We work with a lot of travel managers. And the funny thing we’ve noticed is that while they are all different, we often see many traits and tendencies which are alike. Attention to detail is one…all travel managers have good attention to detail, it’s in the blood. Beyond that, many travel managers have other similarities we’ve spotted.
Following is a list of several common types. Do you see yourself below?
The Big Account Coaster
After working several decades for ginormous accounts where you have 50,000 travelers and seven TMC suppliers globally, these individuals find themselves sitting on a nest egg and want an easier job. Usually they find a deep-pocketed employer who has 500 travelers and 90% online adoption and all they have to do is ask for an occasional no show refund. They take long lunches and have several two-week vacations built into their contract. After all, why have so many great perks if you don’t use them?
The 24/7 Workaholic
The opposite of the first archetype, this travel manager lives to work. The kind of person who as a kid used to work all night on their homework, then spent the last thirty minutes before it was due rewriting it at their desk. When they’re not studying reports, they’re scouring industry press looking for great tips on improving program performance. If they tell a traveler they will have something done by Friday, it’ll be done two days early. By all rights the stress should make them alcoholics, but they have too much work integrity for that. Usually they have 7 kids all with their own after-school activity needs.
After a stint in the Air Force, they land a cushy job as the salaried pilot for a corporate jet at a mid-sized corporation, which they parlay into being travel manager. I say mid-sized because a large corporation wouldn’t hire a pilot as a travel manager (they prefer someone who’s managed an account just as big as theirs). These lucky individuals do well at family-owned companies based in the mid-west for some reason. On the plus side they usually have well-run programs; pilots have great attention to detail, after all. Aviator sunglasses are optional.
The Rising Star
This ambitious individual jumps from one impressive major account to another, never spending more than two years at any place. Having worked at multiple big-player corporations or non-profits, they rack up three or four amazing stints, then move into consulting. Not surprising, they are usually drop dead gorgeous. Comes with the territory.
The Social Gadfly
Ever present at GBTA and other industry events, (they’re usually on a panel) the engine driving this archetype is social interaction. When sending out an email rolling out a change would suffice, they’ll hold a dozen focus groups with travelers to get feedback. They’ll have 1,000+ friends on Facebook, do charity work on the side and never have a weekend without plans. Say what you will, at least these gadabouts are living life to the fullest!
The Hired Hand
Although actually a paid employee of a TMC, these travel managers present themselves as an employee of the company they manage. Which isn’t wrong, but in the end, you can’t serve two masters, so after four or five years they usually take on additional duties at the client company and change employers at LinkedIn.
The Ring Leader
Speaking of LinkedIn, you can spot members of this category by examining their supporting staff at the social media site. When making a job move, they take Assistant Travel Managers, Agents and Analysts with them, after making sure the new employer doesn’t have non-competes. To make sure they don’t get sued they’ll mix it up, reaching back to previous employers (and TMCs) for members of their team. A sneaky bird, but they’re usually pretty good travel managers…as long as they’re still there!
The opposite of The Ring Leader, this travel manager usually stays at one company their entire working life. Most often starting out as a receptionist or admin, booking travel for their boss gradually turns into booking everyone’s travel. What’s amazing is how many of these Loyalists never actually take the title of Travel Manager, opting instead for the title of Executive Administrative Assistant, where they get to do other crucial duties like planning shareholder meetings or running the President’s Club.
See anyone you know? And just to be clear, we love all travel managers and have known some great ones!
Our programs are always customized to match each client’s needs exactly and we pride ourselves on knowing our customers and giving them great service.
We’d love the opportunity to speak with you and share how we could help you meet your goals. Contact us today!