So many skillsets and details go into planning and booking business travel. Most of the tasks needed to facilitate a successful business trip happen behind the scenes or while we’re fast asleep in our corners of the world.
This Meet the JTB Team series on the Waypoint Blog will introduce you to some of the people who work day-in and day-out to ensure that Business Travelers get where they need to go (and back) as efficiently and comfortably as possible. This month, meet Marianne Moore, who is a Manager on the JTB Business Travel operations team.
How long have you been with the company?
Two-and-a-half years. Prior to working at JTB, I spent 13 years with another travel management company, where I started in retail travel before moving to corporate.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the repetitiveness you get from corporate Travelers, the relationships you get to build with your clients. You work with road warriors and you get to talk to them every week. So that’s really enjoyable in the corporate space.
What inspires you?
Passionate people, people who have a clear goal, people who know what they want to accomplish. For example, I work with a travel manager at Otsuka, and she has a clear vision of where she wants to take the company’s travel program.
What does a usual day look like for you?
I start with a couple of cups of coffee and client emails in the morning. I do administrative work during the day. There are always lots of different meetings — some days my calendar is full of conference calls and client meetings. I’ll also jump on the phones occasionally. I enjoy just working on the phones and booking travel versus spending too much time looking at Excel spreadsheets.
What’s your life motto or slogan?
It’s cliche, but no regrets. Life happens. Learn from the mistakes and keep moving forward. I try not to dwell on what happened the day before.
Why did you decide to start working in the travel industry?
After university, I had no debt, my brother gave me a backpack, and I bought a ticket to Europe. That turned into 4 years of backpacking. After that experience, I walked into a travel agency in my hometown and applied for a job. The job allowed me to stay close to the travel industry while also getting some travel perks.
What question do Business Travelers ask you most often when planning travel for work?
Every Traveler is concerned with different things. You have road warriors, and their biggest concern is what their mileage accrual is going to be and status. They want to stay with their preferred brand. The ones who don’t travel often ask about how early they need to be at the airport and other fundamental questions, so it depends on the Traveler and their experience level.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from working with Business Travelers?
Getting our Travelers where they need to be as efficiently as possible really makes you want to step up your customer service. When they’re gone, they’re looking forward to getting home as soon as possible. I approach my Travelers as if they are the CEO of the company — always.
What advice would you give an employee who is just getting started with travel for work?
This is a job where you really need to invest a solid year to understand what’s happening. The world is a huge place and everything is changing. You’re not just selling one product, you’re selling every airline and every hotel, and there’s so much to learn. You need to be humble because you may pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows way more than you do.
What is the most common mistake you see Travelers make that you wish you could prevent?
Usually, when we’re implementing Concur with our clients, we tell them it’s great for domestic and point-to-point travel. But we tell them to call us for international travel. We can provide better insights into how to schedule, especially anytime a trip’s getting more complicated and the Traveler is unsure how to navigate it. We’re experts. This is what we do. So the biggest mistake I see Travelers make is trying to manage complicated trips without our help.
Is there anything you do in your personal life that has benefited you in your work life?
My passion for travel has really helped. I’ve been to 46 countries. There aren’t many major airports I haven’t been to. I’ve been stuck in places. If anyone’s having a bad day, I can empathize. And then there’s bleisure. I get excited to work with Business Travelers who are adding days onto their trips for leisure. I get to tell them where I’ve been and what they should check out in certain cities.
What do you enjoy most about working with people who travel for work?
All of our clients are lovely people to deal with. I enjoy that Business Travelers tend to be clear and concise in what they want, and I enjoy the efficiency with which they get things done.
Do you speak Japanese?
No, I don’t, but I want to learn some.
Have you ever been to Japan?
I have not, but it’s definitely always been on the list of places I want to go.
What is your favorite travel destination?
It’s very hard to say. Egypt is special to me. I lived there for 2 years. As far as a beach getaway, I love Jamaica.
Where is your favorite place to eat/drink/enjoy when you travel?
My favorite meal I ever had was in South Africa at a restaurant called Lush in a tiny seaside town. There’s also a restaurant in Nairobi called Carnivores. It’s traditional how they roast the meat — slow-roasted and turned. And they walk around with 20 different kinds of game meat to serve.