Five signs it’s time to outsource traveler engagement

By Lesley O’Bryan, Practice Area Leader

Lesley-OBryan

Your travel program is a lot like your favorite pair of old jeans. The thinning fabric or holes at the knees are signs of wear that you can no longer ignore. Your jeans are incredibly comfortable, and tough to let go of, but these signs remind you that an updated pair is desperately needed. The same is true for your travel program.

Your travel program is comprised of familiar and entrenched practices, policies, and metrics. But with business dynamics changing, progressive travel managers are modernizing their approach. They realize that the effectiveness of their travel program depends not only on procuring the best travel deals but also supporting travelers’ need to communicate, be productive, connect while traveling, and make the best choices for the company.  Success involves new thinking, tools, and skills.  It also involves discarding some traditional beliefs and “knee-jerk” practices. It requires winning over the hearts and minds of travelers and being more strategic and collaborative in your approach.

Traveler engagement is the lynchpin to the next level of program performance. It leverages the principles of marketing and the power of social media to connect, communicate, and influence travelers at critical moments before, during, and after the trip. And, it demands an expertise that few travel managers or travel departments possess. Many have opted to outsource this function to a trusted partner, like Advito. But knowing when to outsource a traveler engagement program (vs. managing it in-house) is an important and strategic decision.

Here are five signs to look for to know when outsourcing traveler engagement is the best next step to modernizing your travel program.

  • Sign #1 – Lack of resources. Like most travel programs, you have a limited number of dedicated resources. Even if you can recruit assistance from marketing or PR, they have their own set of priorities. Your travel requests can easily fall behind their other projects and receive limited support. If you need to extend the resources of your department, consider outsourcing.
  • Sign #2 – Maxed out workload. Managing your program should be your top priority. But marketing it internally may feel like a distraction from your long list of to do’s. If you and your team are already working overtime, it’s time to make a change and outsource. Outsourcing is the only real way to free up time for this mission-critical strategy. With an outsourced traveler engagement program, you can focus on other priorities while still modernizing your program.
  • Sign #3 – Lack of expertise. You understand travel. HR understands employee relations. Your marketing and PR departments know communications. But traveler engagement requires a unique combination of marketing, communications, and consumer behavior expertise. If you don’t have this integrated skill set, outsourcing is your best option. Advito gives you access to a team of skilled marketing experts who understand the complexities of global business travel. We have created a unique way of communicating with travelers to explain the benefits for them rather than focusing solely on mandating policy. You also benefit from a fresh perspective on designing engagement campaigns that resonate in your culture.
  • Sign #4 – Need to prove value. Even the best travel leaders have trouble keeping up with a changing landscape and the needed skills to support it. If you know it’s time to engage travelers with your program and expand your team’s skills, you are more valuable to the company than your realize. And, outsourcing this new service requirement is just the endorsement you need. Advito structures every outsourcing relationship as a true partnership. This means you critically serve as the champion of your traveler engagement program while leaving the details to experts. Together, we can leverage the resident talent on your team, encourage their participation, and teach them along the way.
  • Sign #5 – Stagnant results.  Today, engaging travelers requires different thinking. That’s because you have only eight seconds to grab their attention. If you are experiencing implementation setbacks or mediocre performance, you can’t afford to delay outsourcing your traveler engagement program. Outsourcing traveler engagement is one of the most cost effective ways to boost program participation, compliance, and advocacy. Advito determines which parts of your existing strategy are working and which need to change to craft the right branding for your travel program. They blend compelling text and imagery with the channels travelers prefer to use to customize it for your culture and program goals. This ensures your campaign messaging stands out, resonates with travelers, and drives results.

The effectiveness of travel management in the future requires new thinking, tools and skills around traveler engagement. And, like your old pair of jeans, it requires discarding some traditional beliefs and “knee-jerk” practices. Are you ready to make room (in your closet) for outsourcing with Advito?

Attend our Interactive Traveler Engagement Workshop at GBTA 2016 to get started now.

Buyer’s Only: Creating Your Own Traveler Engagement Roadmap

Wednesday, 7/20 at 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 0325

Description:

Join seasoned traveler engagement marketers and clients for a hands-on session focused on developing your travel program goals. Participate in table discussions aimed at driving down costs, increasing policy compliance, improving traveler experience and meeting business objectives. Hear from industry peers on how their roadmap worked and leave with a printed guidebook detailing your goals, communication channels and engagement roadmap.