access to exactly what they need. This eliminates travel bookings that fall outside policy, which means less time spent looking for compliant travel options. 

The system should be customizable, so it fits your company size and your company's most common travel needs. Does your company use more trains than flights? Do you have specific car rental companies you like to work with? The TMS should be customizable to show just what you like. 

The platform should offer a wide array of inventory options. More options means your travelers can find the best prices on flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. It also means you can book the dates you want so everyone is where they need to be. 

A system that does not offer enough options might mean spending more than you'd like. More options can mean your travel budget goes farther, and your employees do, too.  

And, most of all, a TMS must offer easy travel booking. After all, this is about saving time and effort. Without a good system in place, you may find that someone is spending more time than they should chasing down deals that are compliant with company policy. Not a good use of anyone's time, right? 

The right TMS is easy to use so employees can spend less time wrangling with travel and more in the role they were hired for. 

How does your T&E process measure up for your business needs? Take this quick Travel and Expense Maturity Model assessment to find out. 

Integration with Your Financial Systems 

It's no secret: When you lobby for new software and utilities, you need to be able to show how it will save your organization money. 

A quality travel management system integrates seamlessly with your company's internal financial system. By putting reports of all travel-related spending in one place, you'll be able to show how much you're spending and where you have been able to save your organization's hard-earned cash. 

How much time have you spent getting traveling employees to submit their expenses? Plus, even when they do, mistakes can happen. That $12 sandwich scarfed down at the airport might be hurriedly entered as $120. Or, it might be missed altogether, leaving your traveler with an unreimbursed expense that you have to manually handle later. 

With the right TMS, bookings and charges are automatically captured and categorized . 

Finding the Best Solution for Your Company 

Putting the most knowledgeable and experienced people on the job is just good business—and so is equipping them with the best tools to do their jobs. Finding the right solution for your business can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is by evaluating your travelers’ needs and the needs of your company.  

Savvy travel managers also know that travel management companies can help them save money, work more efficiently, and find the best solutions, such as travel management software, to get their travelers from point A to B. 

Want to know more about what a travel management company does and how it can help improve your company’s business travel? Get our free ebook to learn more . 

A TMC can do a lot to support your business travel, but pairing it with the right technology partner can be critical to your travel management success. See how solutions like Concur Travel & Expense provide tools for pre-, during, and post-trip, and help make a safe, sustainable, secure travel program possible. 

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17 must-have features in a travel management system

What is a travel management system.

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See how to save money by automating your booking process

Key features in a travel management system, 1. customizable travel policies.

  • Special policies for specific travelers (such as c-level or a department that often has to book last-minute flights)
  • Global policies for nightly hotel rates
  • Nightly hotel rate by city
  • Global policies for maximum domestic and international flight cost
  • Maximum flight cost for specific routes
  • Minimum number of days required for advanced booking
  • Global maximum train cost
  • Maximum train cost for certain routes

2. Customizable approval workflows

3. extensive inventory, 4. support included at no additional cost, 5. no redirects, 6. travel spend reporting.

  • Travel spend by time period
  • Travel spend by department or team
  • Amount of travel spend booked out of policy
  • Travel spend by project or client or event
  • Amount of travel spent for hiring

7. Consolidated invoicing

8. review the status of all trips in one place.

  • Who has successfully booked their trip within policy
  • Who is requesting an out-of-policy booking and why
  • Who has an in-progress trip (they’ve saved an itinerary but not completed the booking yet)
  • Who hasn’t booked a trip

9. Easy booking, including self-booking for travelers

10. methods of transportation that matter to you, 11. mobile app for travelers on the go, 12. saving in-progress bookings and collaborating.

  • Your CEO selects a flight and hotel and wants you to finalize it
  • Travelers are allowed to select the trips they want but not complete bookings (so you complete it after they pick their options)
  • A trip for multiple travelers needs to be reviewed, so you save it and double-check with everyone before finalizing it
  • A potential hire, client, or managed talent chooses their trip details and the main office books it

13. Easy to see what’s in and out of policy when searching

14. expense tool integration.

  • Offers an external API so your development team can integrate it with your expense tool
  • Offers custom integration services

15. Save traveler information

16. save loyalty points, 17. no long term contracts.

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  • Find hundreds of resources on all things business travel, from tips on traveling more sustainably, to advice on setting up a business travel policy, and managing your expenses. Our latest e-books and blog posts have you covered.
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  • Travel and Tourism /

What is Travel and Tourism Management?

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  • Updated on  
  • Feb 7, 2023

travel and tourism management

Do you feel impressed by the prospect of working in an industry that may involve a lot of travel? Would be enthusiastic to explore the world while you get to experience newer aspects of life? If travel is your passion and management is what you are good at, then, a career in Travel and Tourism Management might be perfect for you! Being a rapidly expanding and highly dynamic industry, travel and tourism achieved significant heights in the past few years. With immense career opportunities underway, you can explore a lot of interesting career opportunities in this field. Hence, through this blog, we would help you in exploring how to make a career in travel and tourism .  

This Blog Includes:

Overview of travel and tourism management , popular travel and tourism management courses, travel and tourism management entrance exams, top global universities , top indian institutes for tourism management , what jobs can i get with travel and tourism management degree , job prospects & salary, top recruiters in india, tourism industry in india, types of travel & tourism in india.

Since the Travel and Tourism industry is an arena wherein most of the jobs that one undertakes are certainly client-facing and involve a certain extent of interaction, courses in this sphere involve various studies in the domain of Communication and Writing skills, Critical Reasoning, and Presentation. Building on these fundamentals, the courses undertake certain papers on the Fundamentals of Tourism, its History, Ecotourism, Environmental Management , Business Statistics, Aviation Management , Airport Management , Introduction to Hospitality , Business Research Methods, Human Resource Management, Travel Agency and Tourism Management, Innovative Practises in Tourism and Event Management. So, for those who look forward to broadening their understanding regarding international tourism, this course would be highly rewarding for you. 

To progress in the field of Travel and Tourism, there are certain pathways that might seem fit for your future ventures. You can directly get yourselves enrolled in a Travel and Tourism course after the 12th that would give you the key information necessary at the bachelor’s level. But if you have the zeal to learn the managerial skills required for the tourism sector along with in-depth learning about the functioning of international tourism, consider going for master’s or doctoral-level courses.

Some of the popular courses in Travel and Tourism Management have been listed below: 

Below mentioned are the entrance exams students need to prepare for pursuing Travel and Tourism Management:

UG Entrance Exams 

  • JMI Entrance Exam 
  • CUCET Chandigarh University 

PG Entrance Exams 

  • Karnataka PGCET 

To know more about the education and preparation needed to work in Travel and Tourism, read our comprehensive blog on Travel and Tourism courses . 

Not only does the travel and tourism industry involve a thorough study of the subject matter under consideration but also requires one to perfect their skills relating such as leadership, problem-solving, customer-focused approach, ability to work deadlines and team working. So, when you get yourself enrolled in a course in travel and tourism management in one of the top universities around the world, you can nurture your skills in the best possible way. 

  • New York University
  • University of Illinois 
  • King’s College London 
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong  
  • Boston University  
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre  
  • Michigan State University 
  • University of Gloucestershire  
  • The University of Queensland  
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam  
  • University of Groningen  
  • Monash University  
  • Pennsylvania State University 
  • Michigan State University  

Following are the top-level colleges for pursuing a course in Travel & Tourism Management:

  • Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management – Gwalior
  • Indian Institute of Hospitality & Management – Thane
  • Christ University – Bangalore
  • National Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Management – Hyderabad
  • Amity Institute of Travel & Tourism – Noida
  • Kerala Institute of Tourism & Travel Studies
  • Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management – Bhubaneswar
  • Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management – Noida
  • Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management – Goa
  • Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management –  Nellore

Travel and Tourism Management students are taught business concepts specific to the travel industry and they can take up courses in Human Resources, Media Relations, Facilities Management and Financial Strategies. Besides, this overseas education provides internship opportunities for international students prior to graduation. From working in multidimensional roles in the hotel industry and providing premium services to customers to employing your art of storytelling to provide tour guides to people, there are numerous jobs in Travel and Tourism . Joining at the executive level, you can extend your career and make your way into great portfolios in top-notch institutions.

Some of the prospective job avenues that you may consider after completing courses in Travel and Tourism Management include:

  • Travel Agent : Your role as a Travel Agent allows you to plan a trip including flights, car rentals and accommodations. Also, you should have knowledge about the weather, traditions and tourist attractions of popular destinations. An assistant must have good networking and customer service skills to build and maintain a clientele base.
  • Travel Manager: A Travel Coordinator or Manager organises the travel arrangement of large organisations such as non-profits or universities. From booking flights on commercial or private jets, reserving conference rooms, and supervising support staff in forwarding information, the role of a Travel Manager is endless.
  • Lodging Manager: Lodging Managers are responsible for operating resorts, hotels and motels and are in charge of overseeing the complete operation. Larger landmarks may have separate managers for food services, housekeeping and human resources while small motels may only have one General Manager. 

Besides these, other profiles that you can consider in Travel and Tourism Management include Tour Manager, Event Manager, Holiday Representative, Tourism Officer, Air Cabin Crew , Property Manager, etc.

Tourism Management offers plenty of opportunities to graduates & undergraduates. Here is a list of top job profiles for reference: 

  • Holiday/Travel Agent
  • Travel Executive
  • Tourism Manager
  • Tourist Guide
  • Tour Manager
  • Hotel Manager
  • Spa Manager
  • Travel Agency Manager
  • PR Manager 
  • Event Manager

The main concern of every candidate is to have a good amount of salary. In the case of tourism, the starting salary is low like in other professions. For early experience, one can also do part-time jobs or can consider summer internships. The Initial Salary ranges from INR 15,000 – 20,000. Although the salary increases with increased experience. 

Here is a list of a few companies which offers jobs in Tourism:

  • Cox & Kings Ltd.
  • Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)
  • Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
  • Make My Trip
  • Club Mahindra Holidays
  • East India Travel Co. 
  • Jet Airways
  • Kesari Tours
  • Indian Airlines & British Airways, etc. 

A traveller knows how vital, dynamic and evolving is the industry of Tourism. It is important for the economic growth of any country. According to the reports of Tourism in India, it has generated INR 15.24 lakh crore or 9.4% of India’s GDP in 2017. It has also provided employment to the candidates in absolute terms with around 41.622 million jobs that are 8% of the total employment in India. It is estimated that the tourism industry will grow at an annual rate of 6.9% and reach INR 32.50 lakhs crore by 2028. So it is a profound idea of pursuing the course of Travel & Tourism. 

Tourism is all about leisure time and travelling is an activity of people to distant places away from home. It includes Outbound Tourism, Inbound Tourism, and Domestic Tourism. 

Outbound Tourism: It refers to travelling to a place outside of your home country. For example, from the Indian tourism perspective, Going to the UK from India. 

Inbound Tourism: It is when people from another country visit your country. For example, from the Indian tourism perspective, Coming to India from Canada. 

Domestic Tourism: As the name suggests, refers to the people travelling from place to place within the home country. For example, from the Indian tourism perspective, Going from Delhi to Mumbai. 

Ans. Candidates need to have – excellent communication skills, enthusiasm, patience, time management skills, teamwork, leadership skills, etc.

Ans Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management – Gwalior Indian Institute of Hospitality & Management – Thane Christ University – Bangalore National Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Management – Hyderabad

Ans. IRCTC  Air Asia Flying Fox Indian Airlines & British Airways Make My Trip Emirates

Ans. The scope of Tourism would not end as many people love to explore & visit places. Keeps the lives of people active & away from stress. The opportunities will never end for freshers in this field.

