Salaries for travel managers increase as roles expand

For some travel managers, 2022 has been like waking up to a strange new world. Many old faces, trusted contacts and longtime colleagues had moved on, leaving them with new responsibilities to take on on their own. Many had to adapt to new bosses when merging with other departments, such as purchasing, human resources or meetings and events. Others had to onboard groups of fresh-faced new hires, some of whom had never used a travel agency before.

“I re-educate travelers to travel,” said one. Some younger travelers who are accustomed to booking personal trips directly from suppliers or online travel agencies also need training on what their travel program (and travel management agency) can offer. “Due to attrition, a new base of younger employees must include a managed travel program,” another respondent explained.

What caught the attention of Travel Managers? Given the corporate focus on the environment, 37% of travel managers placed more emphasis on sustainability. And as Zoom, Teams and other tools for some proved acceptable substitutes for certain types of meetings, a third of travel managers focused more on managing virtual conferencing technology.

How I go?

Perhaps one of the biggest differences from previous studies is how the performance of travel managers is assessed. Despite their strategic importance to the business, six in 10 travel managers still cite savings and cost avoidance as the #1 criteria when it comes to measuring their performance. But while this benchmark ranks high, its importance has dropped significantly from the 2019 survey, when savings was chosen by 73% of respondents, indicating that success is about more than just reducing. costs. If not, how are managers evaluated?

Almost half (48%) said performance is measured by the travel department’s strategic contribution to the organization, suggesting they are valued more for their participation in overall corporate decision-making. business, especially in times of crisis.

“I am seen as a more strategic partner within the organization and have a voice outside of my immediate supervisor,” wrote one respondent. Another said a recent positive outcome was “getting leaders to understand what my role is and the value I bring to the organization.” Travel management expert Maria Chevalier, who leads the industry’s career growth group CTME Search Party, agreed that travel managers get their due. “The complexity of their work has come to light since Covid, and it has become more apparent to management how difficult it is,” she said.

Traveler satisfaction is also among the top three performance criteria, chosen by 47% of respondents. After two years of overseeing traveler health and safety and considering the global talent shortage, it’s no surprise that employee satisfaction tops the list.

With fewer bodies and more reliance on data, technological prowess has also grown in importance. About a third cited program innovation as a key performance metric, and three in 10 selected technology implementation as an important factor in how their performance is assessed.

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