The keys to effective post-trip travel management include data analysis, learning from mistakes, optimization, plus policy updates.
Travel Managers can breathe a sigh of relief when their Travelers return home from successful business trips. Executives can, too. Just remember that the work isn’t done when the trip ends. Post-trip travel management is perhaps your best opportunity to set Travelers up for even greater success the next time they leave the office to hit the road.
How can you master post-trip travel management to improve your program for the future? Focus on the following 4 activities to ensure that your travel program keeps getting better and better.
1. Travel Data Analysis
The greatest benefit of modern-day travel technology platforms is that they help you capture more data than ever before. When trips are complete, it’s time to analyze that data to evaluate the trip’s success. There are two metrics that are most important when evaluating business trip data:
- Overall spending
- Overall revenue generated or retained
Your travel technologies should make capturing overall spending data relatively simple and straightforward. Using virtual credit cards for business travel makes capturing expense data even easier.
It’s a little more difficult to capture overall revenue generated or retained, but your sales team should be able to help with that data. For example, if you spent a certain amount of money to send 3 team members to a conference and expo, how many new contacts made at the event did you turn into paying customers? And what amount of revenue do those paying customers represent?
Consider analyzing expense data in the short-term. For example, how much was spent vs. how much could you have saved while maintaining the productivity and success of the business trip?
Consider analyzing revenue data in the long-term. It’s easier to aggregate revenue figures each quarter or year — and then compare them to the amount of money spent on travel while securing (or retaining) that revenue.
2. Learning from Mistakes
Analyzing data doesn’t help the organization if you don’t learn from mistakes. For example:
- Did you lose an account that could have been saved by sending more team members to spend more face-to-face time with the client?
- Did you spend thousands of dollars sending 3 team members to an expo where they only collected 5 leads?
- Did you approve travel for a meeting that could have been held virtually?
The answers to these questions won’t come exclusively from the data. But you can use data to help you make informed decisions in tandem with qualitative data. Keep in touch with your Customers and Travelers on a regular basis to ensure that you are aware of their opinions and the trends developing across your travel program. Then use quantitative data to confirm or disconfirm the opinions and trends brought to light by your Customers and Travelers.
3. Travel Program Optimization
As you learn from mistakes, make changes to optimize your travel program. It’s best to focus on continuous improvement. You don’t have to overhaul your program on a quarter-by-quarter basis. But, if you make incremental improvements as you learn from your mistakes, you’ll find that your program naturally improves over time.
Business travel is a tool your organization can use to reach its full potential. Travel helps the company connect with new prospects, meet with and retain existing customers, hold internal meetings where key decisions are made, etc. An optimized travel program should help you meet more new prospects, reduce churn, and make even better strategic decisions. Use those three objectives (and any others specific to your business) as north stars while you optimize.
4. Travel Policy Updates
As you learn from your mistakes, and as you optimize your travel program, document those changes and updates in your travel policy. Your travel policy should be a playbook for how each Traveler can book and execute trips that are comfortable, productive and ultimately successful from a financial perspective.
If you fail to document optimizations in your travel policy, it’s possible that the lessons learned from past mistakes will be forgotten across your institution — and that your organization may make them again in the future.
Get Support Before, During and After Trips
You don’t have to go it alone when conducting post-trip travel management activities. At JTB Business Travel, we work with clients large and small to ensure that everything goes smoothly before, during and after a business trip. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Learn more about getting the post-trip travel management support you need.