Ans. As an event manager, tour manager, tour guide, PR manager, Travel agency manager, etc. 

Navigating tourists through travel destinations and offering them the history of art and architecture, a job or a business in Travel and Tourism Management would help you find your way into the world. And if you have any doubts or inhibitions, then our experts at Leverage Edu can figure things out for you. 

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Please give me information about travel and tourism course.

Hi Roshan. Travel and tourism courses are courses that gives an individual knowledge about the international tourism industry. Some of the popular Bachelor’s courses include : BA in Travel & Tourism Management, BA in Tourism Studies, BA in Hospitality, Travel & Tourism Management, and BBA in Travel & Tourism Management. The top universities you can apply for these courses are: New York University, University of Illinois, King’s College London, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Boston University. To discover more articles like this one visit the experts at Leverage Edu.

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What is a travel management company (TMC)?

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What is a travel management company and why should you use one? Learn about what a TMC is and how it can help your business.

With corporate travel ramping up as we enter ‘post-pandemic’ times and an increased return to travel , the greater the need for travel management solutions. If you’ve noticed the uptick in corporate travel within your own business, you understand just how complicated it can be for you or your employees to coordinate itineraries. That’s where a travel management company, or TMC for short, can add great value to your business—regardless of size—and save you and your employees time, money and headaches.

What is a TMC and what do they do?

At the most basic level, a travel management company (TMC) is a travel agency that specialises in arranging corporate travel for businesses of all shapes, sizes and needs. TMCs can take care of all the details involved with business travel, including booking flights, handling hotel reservations, supporting with duty of care and looking after hire cars, among other services. Through advanced technology and online booking tools (OBT), travel management companies can help your employees find the best deals while also adhering to your company’s corporate travel policy. TMCs can even help your business create a travel expense policy if you don’t have one already. [1]

Is there a difference between an OBT and a TMC? [2]

Yes, there is a difference between an Online Booking Tool and a Travel Management Company. An online booking tool allows employees to track and manage their own business travel. Travel management companies offer more robust support on top of providing their own online booking tool. While OBTs allow your employees to individually search for their own corporate travel options and deals, TMCs typically offer support from experienced travel consultants who specialise in finding the best rates for business travel, while also allowing your employees the flexibility to choose their own flights, hotels and hire cars .

Graphic: Six Common Misconceptions Blog

TMCs like Egencia are experts in handling the ins and outs of corporate travel. They are equipped to handle everything from gathering all the necessary travel paperwork, to providing live support during unforeseen circumstances—like missed flights—to notifying travellers of last-minute updates of travel regulations. With the backing of a TMC, your employees are supported at every stage of their travel, while helping your business save money and offering deeper travel insights.

Are travel management companies and travel agencies the same thing? [3]

No. travel management companies and travel agencies are not the same thing, although they may share some similarities. While travel agencies can help clients book corporate travel, and occasionally offer lower rates through a limited number of vendors, TMCs focus on exclusively servicing businesses, helping to create and adhere to a company’s corporate travel programmes, and finding the best rates for maximum savings .

TMCs also provide a wider array of services than traditional travel agencies, like the centralisation and automation of the travel booking process, data-reporting options and travel policy creation. Additionally, TMCs have cultivated years-long relationships with vendors and can negotiate lower fares for maximum savings.

7 benefits of using a travel management company

As business travel continues to ramp up, TMCs can offer travel solutions for your employees while keeping the bottom line of your business goals top of mind. Some of the most significant benefits of utilising a TMC include:

1. TMCs help streamline your travel booking process

By automating different travel components—like lodging, flights and ground transportation—into one online booking platform, it makes the booking process more efficient and easier to manage, and saves your employees valuable time.

2. Facilitates gathering data for more informed decision-making

Through partner integrations and APIs, TMCs can offer real-time data gathering that can help analyse travel trends, assess risk management, as well as control budget spending . In turn, this data can help your organisation make better, more educated business decisions.

3. TMCs provide travel assistance 24/7

One of the biggest benefits of using a TMC is that you can rely on reaching a travel consultant any time—day or night. Instead of having to keep track of several different vendors, your employees enjoy one point of contact that is reachable through a variety of different channels.

4. Enjoy the perks of a concierge service

From handling the most minute details—that can range from seat preferences to making sure travel reward points are applied accordingly and everything in between—TMCs elevate the traveller experience of your employees by taking care of all their travel needs.

5. Can help reduce corporate travel costs

Because TMCs specialise in finding and negotiating the best travel deals with enterprise providers and partners, they have access to lower rates on flights, hotel rooms and transportation—cutting down on overall business travel costs while still offering competitive name-brand selections.

6. Provides traveller safety assistance

Whether unexpected security concerns arise, or travel regulations are updated at the last minute, TMCs keep travellers informed with real-time notifications.

7. Integrates your company’s corporate travel policy for greater compliance

TMCs bridge the gap between employee travel booking best practices and your company’s corporate travel policy . A TMC can filter an employee’s search results to be automatically compliant to your business’ travel policy guidelines, saving them time and providing ease of use. If for whatever reason an itinerary isn’t compliant, it’ll be flagged for further approval.

Choosing a TMC that’s right for your business

While there are a number of different travel management companies to choose from, the right TMC will depend on your business needs and goals. Some must-haves to take into consideration as you shop for a TMC to partner include: [4]

  • Responsiveness
  • Comprehensiveness

Choose a TMC that is aligned with your company’s culture . Since you’ll work closely with them to create and organise your employees’ corporate travel, they should align with and uphold your company’s values.

Egencia provides you with corporate travel solutions

Whether you’re just starting a new corporate travel programme or are looking to make yours more robust, Egencia provides modern travel management with a single, global and highly configurable platform. You’ll have the power to build integrations that help you automate, connect and simplify your travel and expense management. From small and medium-sized businesses to global corporations, we connect you with over 290 global airlines and 650,000 lodging properties.

Ready to get started?

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Request a demo to see what we can do for you.

[1] https://www.cbtravel.com/difference-between-travel-management-company-and-travel-agency/

[2] https://www.travelperk.com/blog/best-business-travel-management-companies/

[3] https://www.cbtravel.com/difference-between-travel-management-company-and-travel-agency/

[4] https://jtbbusinesstravel.com/how-to-choose-a-travel-management-company/

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What Is Tourism Managment

Published: December 12, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ashil Brookshire

  • Plan Your Trip
  • Sustainability



Tourism is a flourishing industry that encompasses travel, accommodations, attractions, and activities for leisure, business, or educational purposes. As travel becomes more accessible and people’s desire to explore new places increases, the importance of effective tourism management becomes paramount. Tourism management plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation, sustainability, and profitability of tourism destinations and businesses.

Tourism management involves overseeing and coordinating various aspects of the tourism industry, including marketing, planning, development, operations, and customer service. It aims to provide a positive and enriching experience for tourists, while also benefiting the local communities and preserving the environment.

In this article, we will delve into the definition of tourism management, discuss its importance, explore the key elements and functions within tourism management, and highlight the challenges and emerging trends in the field.

By understanding the intricacies of tourism management, professionals in the industry can develop effective strategies to attract tourists, optimize the visitor experience, and contribute to the overall growth and sustainability of the tourism sector.

Definition of Tourism Management

Tourism management refers to the practice of planning, organizing, and coordinating all the activities and resources involved in the operation of tourism destinations, businesses, and services. It encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, including marketing, budgeting, development, operations, and customer service, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a positive and fulfilling experience for tourists.

Effective tourism management involves a comprehensive understanding of customer preferences, market trends, and destination dynamics. It requires a strategic approach to attract tourists, create memorable experiences, and maximize the economic and social benefits for the local communities. A successful tourism management plan takes into account factors such as infrastructure, transportation, accommodation, attractions, and local resources.

Tourism managers play a crucial role in coordinating the various stakeholders involved in the tourism industry, including government agencies, tourism boards, hospitality establishments, transportation companies, tour operators, and local communities. They work towards developing and implementing strategies that align with the objectives of all parties and ensure the sustainability of tourism destinations.

Furthermore, tourism management involves maintaining a delicate balance between preserving the natural and cultural heritage of a destination and providing quality experiences for tourists. It encompasses initiatives for environmental conservation, responsible tourism practices, and community engagement. By implementing sustainable measures, tourism managers can create long-term benefits and mitigate any negative impacts of tourism on the environment and local communities.

Ultimately, the goal of tourism management is to create a harmonious relationship between tourists, the destination, and the local community. By carefully examining and managing all aspects of the tourism experience, tourism managers strive to meet the demands of the modern traveler, while simultaneously promoting the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the destination.

Importance of Tourism Management

The importance of effective tourism management cannot be overstated. It plays a crucial role in the sustainable development and success of tourism destinations and businesses. Here are several key reasons why tourism management is essential:

  • Economic Impact: Tourism is a significant source of revenue and job creation worldwide. Tourism management helps maximize the economic benefits by attracting tourists, promoting local businesses, and ensuring the efficient utilization of resources. It stimulates economic growth, enhances employment opportunities, and generates income for the local community.
  • Sustainable Development: By implementing sustainable tourism practices, tourism management aims to minimize negative impacts on the environment and culture of the destination. It fosters responsible tourism, encourages conservation efforts, and promotes the well-being of local communities. This ensures the long-term viability and preservation of the destination for future generations.
  • Enhanced Visitor Experience: Tourism management focuses on providing exceptional experiences for tourists. It involves careful planning and coordination of attractions, accommodations, transportation, and activities to meet the needs and preferences of different types of travelers. By creating memorable and enjoyable experiences, tourism management fosters positive word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat visits.
  • Destination Promotion: Effective tourism management plays a crucial role in destination promotion. It involves strategic marketing initiatives, digital campaigns, and partnerships to attract tourists from different regions. By showcasing the unique offerings of a destination, tourism management helps create a positive image and differentiate it from competitors in the global tourism market.
  • Community Engagement: Tourism management actively engages with local communities to ensure their involvement and support in tourism activities. By promoting community participation, respect for local customs and traditions, and equitable distribution of benefits, tourism management fosters a positive relationship between tourists and the local community.

In summary, tourism management is vital for driving economic growth, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation. It strives to enhance the visitor experience, promote responsible tourism practices, and foster positive relationships between tourists, the destination, and local communities. By prioritizing effective tourism management, destinations can thrive and maximize the benefits of tourism while mitigating potential negative impacts.

Elements of Tourism Management

Tourism management involves various elements that are essential for the successful operation and development of tourism destinations and businesses. These elements encompass the key components that contribute to the overall tourism experience. Here are the main elements of tourism management:

  • Marketing and Promotion: This element focuses on creating awareness and attracting tourists to a destination or business. It involves market research, branding, advertising, digital marketing, public relations, and partnerships to effectively communicate the unique selling points of the destination or business.
  • Planning and Development: This element involves strategic planning for the sustainable development of tourism destinations. It includes market analysis, infrastructure development, zoning regulations, carrying capacity assessment, and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure the optimal use of resources and development of tourism facilities.
  • Operations and Logistics: This element deals with the day-to-day operations and logistical aspects of tourism businesses and destinations. It includes managing accommodations, transportation, attractions, tour operations, customer service, and ensuring smooth operations and seamless experiences for tourists.
  • Customer Service and Experience: This element focuses on providing excellent customer service and creating memorable experiences for tourists. It includes training staff, implementing quality assurance measures, addressing customer feedback, and continuously improving the visitor experience to exceed customer expectations.
  • Sustainability and Responsible Tourism: This element emphasizes the importance of preserving the natural and cultural heritage of a destination and promoting responsible tourism practices. It involves implementing sustainable measures, minimizing negative impacts of tourism, supporting local communities, and engaging in environmental conservation efforts.
  • Economic Management: This element focuses on the financial aspect of tourism management. It involves budgeting, revenue management, pricing strategies, cost control, and financial analysis to ensure profitability and economic sustainability for tourism businesses and destinations.
  • Partnerships and Collaboration: This element highlights the significance of collaboration with various stakeholders in the tourism industry. It includes establishing partnerships with government entities, tourism boards, local communities, businesses, and industry associations to foster cooperation, share resources, and work towards common goals.

