The role of a travel manager involves creating and enforcing the company’s policies regarding business trips.
Part of this job means you must know all the relevant federal guidelines and stay up-to-date in the travel industry. The other part requires you to have excellent communication skills.
Where does communication fit into all this?
Why Communication Matters
Sure, you could write everything in a book, post it on the internal website, and point everyone to it when they have questions. But that’s not what a skillful travel manager does.
Your job is more efficient when you know how to communicate with your departments. Clear instructions and well-written and spoken information reduce uncertainty. This, in turn, improves traveler trust and confidence.
Communication may not be your strong suit yet, but you’re working on it. These tips will help you up your travel manager abilities and become a better communicator.
1. Set and Share Your Goals
What are your intentions for your travel policy? When you clearly define your goals and lay them out, it becomes easier for everyone to understand the “why” behind each rule.
For instance, you could have a rule that you must use particular vendors for your business travel plans. What are the reasons behind this rule? What goal do you hope to accomplish by using those specific vendors?
Maybe you’re building a working relationship with them with the goal of getting more business at a discount. Those savings could then be passed down to your employees as bonuses or raises.
By imparting this goal along with the rule, you’ll save yourself from many staff complaints if they want to use someone else.
2. Have Multiple Lines of Communication
Remember back in school when we were taught about different learning styles? Everyone comprehends information differently; this does not change as we age.
When communicating essential ideas to your team, use multiple formats to get the knowledge across. You may prefer lengthy emails, but some of the staff might understand it better in graphic format.
Don’t assume your workers are checking their email messages all day. If a crucial piece of information needs to be imparted timely, use various ways to get it to each person. You might even need to (gasp) call them!
3. Communicate With Those Who Need to Know
Have you ever been the unwanted recipient of a group text? Many people are in one chat, and the content doesn’t interest you. But you’re stuck getting notified every time someone texts, and dozens of messages later, you’re finally begging them to take you off the chat line.
Work communication can be like that sometimes. Someone unthinkingly sends out a mass email to everyone in the company, but it only pertains to a particular division or department. Responses come en masse, and people waste time reading messages that aren’t relevant to them, or ignore them, only to miss out on something they need to know.
As you communicate, be aware of who needs to know what you’re saying. Don’t overload anyone’s inbox unless it’s necessary.
4. Keep It Simple
It might seem like it’s in your traveler’s best interest to understand the why behind every instruction and step, but most of the information is likely to confuse them.
Start your travel policies by keeping them simple. Give them the basics: timelines, work processes, and who they need to talk to if there’s a problem.
After the simple initial breakdown, add a detailed policy section on each part. If someone is interested in learning more, like the why behind the action step they’re instructed to take, they can read further.
Effective communicators don’t just know what to say; they know when to say it. Let your teams process the basic information before you add layers of knowledge.
Don’t assume they understand everything they must do because it’s easy for you. Your job involves everything travel-related. Their jobs, skills, and background knowledge are different.
You have a travel policy in place, and travelers are heading out on business trips at any time. If the policies and communication aren’t effective, you’re also fielding many questions.
You can reduce the stress on you and your workers by being a clear communicator. When they know what they can expect and why, they can head out on their trips confidently.