Travel Managers Are Being Asked to Manage Meetings
More and more often, travel directors are being asked to manage strategic meetings management programs.
But do travel management and meetings management require the same skill sets and subject matter expertise for travel management professionals to take on these added responsibilities?
This is part one of a two part article outlining the tasks that travel and meeting managers are responsible for, and identifying similarities between the two roles. Part two of the article will follow next week and will identify the differences between the two roles.
Business Travel News recently reported in its 2013 Travel Manager Salary and Attitude Survey (page 54), that by 2015, 59% of all Travel Managers responding to the survey will be involved in strategic meetings management. This result is similar to GBTA’s 2012 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey, which determined that 55% of all travel directors responding to the survey said they are responsible for developing strategic meetings management programs in their companies. So the trend is definitely here, but is it a net positive for the management of meetings?
Common Roles and Responsibilities
Travel and meetings management have nine responsibilities in common.
- Policy Development and Administration – the Meetings policy has to put much more focus on regulatory and duty-of-care compliance than the Travel policy, because the opportunities for violations are greater at meetings and events
- Program Design – Travel and Meetings both require program design, but entail completely different processes and procedures
- Corporate Social Responsibility – both are focused on diversity and green programs
- Technology Selection and Deployment – Travel is concerned with online booking tools, while Meetings is concerned with sourcing, budgeting, attendee management and reporting technologies
- Data Management and Reporting – No GDS (Global Distribution System) in meetings, making data management more difficult
- Supplier Management – Travel oversees air, hotel, car, GDS and technology, while Meetings oversees hotel, technology, audiovisual, ground transport and production
- Compliance Management – there are greater opportunities for regulatory and duty of care violations in a meetings program
- Payment Program – payment mechanisms are similar for travel and meetings, but reconciliation processes are different, i.e., expense reports versus central bill folio level reconciliation
- Change Management – similar audiences, although resistance to change much greater in meetings programs
While many of the roles and responsibilities are similar, the subject matter expertise required in a meetings program diverges considerably from travel, especially in the areas of policies, processes, risk management, and technology.
There are six areas where there is a significant divergence between meetings management and travel management. Some of the divergence is due to differences in the subject matter, and some is the result of the number of risks associated with meetings, leading to the need for increased focus on regulatory and duty of care compliance issues in the meetings space.
This article will continue next week, where I will expand on the discussion of the differences between travel and meetings management. Please make sure you register (in the registration form below this article or at the top of the right hand column) to receive next week’s installment.
Please let me and your fellow readers know your thoughts on the similarities between travel and meetings management. You can add your thoughts in the comments box directly below.
Thanks for joining me!