By addressing and integrating these elements effectively, tourism management can create a well-rounded and holistic approach to the overall management and success of tourism destinations and businesses. It ensures a memorable and sustainable tourism experience for both tourists and the local community.

Functions of Tourism Management

Tourism management involves a range of functions that are essential for the efficient and effective operation of tourism destinations and businesses. These functions contribute to the overall success of the tourism industry and play a vital role in providing a positive experience for tourists. Here are the main functions of tourism management:

  • Strategic Planning: This function involves setting goals, formulating strategies, and developing plans to achieve the desired outcomes. It includes analyzing market trends, identifying target markets, and determining the positioning and competitive advantage of the destination or business.
  • Market Research: Market research is crucial for understanding customer preferences, market trends, and demand patterns. This function involves conducting surveys, collecting data, and analyzing market insights to develop marketing strategies, identify target audiences, and tailor tourism offerings accordingly.
  • Product Development: This function focuses on creating tourism products and experiences that meet the needs and expectations of tourists. It involves identifying unique selling points, designing packages and itineraries, collaborating with local attractions and service providers, and ensuring product innovation to enhance the tourism experience.
  • Marketing and Promotion: This function entails creating awareness, attracting tourists, and promoting tourism offerings. It includes advertising, digital marketing, public relations, social media management, content creation, and developing partnerships to effectively reach and engage with target audiences.
  • Operations Management: This function deals with the day-to-day operations of tourism businesses and destinations. It includes managing accommodations, transportation, attractions, and activities, as well as ensuring efficient logistics and providing quality customer service to enhance the overall visitor experience.
  • Financial Management: Financial management is crucial for the economic sustainability of tourism businesses and destinations. This function involves budgeting, revenue management, pricing strategies, cost control, and financial analysis to ensure profitability and optimize resource allocation.
  • Sustainability and Responsible Tourism: This function focuses on environmental conservation, community engagement, and responsible tourism practices. It involves implementing sustainable measures, promoting cultural preservation, supporting local communities, and ensuring the long-term viability of tourism destinations.
  • Customer Relationship Management: This function emphasizes building and maintaining strong relationships with customers. It includes managing customer inquiries, addressing feedback and complaints, providing personalized experiences, and fostering customer loyalty through effective communication and relationship building initiatives.
  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Collaboration is crucial for the success of tourism management. This function involves establishing partnerships with government entities, tourism boards, local communities, businesses, and industry associations to collaborate, share resources, and work towards common goals for the development and growth of the tourism industry.

By fulfilling these functions, tourism management ensures the seamless operation, sustainable development, and memorable experiences for both tourists and the local community. It is a multifaceted discipline that requires a comprehensive approach to meet the ever-evolving demands of the tourism industry.

Challenges in Tourism Management

Tourism management faces various challenges that can impact the sustainability and success of tourism destinations and businesses. These challenges arise from both internal and external factors and require proactive strategies to overcome. Here are some common challenges in tourism management:

  • Seasonality: Seasonality refers to the fluctuation in tourism demand based on the time of year. Many destinations experience peak tourist seasons followed by periods of low or off-peak seasons. Managing seasonality can be a challenge, as it requires finding ways to attract tourists during off-peak times and optimizing resources to accommodate peak season demands.
  • Overtourism: Overtourism occurs when the number of tourists exceeds the carrying capacity of a destination, resulting in overcrowding, infrastructure strain, and negative environmental and sociocultural impacts. Managing overtourism involves implementing measures to distribute tourism flows, regulate visitor numbers, and promote sustainable tourism practices.
  • Sustainability: Ensuring sustainable tourism is a challenge faced by tourism management. This involves balancing the economic, social, and environmental aspects of tourism to minimize negative impacts and maximize long-term benefits. It requires implementing sustainable practices, promoting responsible tourism, and engaging local communities in decision-making processes.
  • Competition: The tourism industry is highly competitive, with destinations and businesses vying for the attention of tourists. Managing competition requires differentiating the destination or business through unique offerings, effective marketing strategies, and continuous innovation to attract and retain visitors.
  • Changing Consumer Behavior: Consumer behavior and travel preferences are constantly evolving. Tourism management needs to adapt to these changes by understanding emerging trends, catering to different market segments, and providing personalized experiences. This requires staying updated with technology advancements, digital marketing strategies, and consumer insights.
  • Economic Volatility: Tourism can be impacted by economic factors such as recessions, exchange rate fluctuations, and political instability. These factors can influence travel decisions, tourist spending, and business operations. Tourism management needs to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of economic volatility and attract tourists during challenging times.
  • Infrastructure and Resource Management: Adequate and well-maintained infrastructure is crucial for the smooth operation of tourism. However, managing limited resources, ensuring sustainability, and maintaining infrastructure can be challenging. Tourism management needs to prioritize infrastructure development, enhance resource management, and strike a balance between tourist needs and environmental conservation.
  • Technology Disruptions: Rapid advancements in technology impact the tourism industry. Online platforms, social media, and mobile applications have changed the way tourists research, book, and experience travel. Tourism management needs to leverage technology to enhance marketing, distribution channels, customer service, and overall tourism experiences.
  • Crisis Management: Tourism destinations are susceptible to natural disasters, political unrest, health crises, and other unforeseen events. Crisis management is crucial in ensuring safety, communication, and recovery. Tourism management should have contingency plans, crisis communication strategies, and cooperation with authorities to effectively manage crises.

Overcoming these challenges requires proactive and strategic approaches in tourism management. By addressing these issues, tourism destinations and businesses can thrive, deliver exceptional visitor experiences, and contribute to the sustainable development of the tourism industry.

Emerging Trends in Tourism Management

Tourism management is constantly evolving to adapt to changing market dynamics, consumer preferences, and technological advancements. Here are some emerging trends in tourism management that are shaping the future of the industry:

  • Sustainable Tourism: The increasing emphasis on sustainability has led to a rise in sustainable tourism practices. Travelers are seeking eco-friendly and socially responsible experiences. Tourism management is embracing sustainable initiatives such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting local sourcing, and supporting community development.
  • Authentic Experiences: Tourists are increasingly looking for unique and authentic experiences that provide a deeper connection with the destination and its culture. Tourism management is focusing on curating immersive activities, cultural interactions, and off-the-beaten-path experiences to meet these demands.
  • Technology Integration: Technology continues to revolutionize the tourism industry. Tourism management is leveraging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence to enhance the booking process, improve customer service, and create engaging marketing campaigns.
  • Personalization: Personalization is gaining prominence as tourists seek customized experiences tailored to their preferences. Tourism management is utilizing data analytics and customer relationship management tools to segment markets, target specific demographics, and deliver personalized recommendations and offers to travelers.
  • Wellness and Health Tourism: Wellness and health tourism have witnessed significant growth. As people prioritize their well-being, tourism management is incorporating wellness activities, spa treatments, yoga retreats, and healthy dining options into destination offerings.
  • Community Engagement: Tourism management is recognizing the importance of involving local communities in tourism development. Engaging with local residents, empowering them economically, and showcasing their culture and traditions contribute to sustainable destination management.
  • Multi-Generational Travel: With families traveling together, tourism management is focusing on catering to the diverse needs of multi-generational travelers. Destinations are offering a variety of activities and accommodations suitable for different age groups and interests.
  • Sharing Economy: The sharing economy has disrupted the traditional tourism industry. Tourism management is adapting by collaborating with sharing economy platforms, integrating home-sharing options, and exploring new business models to meet the evolving demands of travelers.
  • Destination Marketing through Influencers: Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool in tourism management. Collaborating with social media influencers to create authentic content and promote destinations has become an effective way to reach and engage with target audiences.
  • Accessible Tourism: The focus on inclusivity and accessibility has led to the growth of accessible tourism. Tourism management is ensuring that destinations, accommodations, and attractions are accessible to people with disabilities, providing equal opportunities for all travelers.

These emerging trends are reshaping the tourism industry and presenting new opportunities and challenges for tourism management. By embracing these trends, tourism destinations and businesses can stay competitive, attract a wider range of visitors, and deliver exceptional experiences in the ever-changing landscape of travel and tourism.

Tourism management plays a crucial role in the successful operation, development, and sustainability of tourism destinations and businesses. It encompasses various elements and functions that aim to create exceptional experiences for tourists while considering the economic, environmental, and social impacts of tourism.

Throughout this article, we have explored the definition of tourism management, its importance, key elements, functions, challenges, and emerging trends. It is evident that effective tourism management is essential for driving economic growth, preserving natural and cultural heritage, promoting responsible tourism practices, and enhancing the overall visitor experience.

However, tourism management also faces challenges such as seasonality, overtourism, sustainability, competition, and changing consumer behavior. These challenges require proactive strategies and innovative approaches to ensure the long-term success and development of tourism destinations.

At the same time, emerging trends in tourism management, including sustainable tourism, personalization, technology integration, and wellness tourism, present new opportunities for growth and innovation within the industry.

In conclusion, tourism management is a dynamic and evolving field that plays a vital role in shaping the tourism industry. By effectively managing tourism destinations and businesses, tourism managers can create positive synergies between tourists, the destination, and local communities, fostering economic growth, environmental preservation, and cultural enrichment.

With the constantly evolving landscape of travel, it is imperative for tourism managers to stay updated with the latest trends, embrace sustainable practices, leverage technology, and engage with diverse stakeholders. By doing so, tourism management can contribute to the growth and sustainability of the tourism industry, creating unforgettable experiences for travelers while fostering a positive and responsible approach towards tourism.


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meaning of travel management

What is a Destination Management Company (DMC)?

by Marie Anne MacRae | 05 7, 2021 | TTC

May 7, 2021 | TTC

by Marie Anne MacRae

The travel industry is a very big place. You may have worked in it for many years and still never heard of a destination management company. If you haven’t, though, you could be missing out on some important business opportunities. 

To celebrate The Travel Corporation’s expansion of our DMC offering , we’re giving the low-down on these crucial pieces of the travel and tourism puzzle. Let’s take a look.

What is a DMC?

A destination management company is an enterprise that manages a range of products and services at a popular travel destination. Put very simply, they’re the companies that make travel experiences work. Whether you’re looking for someone to provide a safari trip, coach tours, cruises, catering or just about any other travel service you can name, it’s a DMC that makes it happen.

DMCs are usually smaller, local organizations that have been on the ground at a destination for years. They bring crucial local knowledge and experience to a travel enterprise, giving international partners the insight they need to create safe and exciting products.

What services can they help me with?

Name any travel experience and you’ll find a DMC out there that can provide it for you. The obvious services they provide are travel experiences that might require specialized equipment or skills, like coach tours, flotilla holidays or safaris. But they can also provide a huge range of smaller services that make the holiday planning experience a lot smoother. These include things like airport pickups and transfers, accommodation bookings, vehicle rental, catering or event management. If you’re looking to provide a really unique experience, such as bungee jumping, rainforest hikes or exclusive entry to local sights, the easiest way to provide it is by going through a DMC.

Why work with a DMC?

Destination Management Companies have two crucial benefits: they’re experts in the local area and specialists in the particular services that they offer. That means that you, as a travel professional, don’t have to be. Working with a DMC allows you to book any experience in any location around the world in the confidence that it will be delivered safely and to a high standard. 

However, the benefits don’t end there. Most DMCs have been running their travel businesses successfully for decades. That means they have localized knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in their region. They know that this road is usually flooded in summer, or that the best views of that valley are at sunrise – the secrets that you simply can’t know. That allows you to create better travel experiences that are more likely to do well in a competitive market.

Finally, many DMCs operate a huge range of different services or have partners that do so. That means that they can act as a one-stop shop when you’re creating a travel package. Bring on a DMC partner and there’s a good chance they can book just about everything you’ll need.

Who hires a DMC?

DMCs are a critical piece of the puzzle for international travel agents. If you’re building a travel product with inclusive services, a destination management company will help you put all the pieces together and plug any logistical gaps. They’re also perfect if you’re building something completely new for the market; they’ll offer a great perspective on the most successful travel experiences in the region.

DMCs are also ideal if you’re creating bespoke travel packages for an exclusive clientele. The huge range of services they provide allows you to be more flexible and plan more complex itineraries. And when your client’s needs change, the DMC is there to help you adapt on the fly, providing services as and when you need them.

DMCs are a big help no matter how you work. To learn more about what DMCs can do for you here at TTC, take a look at our services page. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is.

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Everything You Should Know about Travel Risk Management 

  • Author: Andreas Rodman
  • Date: June 12, 2023

meaning of travel management

As I wrote this tutorial, I kept thinking about Bilbo’s warning:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you’ll be swept off to.”

This document started off as a simple highlights list for travel risk management (TRM), but during the writing process, it became an in-depth tutorial encompassing most areas within TRM. The document can now be seen as a guide to implementing your first travel risk management program with some interesting anecdotal facts for the more experienced reader.

I would like to send a special thank you and express my deep appreciation to Bruce McIndoe, the founder of iJet/WorldAware, for his valuable input. Bruce is a legend within the industry and one of the most knowledgeable people within Travel Risk Management. This tutorial was greatly improved thanks to his insightful feedback.

Andreas Rodman, Co-founder Safeture

meaning of travel management

What is Travel Risk Management (TRM)?

The ISO standard 310301 for Travel Risk Management defines travel risk as the “effect of uncertainty on objectives due to travel,” which sounds very clinical. I prefer to say that travel risk management (TRM) is about making work-related travel safe for employees, consultants, contractors, interns, expats, and all other types of personnel.  TRM is a big collection of processes and tools that involves many aspects and functions.   

In this whitepaper, I will provide a bit of guidance on what I believe are the most important components and how they could be set up, such as  travel approval ,  booking process , travel policies, pre-travel information,  education , insurance,  locating employees , emergency communication,  emergency assistance , security aspects, medical aspects, and more.  

TRM itself is part of a broader area of risk management related to personnel and is sometimes referred to as people risk management or employee risk management. With the strong positive trend towards  remote work , allowing employees to  work from anywhere , the definition of work-related travel becomes fuzzy. However, in this paper I will focus on the classic definition of TRM. I hope to discuss the broader aspects of people risk management in future articles.   

I’m New to TRM; Where and How Should I Start?

There is an extensive ISO standard for TRM called  ISO 31030  that I will refer to repeatedly in this whitepaper.   

However, if you are looking at setting up a TRM program for your organization and you have no previous TRM experience, then I strongly recommend using an external  TRM supplier . TRM programs can range from simple to extremely complex depending on your organization’s needs, and the ISO 31030 standard provides poor guidance for non-experts on understanding your specific needs.

On top of that, TRM is a vast field that requires extensive knowledge and many types of functions. Therefore, implementing and maintaining your own TRM solution all by yourself can be very expensive.   

Fortunately, there are many TRM suppliers in the market with tons of experience. TRM suppliers often have solutions designed for different types of organizations ranging from small one-office firms whose employees travel a few times per year to large international organizations with thousands of travelers each month.

TRM Framework

Many different frameworks can be used to structure a TRM program. Which framework you select, or whether you select one at all, is not important. What is important is that you include the most crucial parts of a TRM program. Thus, the primary purpose of a TRM framework is to guide you in including these necessary aspects.

For the sake of clarity, in this tutorial I will use the ISO 31030 TRM framework that refers to the ISO 31000 standard because it is part of an official standard, even if other frameworks might be simpler to use.

This tutorial will focus more on setting up a TRM program and less on main-taining the program. Following the ISO 31030 standard framework, this setup focus means primarily looking at “Leadership and Commitment,” “Design,” and “Implementation,” which can be seen in the framework image (Figure 1).

meaning of travel management

Download the e-book here

A tutorial on Travel Risk Management.

Why Is There a Need for Travel Risk Management?

The need for travel risk management is driven by several factors:

  • Legal responsibility (duty of care) 
  • Moral responsibility and employer ethics 
  • Retaining and attracting employees  
  • Other factors

The commonality among all the drivers above is that they begin with the leadership of the organization. This is why “Leadership and Commitment” is at the center of the TRM framework shown in Figure 1.

Legal responsibility (duty of care)

In most countries, the organization as an employer has a responsibility to care for its employees during work. This responsibility extends to work-related travel since travel is part of the work assignment, and the responsibility remains with the employer even if the person is doing their work in a different location.  

For non-employees such as consultants and contractors, the responsibility is less clear and varies, but for simplicity’s sake, in this whitepaper, “employees” will mean both employed and non-employed personnel unless stated otherwise. Similarly, “employer” or “organization” will mean the legal party responsible for assigning work tasks to a person, no matter if the agreement with the person is through an employment agreement or a different type of agreement.

Duty of care  is a term often associated with travel risk management. Duty of care in TRM has not been clearly defined, but a good description is the employer’s legal and moral responsibilities for employees during work-related trips.

Legal responsibility means employers  in many countries may be liable for damages if an employee is injured or killed during a work-related trip . A properly executed TRM program provides a legal defense if that happens.

Moral responsibility and employer ethics

Moral responsibility and employer ethics involve the employer ensuring, as a fundamental decency when sending an employee to a destination, that the destination is safe, the trip is safe, and that if something were to happen at the location, the employer will assist the employee.

Retaining and attracting employees

Retaining and attracting employees is part of employer branding, and it is crucial to be seen as a good and caring employer in order to keep existing employees and recruit new people.

Of these factors, legal resonsibility is the most prominent driver behind companies implementing a TRM program.

Legislation and legal cases

The legal responsibility of employers to care for their employees is old and well-established in most countries. Many countries today have extensive duty of care legislation on how to protect employees, subcontractors, and other types of workers.

The duty of care laws and the formal legal responsibility for business travelers varies depending on the local legislation, but it is a common trait that countries with strong labor laws usually have stricter legal demands regarding travel risk management.

Although it is rare that companies face legal penalties, there are multiple legal cases where  employers have been fined or paid damages due to lack of TRM  when an employee or worker has been injured or kidnapped, died, or has had some other major incident during work-related travel.  By implementing a proper TRM program , the employer can appropriately manage the  legal responsibility , and the risk of having to pay damages or fines is mitigated.  

For example:  

  • A French subcontractor named Thierry died in a terrorist attack, and the company, which did not have an  adequate duty of care program  for expats working abroad, had to pay 129,000 EUR in damages.    
  • A Norwegian NGO had to pay 420,000 EUR in damages to an employee named Steve Dennis for  failing in its duty of care .    
  • An American student got a tick-borne disease resulting in life-altering neurological damage during a school trip to China. The school then paid 41.5 million USD in damages due to failure in the travel duty of care.  This case went up to the U.S. Supreme Court , which ruled in favor of the student, thereby cementing the legal grounds that  U.S.-based organizations are liable for damages when failing in the area of travel risk management .

Since legal penalties are rare, albeit steep when they are applied, many organizations unfortunately believe that the legal demands for a safe workplace only apply when the employee is working in the physical  facility  used by the organization (store, factory, office, etc.). However, workplace laws apply to the location in which the employee needs to perform their work tasks, no matter where that may be.  

This means if the work includes travel, then the car, train station, train, airport, airplane, taxi, hotel, and final travel destination, including the restaurant for dinner in the evening, are all part of the employee’s workplace, and it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure the employee has a safe work environment throughout all parts of the trip, including to and from the destination.

meaning of travel management

Unclear legal responsibility boundaries

Bleisure travel.

In many countries, the employer is responsible for the employee 24/7 from the second they leave their home for work-related travel until they are back at home. This creates a complex situation when the employee is doing leisure activities during their work travel, and the situation is so common that the term “bleisure travel” has been minted for travel that combines business and leisure activities.

Bleisure travel requires clear organizational policies that define the lines of responsibility between work and leisure activities. Travel insurance is also affected by bleisure travel; the organization’s travel insurance company, in many cases, will not cover costs for incidents resulting from leisure activities during work travel.

Managing the entire risk

After an organization has grasped the legal responsibility of work travel, a common mistake is implementing a TRM program that only covers the most common travel risks, thereby still exposing the organization to the risk of legal damages for less common risks. This will be discussed further under the section “Inadequate solutions” below. Even in the U.S., where worker’s compensation insurance is considered ironclad protection, there are, in fact, gaps in the worker’s compensation insurance related specifically to work travel.

Remote worker trend

It is also interesting to note that as the  remote worker trend grows , the employer’s legal responsibility for out-of-office work is becoming blurred. For example, in a case in Germany, it was considered a work accident when an employee tripped while walking from his bedroom to his home office in his own home.

Business drivers

Duty of care compliance.

The main business driver for establishing a TRM program is duty of care compliance. Corporate management often decides to establish and maintain a TRM program to mitigate the risk of lawsuits or other damages.

Historical incidents

A common catalyst for implementing or improving a TRM program is having a problematic incident.  After the incident, the organization looks at what happened depending on whether there was a TRM program in place or not. If there was no TRM program, then the incident often becomes the starting point for establishing a TRM program.

If there was a TRM program in place, then an evaluation begins to understand what went wrong and what went right, which often results in strengthening the TRM program. These types of incidents often involve a single employee who was severely injured, exposed to a major risk, or kidnapped abroad.

Some organizations operate in high-risk areas, resulting in frequent incidents. These organizations often have extensive TRM solutions since they have a long history of incidents and know that the probability of having new incidents in the future is high.

For example, companies providing infrastructure solutions such as power supply and mobile communication need to operate all the time, in all areas, including conflict zones and  natural disaster areas . The irony is that these types of companies often bring employees into these high-risk areas to rebuild infrastructure as other organizations evacuate employees from the same area.

Employer ethics

Some TRM programs are driven more by ethics and organizational culture than by compliance. Organizational ethics originate from top management. This means that top management believes that protecting its people is part of the organization’s core values, and the organization is prepared to invest resources into providing that protection.

This is often combined with other employee policies that allow the organization to be seen as a good and caring employer. Ethics-driven TRM programs tend to be better implemented since they are often provided with more resources than required to fulfill the minimum demands for a TRM program.

meaning of travel management

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meaning of travel management

TRM Solutions

The ISO 31030 TRM framework shown above in Figure 1 begins in the center with Leadership and Commitment. When top management is committed, it results in understanding how to integrate a TRM program with the organization’s daily needs, which is then followed by designing and implementing the TRM program.

Looking specifically at design and implementation, there are a vast number of ways to design and implement a TRM program that results in many different solutions to fulfill the needs of your organization.

To give you an overview, I have listed some common solutions and categorized them into two groups:

  • Inadequate solutions are solutions that provide some level of TRM but, in many experts’ opinion, will not  fulfill your duty of care  and leave you open to lawsuits and other financial risks. These are also solutions that are poorly aligned with good employer ethics.
  • Adequate solutions are solutions that provide good protection for your traveling employees and align well with strong employer branding and good employer ethics.  

Inadequate solutions

Only insurance.

The most common TRM solution today is to have only insurance, such as travel insurance, which is the standard solution for smaller organizations.

Even though insurance is a good start and a necessity in a TRM program, it is unfortunately not enough. Smaller organizations usually do not realize that they need more because having few employees means the probability of something happening is low, and when it does, small organizations are often flexible enough to manage the problem ad-hoc. However, even if you can manage things ad-hoc using only travel insurance, you will not fulfill your duty of care, and a major employee incident abroad might have a severe financial impact on a small organization.

Travel insurance, or similar, offers good coverage of medical emergencies and provides employees with a number to call in case of a medical emergency. However, for non-medical incidents, such as  natural disasters , kidnappings, physical threats, hotel burglaries, robberies, civil unrest, political conflicts, chemical accidents, etc., standard travel insurance does not provide any help unless the employee is injured in the incident.    

Additionally, some types of medical incidents, such as pre-existing medical conditions, alcohol-related accidents, or injuries from risk-prone activities (riding a motorbike, extreme sports accidents, being injured when traveling to destinations against government recommendations, etc.), are often excluded from travel insurance.

The fact that  travel insurance does not cover many types of frequently occurring incidents  is the main reason why it is not enough to only have insurance and why organizations need to add more to their TRM solution to provide proper risk coverage.

If an organization only has travel insurance, then the organization is at high risk of paying damages and other related high costs for work-related travel. Adding to the issue is employer branding; the organization carries the risk of becoming known as having poor protection for employees who travel for their work.

Basic managed solution without assistance

Basic managed solutions without assistance are commonly found within mid-size companies where a manager or a small group of managers are equipped with only a travel tracker and travel insurance.

The key component in creating a managed solution is to keep track of all work travel. Common solutions include assigning a designated travel management company (TMC) to book all travel or having an internal travel manager arrange all travel. A travel tracker is added to the solution that enables the management to search and list all booked travel to help the workflow.

This setup allows the people responsible for TRM to look up who has traveled or will travel to a destination in case something happens, such as a  natural disaster , conflict, or similar. The travel tracker allows the organization to answer the question, “Who do we have traveling there?” The setup should specify who is responsible for managing the situation when an incident occurs, which means that there will be a designated contact person for the employee.

A common problem with the setup of basic managed solutions without assistance is that the managers responsible for travel risk often have many other responsibilities, which means they are not available 24/7. Thus, they lack the resources and local contacts to assist employees on the ground in faraway countries. The result is, therefore, that it can take days for an employee to reach somebody to assist them, and when they do, the organization has difficulties helping them.

Since this setup often results in a poor and slow response that is ad-hoc or, in the worst case, no response at all, it is considered by many experts to be a solution that does not fulfill your duty of care and thereby has less protection for your employees and your organization.

Organizations that have selected a basic managed solution without assistance understand that travel insurance is not enough but have unfortunately invested too few resources to implement a proper TRM program. As shown in the ISO 31030 TRM framework above, it all begins with Leadership and Commitment in the center, which then translates into the integration and design of the TRM program.

Please note there are TRM implementations that may look like an inadequate solution on the surface but are, in fact, proper comprehensive solutions. The difference is that such solutions are implemented by organizations that have invested a lot into building a fully working 24/7 internal TRM assistance team with all the necessary associated processes. We will touch upon several of those processes in the section “Comprehensive managed solutions.”

Adequate solutions

Managed solution with only reactive assistance.

When an organization wishes to establish a good and adequate TRM program,  a common approach is to buy a complete TRM solution from an external assistance provider .

Large organizations have the resources to build the entire solution internally, but TRM is complex and expensive, which results in most organizations selecting a fully or partially outsourced solution. It is also common to use multiple outsourced suppliers and combine them into an improved solution.

When selecting an outsourced solution, consider that the assistance provider must be able to manage both  medical emergencies as well as security emergencies  to properly fulfill your organization’s duty of care. Most assistance providers focus on medical or security, which is why some use multiple assistance providers. When combining assistance providers, clear processes need to be established, such as who is responsible for a case and how to migrate or coordinate cases between the assistance providers.

Outsourced managed solutions are popular since the organization can push much of the TRM responsibility to a sub-supplier, which minimizes the amount of work and knowledge required within the organization.

Below are some important checkpoints to verify the compliance of an external assistance provider offering a TRM solution. The provider(s) should be able to provide the following:

  • 24/7 medical emergency assistance  
  • 24/7 security emergency assistance  
  • Established processes between all the active parties  
  • The medical assistance provider should be able to cover medical costs directly for medical assistance abroad and then manage the cost claims later with the insurance company or whatever the situation requires.

A managed solution with only  reactive assistance  is considered adequate from a  duty-of-care perspective . However, its main disadvantage is that actions are taken after employees request assistance. This means that these solutions focus on managing incidents after the incidents have occurred.  In other words, these TRM solutions are only activated if an employee reaches out to the assistance provider.

More comprehensive solutions, described below, focus on preemptive work by preventing employees from being exposed to risks or acting proactively when the risk changes due to some unforeseen event.

Comprehensive managed solutions

Comprehensive managed solutions look at all risks and create risk mitigation solutions for all travel phases ranging from travel planning to returning home.

The ISO 31030 standard provides a good complete list of everything you could want from a comprehensive solution. However, that list is very long and expensive to implement. In this section, I will highlight some of the key features I believe to be the most important and should be the foundation for a comprehensive solution. In my opinion, managed comprehensive solutions need to be automated as much as possible. Automation will keep the cost down and increase the quality since manual TRM tasks tend to result in human errors or be down-prioritized due to the high workload.

A work-related trip can be divided into three phases:

  • Before travel, commonly called pre-travel 
  • During travel  
  • After travel  

Comprehensive solutions often focus on the pre-travel processes with the rationale that the best solution is to not be exposed to risks at all and prevent incidents from happening in the first place through good planning and preparation. By focusing on the pre-travel, incidents can be avoided, for example, by planning a secure travel route and itinerary, adding secure travel services,  education , vaccinations, accommodation selection, or even canceling the entire trip.

Comprehensive solutions are common for large international organizations or organizations with operations in high-risk areas. To quote a large international provider of essential infrastructure, “We never evacuate, we only relocate”—meaning that they move employees to safe areas within a country before a local conflict expands, thereby avoiding incidents even when they operate in countries with ongoing conflicts.

Pre-travel processes

Pre-travel processes include many different methods of risk avoidance and risk reduction that prevent or minimize the risk of the employee having an incident at all.

The methods below are effective, not too complex to implement and maintain, and often used by large organizations:

  • Automated integration between travel bookings and country risk levels to trigger  travel approvals  
  • Pre-travel authorization   
  • Travelers registering with the TRM platform before departure   
  • Pre-travel medical approval  
  • Traveler safety and security  e-learning
  • Pre-travel and en route alerts  
  • Informing about country risk and related travel information  
  • Additional prebooked travel services   

Automated integration between travel bookings and country risk levels

In an ideal world, all work-related trips should be reviewed and approved from a security perspective before any bookings are made, which is called pre-travel authorization. The reality is that few organizations have the resources, tools, and discipline to run an approval process before every trip is booked.

To be able to automate the pre-travel authorization process, a common solution is to categorize every country by risk level. The country risk level is then correlated with the travel bookings, so only  bookings to high-risk countries  trigger a pre-travel authorization process. With this automation, management can automatically filter which bookings should be scrutinized for pre-travel authorization.

For this type of integration to work, the organization needs to use both designated and integrated travel management companies or apply other tools to detect travel bookings. (These tools are discussed in the section “Outside travel policy bookings.”)

  • Pre-travel authorization

Pre-travel authorization, commonly called “pre-trip approval,” evaluates the travel plans from a security risk perspective to see whether the plan follows the TRM policy.

The approval process should look at all types of risk aspects, including destination, means of travel, accommodations, medical conditions, etc.

Pre-travel authorization from a travel risk perspective can be difficult to implement because the manager approving the trip from a business perspective is usually a completely different person than the person approving the trip from a travel risk perspective. Managers often approve trips from a business perspective without any understanding or thought of the travel risks. By integrating travel bookings and country risk levels, pre-travel authorization processes can be automated and thereby bridge the gap between the business perspective and travel risk perspective.

When integration is in place between booking and country risk levels:

  • Designated travel management companies can block bookings to high-risk countries unless a pre-travel authorization is provided from a travel risk perspective; or
  • A notification of the high-risk booking can be sent to the group responsible for pre-travel authorization.

The second option, with notification of all high-risk bookings, is the more common solution since it is easier to implement and requires less discipline, and is, therefore, more reliable. It is also the only solution that can automatically manage pre-travel authorization for out-of-policy bookings (see the section “Outside travel policy bookings” below).

When the group responsible for travel risk approval receives the high-risk booking notification, a process begins that usually includes initiating a dialogue with the traveler and the traveler’s manager to verify that the trip is necessary. The responsible group also starts all preparation required for traveling to the area, such as  meet-and-greet , education, medical approvals, etc.  

Travelers registering with the TRM platform before departure

Having the traveler register with the TRM platform is often called employee  onboarding  and is a crucial part of implementing a successful TRM program.

The onboarding is a process that includes many components, and it is work that never ends. New employees need to be onboarded, and old employees might need to be onboarded again because they have forgotten what to do, lost the necessary information, or lost access to the TRM platform.

Some organizations set onboarding as a policy requirement for all work travel; others, unfortunately, treat it only as a recommendation.

Onboarding processes often include tasks like:

  • Sending out instructions, information documents, and  videos  about the TRM solution and how to register with it
  • Collecting employee contact information and other data to populate the TRM databases
  • Informing employees to use a specific travel management company to guarantee that all bookings are collected by the TRM solution
  • Distributing assistance cards for the traveler to have in their wallet
  • Installing mobile apps connected to the TRM solution
  • Integrating with  human resource management systems  or identity platforms to automatically collect employee data into the TRM solution
  • Integrating a designated travel management company to receive copies of all travel bookings into the TRM solution

A good tip for achieving a successful TRM program is to have a structured onboarding process that is motivated by a clear travel policy demand.

Pre-travel medical approval

The second  most common type of travel incident is health-related  (travel disruptions being the most common).

A comprehensive solution can therefore assess whether a traveler is fit to travel from a medical perspective before departing to reduce the travel risk. This is especially important when the travel destination is an area or country with poor medical capabilities.  

A good medical approval process should block travel if the traveler has medical conditions that are difficult to treat at the destination or could become critical due to the trip. Some work travels take the traveler far from major cities. So, even if good medical treatment exists within the country, the nearest adequate hospital might be very far away.

Medical approvals include challenges related to privacy rights.  Employees are often reluctant to share medical information with their employer, and this type of personal data is classified as highly sensitive in many countries, requiring specific forms of collection and storage.

One solution to this problem is to use an external third-party travel approval provider that keeps all patient data confidential and only informs the employer about whether or not the employee is fit to travel to the destination. Pre-travel medical approval will also help mitigate the risk of insurance not covering medical care abroad for pre-existing conditions.

Traveler safety and security e-learning

The best solution for preventing incidents during work-related travel is  educating travelers  on different risks and how to manage them.

Work-related travel is often complex and involves unique situations, making it impossible to prepare for all types of incidents that can occur. By increasing the traveler’s understanding and knowledge, however, many of these risks can be detected and avoided by the traveler during the trip.

Some organizations do traditional instruction-led education before the trips, but to create efficiency in the TRM program when there are many travelers, an e-learning solution can be used.

E-learning can include a test assessment phase to check if the traveler has understood the information. The results of the assessment can then be tied to approval phases or notifications so a traveler cannot travel to a destination without doing the e-learning courses and fulfilling the assessment criteria.

Pre-travel and en route alerts

It can be very valuable to receive information when something is happening or will probably happen at your planned destination before departure or during your travel to the destination. This is often called “pre-travel,” “pre-trip,” or “en route” alerts.

For example, knowing before departure that a tropical storm will occur, that a curfew has been ordered due to growing civil unrest, or that a disease outbreak is happening at the destination will enable the traveler to reschedule the trip to avoid the risk entirely. Similarly, if there are terrorist attacks at the destination while the traveler is en route to the destination, the itinerary can be changed on the fly to avoid lockdowns and other temporary restrictions due to the attack.

High-risk pre-travel and en route alerts should be sent both to the traveler and to management (e.g., the security manager or travel manager).

Informing about country risk and related travel information

Providing country risk and related  travel information to the traveler is a valuable educational tool  similar to e-learning.

If it is easy to access and read information about a country, it will enable the traveler to read up on common risks and how to behave in a country to reduce the risk of an incident. Educating the traveler is one of the best tools to avoid incidents.

A common mistake within travel risk management is not understanding the difference between country risk information provided to a security manager and generic country risk information given to an ordinary employee who is traveling. The information to the traveler should include more than just security risks.

Good country risk information also includes environmental risks, medical risks, major legal and cultural differences compared to other countries, and how to behave in that country to minimize the risk of an incident.  The information should also be shorter, more generic, and assume less knowledge of the reader than, for example, that provided to a security manager.

Risk intelligence providers  commonly provide extensive and detailed risk information on each country, with the target audience being security managers, travel managers, or other roles that are typically part of a travel risk management group.

For a traveler, the level of information given to a security manager is too detailed and too extensive. A traveler needs a very condensed and quick read about the major risks and how to avoid them. If the information is too long, the ordinary traveler will not find the time to read the information and, even if they do read it, will not remember the information.

The country risk information should be so condensed that a traveler has time to read it in the passport line at the airport and should not require any previous knowledge about the situation or country.

Example: Fire in Ghana  

  • Alert to Security Manager (Web Portal)  
  • Alert to Traveler  (Mobile App)

meaning of travel management

Additional prebooked travel services 

There are many travel services that can be added when planning travel to reduce the risk of incidents. One of the most common and effective services is booking secure ground transportation using known safe suppliers. For example, a simple “meet-and-greet” at the airport will allow the traveler to avoid the risk of getting into an unknown taxi with an unknown driver or ending up in a high-risk area when using public transportation.  

A secure meet-and-greet service will remove not only the risk of robbery or kidnapping in that situation, but also the risk of lesser incidents such as scams (e.g., being overcharged for taxi fare).

Proactive assistance

Comprehensive managed solutions often include a proactive process for when an incident occurs.

The assistance center will proactively reach out to the employees in the affected area of a major incident to  check if they are OK or need assistance . By using  employee location information , the assistance center can compare all employees’ locations with affected areas to find out which employees they need to contact.

The proactive service also includes contacting employees planning to go to or on their way to the affected area. This is why it is important that a comprehensive solution automatically receive copies of all planned travel. Real-time location solutions such as mobile phone location provide detailed location data for finding out who is in the affected area, but real-time location data can’t look into the future.

Travel booking, on the other hand, will provide this insight into the future travel plans of the employee. Therefore, the best comprehensive solutions use a combination of real location systems (such as mobile phone location) and travel booking tracking for planned or ongoing travel.

meaning of travel management

Traveler alerts at the location

When a traveler is visiting a location for work, it is often difficult to understand what is going on locally from a risk perspective due to differences in language and culture. During work-related travel, the traveler frequently lives in a bubble, seeing only the airport, taxis, the hotel, and the workplace they are visiting. This means that if an incident happens, all travelers at the location need to  receive information about the incident in a language they can understand .

To address this, comprehensive solutions often include a traveler alert functionality that pushes relevant information to the traveler based on their location. This is usually generic security and medical alerts about incidents in real time, but it is also common to include other types of relevant travel information, such as major traffic disturbances.

Chapter 3 coming soon!

meaning of travel management

Roles in a Travel Risk Management Program

Implementing a travel risk management program requires multiple roles and multiple stakeholders from several parts of the organization. In this section, we will describe the usual stakeholders and their roles.  

Security role

The person responsible for a TRM program is often the  security manager . Top management typically views travel risk management as a security task and therefore places the security manager as the owner of a TRM program.

The security manager’s role encompasses many things, and travel risk is just a small part of it. This can be a problem when creating or maintaining a TRM program, as security is often viewed as a non-revenue-driving cost and is thus frequently under-financed. For commercial organizations, a more suitable security perspective would be to view TRM as securing revenue and profit, like  business continuity  management.

Travel role

Large organizations often have internal travel managers, even if they are using external travel management companies. If there is an internal travel manager, he or she is most likely deeply involved in the travel risk management program since it is a crucial component of managing employee trips.

Smaller organizations usually do not prioritize resources for a dedicated travel manager, and in such cases, the common solution is that all travel management work is outsourced entirely to an external travel management company. Thus, a TRM program for smaller organizations seldom includes a travel role.

Human Resources

Travel risk management to fulfill a duty of care should be seen as part of employer compliance regulation, which makes HR (Human Resources) a crucial role.  HR is most often involved during the integration and design phase of a TRM program  or when a major incident happens.

Travel management

Travel management plays a central role in travel risk management. Travel management’s primary purpose is to assist employees in booking trips and is usually implemented using one or several external  travel management companies (TMCs)  or through a corporate travel department (CTD) within the organization.

One of the most common practices for building a solid travel risk management program is setting a policy stating that all employees should use a designated TMC or CTD. With a designated TMC or CTD, a TRM platform can automatically receive copies of all bookings. Even if there is no integrated TRM platform, it is still possible to retrieve copies of bookings by manually contacting the TMC or CTD.

TMCs and CTDs can also assist in the pre-travel authorization process and implement approval checkpoints and travel restrictions on behalf of the organization. (See the section “Pre-travel authorization” above for more information.)

Having a designated TMC or CTD in the travel policy is an important ground rule for TRM. However, even with a designated TMC or CTD, many bookings will be made by other means, which creates a problem if the TRM program relies entirely on employees booking their trips using the TMC or CTD.

The problem of booking trips via other platforms can be mitigated, and the travel policy still adhered to, by allowing the employee to forward the booking to the TMC or CTD, or even directly to the TRM system.

The real issue occurs when the employee books a trip on some other platform without forwarding the information, thereby breaching the policy.

There are  multiple reasons why employees do not follow the travel policy, but these are the most common :  

  • The employee is not aware of the policy or finds cheaper tickets somewhere else.
  • The employee wants to circumvent the travel policy with the purpose of receiving personal loyalty points with an airline or hotel chain.
  • Someone outside the organization books the trip , such as a partner or a supplier to the organization.
  • The employee travels using their own transportation, such as a personal car.
  • The employee buys tickets locally at the departure site, such as a train station or airport.

This is called “out-of-policy bookings” and has been reported in some cases to be as high as 68% of the total bookings for the organization’s employees.

Another issue when using the designated TMC or CTD in a TRM solution is that the data that comes from the travel database often includes  errors such as misspellings, missing data, or group bookings with only names . This causes problems during an incident because there might not be enough data in the travel database to identify the employees or their contact information. You can read more about this under the section “Bad travel booking data.”

The result is that even though the TRM or CTD has a crucial role and must be included in a comprehensive TRM solution, the TRM solution cannot exclusively rely on the data coming from the travel booking and must be complemented with other data and solutions, such as mobile tracking (this is described in more detail in the section “Mobile phone locator”).

Medical assistance provider

A medical assistance provider  is a crucial supplier in a travel risk management program since health-related issues are the second most common type of incident for work-related travel.

If you have medical insurance coverage for your employees when they are abroad, you most likely have a medical assistance provider included in that insurance policy for employees to contact when they need medical assistance during travel.

The issue with only relying on the medical assistance provider in your insurance is that they are tied to the insurance policy, which means you might not get any assistance for incidents, medical or non-medical, that are not covered by the insurance policy.

In fact, medical assistance providers frequently try to minimize costs for the insurance companies in their agreements. Medical assistance companies use cost savings as a selling point in their marketing to the insurance companies. This is why you need more than just insurance to  fulfill your duty of care  for your employees, and you cannot solely rely on the medical assistance provider bundled with the insurance.

When implementing a managed TRM solution with assistance, the assistance provider must be able to handle both medical and non-medical incidents outside the limitations set by the insurance policies.

From the employer’s perspective, it is important to provide only one assistance number for employees to call in all types of emergencies. One cannot expect an employee in a stressful situation abroad to be able to sort out which assistance provider to call.

meaning of travel management

The most common solution here is to make the medical assistance provider the first point of contact for all types of emergencies, and then the medical assistance provider will bring in other suppliers if needed, such as security assistance.

Another solution is to have the assistance provider that acts as the first point of contact, such as a security assistance provider, evaluate the call and connect the employee to the medical assistance provider for medical incidents. (Please see the section “Role relationships between emergency assistance providers, employers, employees, and travel insurance” for illustrations of different medical assistance setups.)

If the medical assistance provider is the first point of contact, the organization needs to have a direct agreement with the assistance provider and cannot rely on any indirect agreement through insurance since the medical assistance provider will be given the task of handling incidents sometimes not covered by the insurance policy.

Optimally, the medical assistance provider should have an agreement with the insurance company to manage insurance claims directly with them, or be able to coordinate with another medical assistance provider that has an agreement with the insurance company.

The reason for this is that during an emergency, the medical assistance provider should always guarantee the medical expenses and then manage the damage claim with the insurance company afterward. Since medical emergencies need to be managed immediately, it would be impossible to start a long bureaucratic process with the insurance company to accept the cost every time somebody calls with the need to go to a hospital in a foreign country.

Therefore, it is best if the medical assistance provider is approved in advance by the insurance company and an agreement is set up between them to take care of the claims after the fact. A useful tip here is to use well-established medical assistance providers because they often already have agreements with insurance companies.

Security assistance provider

Most work travel incidents are travel disturbances or medical-related. However, there are both pre-travel processes and real-time incidents that are security related, and in these cases having a security assistance provider is a necessity for properly implemented managed TRM solutions.

A common pre-travel security service is, for example, booking secure ground transportation. In high-risk areas, it is important to be able to move from one point to another, such as from the airport to the hotel or from the hotel to the meeting, in a secure manner.

When a security-related incident happens, it is also important to have security services like evacuations or access to local security personnel on the ground for assisting on site.

meaning of travel management

Role relationships between emergency assistance providers, employers, employees, and travel insurance

For a managed solution with assistance, there exist four basic role layouts:

  • The first point of contact is both a medical and security emergency assistance provider. (Figure 2.1)
  • The first point of contact is a medical assistance provider with a security assistance provider as a sub-supplier. (Figure 2.2)
  • The first point of contact is a security assistance provider with a medical assistance provider as a sub-supplier. (Figure 2.3)
  • The first point of contact is a 24/7 travel assistance provider, internal or external, that coordinates the appropriate medical, security, or other assistance services. (Figure 2.4)

meaning of travel management

For reference, below (Figure 3) is a typical inadequate solution that does not fulfill your duty of care since it uses only insurance and the medical emergency assistance provider included in the insurance:

meaning of travel management

Insurance companies

Although insurance companies ultimately only handle claims and cover costs, the insurance companies and their insurance policies are vital components of a TRM program and managing incidents.

By having an insurance company cover the costs and, more importantly, knowing the insurance company will cover the cost, the organization or employee can act swiftly. Otherwise, the cost question might stall the process or create uncertainty about how to manage an incident. For example, when an employee needs to seek medical care abroad, in the worst case, the employee might need to temporarily cover large expenses out of pocket, which they might not be able to pay.

A common service provided by emergency medical assistance is to guarantee payment to hospitals abroad for expensive emergency care.  That is why the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends selecting travel insurance that makes payments directly to the hospitals.

To complicate things further, the structure of insurance for work-related travel varies widely between countries and even between insurance companies within a country.

For example, in Europe, it is common to need extra travel insurance to get medical care for employees abroad since domestic medical care is usually covered by the state, while in the U.S., some health insurances might, by default, include medical care abroad. On the other hand, European travel insurances usually include additional coverage such as lost luggage.

A common mistake that many organizations make today is not updating the travel-related insurance when the organization grows. For example, travel insurance is often tied to the country of origin and the number of employees. When an organization expands with more employees or opens an office in a new country, the existing travel insurance often does not cover those employees. 

The recommendation is therefore to contact your insurance broker, or get an insurance broker if you don’t have one. Describe the level of insurance protection you want, where you have employees, how many you have, their travel and work patterns, and how the insurance should work with the TRM program. Then let your insurance broker do the heavy lifting by figuring out what type of insurance you need and from which insurance companies.

The complexity of insurance policies creates a high risk of your organization being underinsured in many situations, and it is important to understand the exemptions in the policies. For example, insurance might not cover pre-existing medical conditions that were known before travel, accidents during extreme sports, bleisure travel (mixing work travel with leisure travel), or non-covered high-risk countries.

meaning of travel management

The employment form of your employees is also a factor to consider. For example, some insurance policies include consultants while others exclude them. If the consultant does not have their own insurance to cover their work-related travel, you might end up in a legal battle over who should carry the cost. If you have consultants in your organization, either your insurance needs to cover your consultants or you need to have checkpoints to ensure the consultant has their own TRM program or travel insurance that is compatible with your TRM program.

Travel insurance policies are commonly sold in packages per trip, per employee, or for the entire organization. It is my strongest recommendation to select travel insurance that covers the entire organization all the time. It is easy to miss buying travel insurance before employees depart on a trip abroad, or to miss that the insurance only covers select employees.

The primary goal of the insurance setup from a TRM perspective is to make sure that incident processes work efficiently. It is important that cost coverage and payment setups be in place, as lack of such setups could delay, block, or otherwise be detrimental to the incident processes in the TRM program.

The recommendation here is to get help from an insurance broker. Inform the broker of what your entire organization looks like and how you plan to design your TRM program, and ask them if there are any insurance gaps that need to be covered with additional insurance.

Sometimes the terms “risk” and “threat” are used interchangeably, even though they are two different things. A threat is something that might become a risk if the employee is exposed to the threat. For example, some areas in Mexico are known for the high threat of being kidnapped, but if no employee ever visits these areas, then there is no risk for the organization from that threat.

Kidnap and ransom insurance

“Kidnap and ransom” is a special type of insurance that is seldom included in travel insurance and needs to be purchased separately.

Kidnap and ransom  insurance can be crucial for large organizations operating in countries with high risk of kidnapping. In order to be valid, kidnap and ransom insurance must be kept classified from the employees so that the existence of the policy does not entice kidnapping. It is also important to note that in some countries, kidnap and ransom insurance is not legal; therefore, it might not be possible to purchase such insurance.

Threat intelligence provider

A threat intelligence provider, also called a “risk intelligence provider”,  is needed to understand the risk in travel risk management.

The threat intelligence provider makes frequently updated threat assessments of countries and regions. Most providers also offer a real-time 24/7 alert service for time-critical threats. Some of these providers can correlate the organization’s risk exposure and thereby provide the actual risk, such as correlation with  facility locations ,  employee locations , or special types of operations within the organization (e.g., maritime activities). The threat intelligence provider can be purchased as a standalone provider or, in many cases, as an integrated service with other security services or even integrated with the TRM solution.

The threat intelligence provider is a crucial component of the risk assessments that determine which countries or areas employees may travel to and what security preparations need to be done before departure. The 24/7 real-time alert service is also critical for proactive assistance in case a threat develops. If a traveler is in the area or plans to go to the area, then it is important that they receive these real-time alerts to act quickly to mitigate the threat.

The organization’s management has the most important role of all in a TRM program since a TRM program is only as successful as the commitment of the management. The ISO 31030 framework puts “Leadership and Commitment” in the center of the framework connected to everything else since all other work and results depend on these two factors.

Failed implementations of TRM are mostly due to poor commitment from the management. One of the most common issues here is that management decides to implement a TRM program without allocating the required money or resources. This means TRM falls into the same business pit as most other types of security by being seen as a non-revenue-generating cost that should be minimized until the day something goes seriously wrong.

One should see the role of the management as that of the internal buyer; if the buyer (i.e., management) is not ready to pay for good quality, then it will not be possible to deliver good quality. If the TRM program is of poor quality, then the management will not  fulfill their duty of care , and the organization might face financial and reputational damages. Such damage will ultimately be the responsibility of the management, caused by their unwillingness to provide proper protection for employees to save costs.

The tip is to focus on buy-in from the management by explaining that a good quality TRM program is required to fulfill the duty of care and that, to build such a program, TRM must be given its own financial budget and clearly marked allocated resource time.

Crisis team

When an incident occurs that affects traveling employees, several tasks need to be managed and coordinated internally within the organization. Different processes are started depending on the severity of the incident and the number of employees affected. If the incident is of very high severity and affects many employees, then the organization’s crisis team is often involved. If the incident only involves a few employees, which is typically the case for TRM, then the TRM response or assistance team usually handles the incident without any involvement from the crisis team.

The crisis team handles much more than just travel-related crises since employee travel is just one small aspect of crisis management work. However, if a major disaster occurs abroad, the crisis team may have the responsibility of locating all employees in the affected area, including travelers, to check if they are OK. This means that the crisis team will sometimes need to work closely with the TRM team and use the TRM solution.

meaning of travel management

Chapter 4 coming soon!

meaning of travel management

Common Work Tasks and Processes within TRM

When implementing and operating a TRM solution, many work tasks and processes need to be in place.

Below are some of the more crucial tasks and processes that must be established for a proper TRM solution that fulfills your duty of care. For a complete list, please see the  ISO 31030 standard.

Leadership commitment and communication

The success of the TRM program is dependent on the top management’s commitment, and the top management should make it crystal clear that all travelers must follow the TRM program. The best way to achieve this is to set an organization-wide policy that all travelers must join the TRM program, and that refusing to join can result in travel being denied.

The top management must also allocate the necessary funding and resources for the implementation and operation of the TRM program. Otherwise, it will become merely a paper product for rubber stamping compliance. Since TRM is often seen as only a cost from the management’s perspective, it is a common problem that a TRM program is put in place without adding new resources.

The required added resources can be budgeted funds for outsourcing everything to a TRM supplier or adding employees to perform the work internally (or, in the best case, a combination of both). Adding a TRM program without adding resources results in the TRM program becoming minimized and often ends with a poorly functioning TRM program that does not fulfill the duty of care.

The rollout process is about establishing the TRM program with the employees. Employees need to know what number to call in case of emergency, where or how to find insurance policy numbers, which travel management company to use for booking business trips,  installing mobile applications , taking  e-learning courses , etc.

The rollout process is the key to getting a good adoption rate for a TRM program. A common cause of poor rollout is not having the full commitment of the top management.

The rollout process itself is part of the implementation phase in the  ISO 31030  framework and contains many different tasks depending on how the TRM program has been designed and the tools selected. A typical rollout includes:

  • Informing all the employees
  • Establishing processes within and between travel management companies, assistance providers, crisis teams, organization management, etc.
  • Installation of tools, such as mobile applications, integration of the TRM platform, etc.
  • Education of employees

A poorly done rollout process is often the reason for a TRM program being poorly implemented.

For a comprehensive solution, the pre-travel processes are the most effective processes to implement in a high-quality TRM program. Pre-travel involves many different processes depending on the TRM program setup, but common processes are:

  • Booking processes using designated travel management companies
  • Education and e-learning processes
  • High-risk booking processes

These processes are explained in detail in an earlier section under “Pre-travel processes.”

If you are using an external emergency assistance provider, which is a common case, the assistance processes are tightly tied to the internal processes of that provider. Processes need to be established for efficient interaction between the emergency assistance provider, your own organization, and other sub-suppliers.

These can include the following processes:

  • Proactive assistance reporting
  • Reactive assistance reporting
  • Assistance processes between medical assistance and security assistance if separate security and medical assistance providers are used.

Read more about the assistance processes.

Common Mistakes and Misunderstandings

The mistake of thinking travel insurance is enough.

It is a common misconception that it is sufficient to only get travel insurance or to use existing insurance that includes work-related travel and provide the employee with the insurance policy details. If the organization only provides standard work-related travel insurance and nothing else, then it will not fulfill your duty of care, and the organization is exposed to legal and financial risks.

The main reason why standard work-related travel insurance is not enough is that insurances have limitations on what is covered, and employees and organizations have no insurance coverage or assistance processes in place for events outside these limitations. Risks that work-related travelers are often exposed to are commonly excluded in the insurance (for example, pre-existing medical conditions,  evacuations due to security and health threats , kidnappings, personal threats, cyber security attacks,  natural disasters , etc.).

Travel insurance focuses on medical coverage for medical emergencies, followed by travel disturbances, one of the most common types of incidents during work-related travel. Additionally, travel insurance usually only covers the employee during work-related tasks. The effect is that if an employee calls the emergency assistance provided by the insurance for events excluded in the insurance policy, the employee might not get any assistance at all, and if they do receive assistance, it will be the responsibility of the organization or employee to cover the costs in the end.

After the big Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, which is the second largest nuclear disaster in the history of mankind, many business travelers were afraid of the radiation risk and wanted to leave Japan as soon as possible by booking very expensive flight tickets. When the travelers were home, many organizations and employees were surprised to find out that their insurance did not cover the evacuation costs. If they covered anything at all, the insurance would only cover the evacuation trip home if a traveler had been afflicted with radiation poisoning, and not for the possible risk of radiation poisoning.

The  Fukushima event  is a glaring example of how travel insurance is not enough and how chaotic an incident can become when there is no proper TRM program set in place by the organization.

The misunderstanding that mobile phone location tracking is privacy-invasive

It is a common misunderstanding that mobile phone location tracking for a TRM solution must be privacy-invasive.  There are solutions to guarantee the employees’ privacy and thus gain their trust.  It is done by limiting the organization’s access to the location data to prevent any type of misuse.

Employees usually accept that the organization knows the details of their flight, train, or hotel booking, but are often more reluctant to share their mobile phone location. It is an understandable fear because real-time mobile phone location tracking can be misused by the organization to spy on the employee. It is therefore important to add privacy mechanisms to the mobile phone tracking solutions to guarantee the privacy of the employee.

TRM platforms today contain different types of privacy filters to protect employee privacy. Some examples are:

  • Location data can be obfuscated to a grid, like 10×10 km.
  • Employees can set an obfuscation area of the location or turn the location off.
  • It is also possible to protect privacy through an agreement setup by using an external emergency assistance provider that is the only party that can access the mobile location data.  

Common Problems

The culture in the organization and strong personal opinions are common obstacles to a TRM program. Below are some of the more common cultural problems.

Explorer mentality

Many work-related travelers are seasoned travelers that have traveled for many years and have been exposed to high-risk situations without any TRM program. These travelers may view themselves as daring explorers that are used to the risks, accept the risks, and have a history of managing everything by themselves. These experienced travelers might feel that following the TRM program is like having a babysitter and is unnecessary for them due to their experience.

Outside travel policy bookings

A crucial function of any good TRM program is that the TRM solution covers as much work-related travel as possible within the organization. This is mainly achieved by using designated travel management companies.

However, even when such a booking policy is set in place, many do not follow the policy and book using other means. Common reasons are finding a cheaper ticket online, booking on the fly, the traveler wants to select a specific airline to get loyalty points, travel management being unable to make the booking, the travel management company being slow or not having 24/7 service, or the employee simply being unaware of the policy.

Whatever the reason may be, outside travel policy booking is a big problem. The most common solutions for outside policy bookings are:

  • Add a mobile location solution so if the employee books outside the designated travel management company, it will still be possible to locate the employee using the mobile phone.
  • Have the TRM system read booking confirmation emails.  The employee can forward a copy of the booking confirmation email to a designated email address.  The TRM system will then automatically look through the booking text and add the booking into the TRM system as if it was booked by the designated travel management company. It is also possible to set up automatic filtering of all incoming emails, so if an email originates from an online booking agency, the TRM system will automatically add it to its travel booking database.

The most common technical problems in TRM solutions are:

Bad travel booking data

Mobile phone location tracking not working.

  • Incorrect or missing data on employees, such as name, phone number, email, etc.

The  International Air Transport Association (IATA)  13 provides a standard called  IATA Resolutions and Recommended Practices Directory . 14 The standard resolution 830d, which is binding for all IATA members, describes the requirement for the PNR data entry. When there are issues with bad travel booking data, it is commonly due to the travel management company violating IATA resolution 830d when entering the booking.

Bad travel booking data is a common problem caused by the underlying computer systems. They are often very old legacy systems, and there are hardly any automated data checks on what is entered into the system.

Booking data is, therefore, usually of low quality and dependent on how meticulously the booking agent at the travel management company enters the booking data.

For example, booking systems may have free-text fields with no proper data checks where it is possible to mix names, emails, and phone numbers without any checks or verification processes on the data entered.

Group bookings are another issue that the underlying booking system is not properly built for.

Mobile phone location tracking might sound simple, but it often stops working because it is very technically complex. The reason is that mobile location tracking operates in the background of the phone system, meaning the employee does not need to manually open the mobile application every time a TRM system needs a mobile location update.

The background functionality feature presents a long series of technical challenges because the manufacturers of mobile operating systems (Apple for iPhones and Google for Android phones) have implemented many ways to block or reduce background functionality. The primary reasons are  preserving battery time , which is an important sales factor, as well as reducing cyber security risks and privacy risks.

To make it even more complicated, many big handset manufacturers create their own versions of the Android operating system and often make modifications to background functionality and location functionality.

With the rise of new data protection and privacy laws such as the  GDPR in the EU , the legal work around implementing a TRM program has grown significantly.

It is important to note that all existing and emerging data protection and privacy laws still allow a comprehensive implementation of a TRM solution with all the bells and whistles. The issue is getting all the legal paperwork in order and implementing a TRM solution that is legally compliant and in line with the legal paperwork.

The most common legal issues are:

  • Cross-border transfer of personal data. Data protection and privacy laws in the EU, Russia, and China, for example, set hard requirements on if and how personal data may be transferred outside a country or region. This requires both a technical solution to fulfill these requirements and legal agreements between the organization and the technical solution provider.  
  • Who owns and controls the personal data? It is important to establish who is the  controller of the personal data  or similar depending on local law. Once that is established, agreements must be entered with sub-suppliers of the TRM solution that describe who controls the employee data. Not only is this a legal compliance demand in many countries, but it is also important to have a clear legal responsibility in case of a data breach and to limit the secondary use of the data.
  • Cyber security. The cyber security threat grows every day, and personal data such as employee locations, medical conditions, travel plans, etc., are high-risk data in a cyber security data leak. Proper legal documents need to be set in place with technical providers ensuring proper data protection measures are implemented for all systems collecting and storing personal data.

It is common for an organization to miss updating its employee privacy policy when implementing a TRM program. A TRM program often collects personal data on employees that is otherwise not collected, such as next of kin, mobile phone location, and medical conditions. The employee privacy policy needs to be updated to reflect all the personal data collected by the TRM program.

Chapter 5 coming soon!

meaning of travel management

Technical Tools, Solutions and the future of TRM

When establishing a TRM solution, there are many processes that need to be working smoothly.

As with all types of processes within modern organizations, many technical tools and solutions exist to support these processes. Below is a list of the most common ones used to manage and assist the processes required in a  TRM implementation that fulfills your duty of care , such as a TRM program according to  ISO 31030 .

Travel tracker

One popular technical tool is a travel tracker that collects travel bookings. This is usually a system that is integrated with the travel management company and automatically receives copies of all  flight, hotel, train, boat, and taxi bookings . The travel tracker allows the people responsible for managing an incident to search bookings based on geographic areas or individuals.

The most valuable output from a travel tracker is the ability to see future travel bookings to manage the risk for employees planning to go to an area or en route to an area.

The major limitation of travel trackers is that they only display booked locations and not where employees are in the moment. For example, the tracker can show where an employee landed several days ago and where he or she plans to stay for the night, but the employee could be in a completely different city or even a different country than what the tracker shows. Therefore, travel trackers need to be complemented with other technical tools and solutions, such as mobile phone locators.

Mobile phone locator

A mobile phone locator provides the real-time location of the employee’s mobile phone. Compared to travel trackers, mobile phone locators provide up-to-date and often more detailed location information. The mobile phone locator solves the issue presented by travel trackers and fills the gap in the travel booking information, such as where a business meeting occurs or when an employee deviates from the planned booking due to travel disruption or changes in the travel plans on the go.

To protect the privacy of employees, several technical solutions exist, such as privacy filtering or obfuscation by limiting location tracking to grids instead of exact positions. This ensures that the location information cannot be misused by the employer to spy on the employee. Some organizations only allow an external assistance provider to have access to the mobile location data and thereby block any possible misuse by the employer.

Mass communication

During an incident, many people might be affected, and it would be too slow to communicate manually with each person one on one. Therefore, a mass communication tool is necessary to be able to communicate with all personnel,   and not only travelers, in the affected area.

This functionality is similar to the mass communication functionality often found in  business continuity and crisis management tools , and there is frequently an overlap between the systems. However, unless the business continuity and crisis management tool contains TRM functionality, it lacks the travel tracker information necessary for mass communication to function in a TRM context. That is the primary reason for the overlap that often exists between the systems.

Integrated TRM platform

Historically, the technical tools listed above were separate standalone platforms. As technology has matured, the most common solutions today for new installations are integrated travel risk management platforms with some or all of the tools described above in one platform. Several of these TRM platforms also have APIs to integrate with other technical systems, such as identity platforms for managing login credentials or HR platforms for employee personal data.

Related Programs, Functions, and Systems

Crisis management.

Crisis management is activated when a major incident occurs that affects many employees or impacts the organization severely in some manner.

Depending on the type of crisis, sometimes TRM comes into play and is part of crisis management. For example, when a major disaster occurs at a facility,  TRM has a crucial role in locating travelers that were visiting the facility  at that time. TRM can also call upon crisis management for certain types of TRM incidents, such as kidnappings or travel-related incidents that become a public interest and affect the organization’s public relations.

Mass communication tools

This is a key component of a TRM solution because when many travelers are affected at the same time, a mass communication system is required, as it would take too long to reach out to each traveler individually.

It is therefore common for TRM systems to include or integrate with a mass communication tool that can be used for both travel and non-travel situations. Crisis management uses similar mass communication tools, and it can be valuable if the same tool is used for crisis management and TRM.

Business continuity management

Some organizations, like Gartner, place TRM as part of a  business continuity management program , even though it is most often designed, implemented, and operated separately from business continuity. However, there is an obvious overlap here because the top management usually travels frequently, and any type of risk that could hinder the top management from operating normally can be considered part of the business continuity program.

Additionally, cyber security, which is today a primary topic in business continuity, has travel-related cyber security risks on its agenda (for example, how to secure devices and internet connections during work-related travel). A good business continuity program should include cyber security training for travelers and add cyber security requirements to the travel policy.

People Mobility

With the growth of remote workers, employee mobility is on the rise and is sometimes called “people mobility.”

As the mobility of employees and the  work-from-home trend grow , the boundaries between work-related travel and people mobility become fuzzy. For example, if a tornado hits Florida in the U.S., an organization might have both a work-related traveler in the area and an employee working remotely in the same area. Should the employer help both employees or only the one that has been ordered to travel to the area? Exactly what is the employer’s responsibility for the employee that made their own decision to work remotely from that area?

People mobility and TRM therefore intersect, and many of the tools for mitigating the risks of people mobility are the same as the tools within TRM. Therefore, in a perfect world, TRM should be seen as part of all risks for all employees and not a standalone component for travel alone.

The Future of Travel Risk Management

The mobility trend, which got a real boost from the  Covid-19 pandemic , erases the boundaries between work-related travel and working from a remote place. This will make the “travel” part of travel risk management redundant, and other types of organizational risk management will need to add a “travel” consideration since many employees, in fact, are traveling when working remotely.

One could say that travel risk management needs to be merged with organizational risk management into a new area called “people risk management.” So, the future of TRM is looking at risks related to people wherever they are. People risk management.

Another prediction is that we will see a growth of technical support systems with more automation and more integration into other IT systems.

No matter which way travel risk management develops over time, one trend is crystal clear: the world is becoming more global every day, and it is far from safe. This means the need for travel risk management will continue to grow in whatever form it will take or whatever it will be called in the future.

meaning of travel management

Summary Checklist for Fulfilling Your Duty of Care

TRM is a vast area, and if you want to make sure you have everything covered for your duty of care compliance, the  ISO 31030 standard  provides an extensive list. However, implementing a TRM program according to ISO 31030 is a daunting task, and the standard provides little guidance on what to prioritize.

Below is my personal checklist of what should be prioritized in order to make great strides on the journey to fulfill the organization’s duty of care. If you contact a TRM solutions supplier, they will be able to assist with several of these items.

  • Get commitment from the management to implement a TRM program with budget and resource allocation.
  • Make sure you have good travel insurances that have a wide coverage for all the odd situations that can occur during work-related travel.
  • Set up an agreement with an emergency assistance supplier that can manage both medical and security incidents. Employees should have one phone number to call, no matter what type of emergency.
  • Create a travel policy.
  • Designate a travel management company that is mandatory for all employees to use.
  • Set up a technical system for employee location, such as a travel tracker, mobile phone locator, or similar.

I wish you success on your journey to create or improve your duty of care for all the people in your organization.  

Andreas Rodman, Co-founder, Safeture 

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Safeture (founded in 2009) is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company based in Sweden.

The company offers a complete platform designed to handle safety and risks for employees, wherever they are. Through world-leading technology and innovative solutions, Safeture helps risk management- and assistance providers secure their clients, global companies, and organizations to protect what matters most – their people.

The Safeture share is listed on NASDAQ First North Growth Market Stockholm (ticker: SFTR). Redeye is the Certified Adviser.

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meaning of travel management


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