Enterprises have been permitting essential and non-essential business trips to generate incremental revenue. But no business can increase revenue by increasing the number of domestic and international business trips. They can make business trips successful only by improving employees’ work travel experiences.
Likewise, they explore ways to reduce the average cost of business trips consistently. Companies and startups make it easier for employees to make travel arrangements and book business trips by working with professional corporate travel consultants.
Some of these organizations hire dedicated corporate travel consultants, while others work with freelance travel consultants. As a professional corporate travel consultant, you can earn recurring income by providing a full spectrum of travel consultancy services.
You can offer travel consultancy services either as a full-time employee or a self-employed professional. But you can acquire clients or impress potential employers only by acquiring and honing a set of corporate travel consultancy skills.
10 Skills You Must Acquire and Hone to Become a Corporate Travel Consultant
- Educational Skills
Often passionate travelers or students with rich traveling experiences pursue careers in business travel consultancy. But while hiring a corporate travel consultant, most enterprises prefer candidates with undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in travel management, tourism, hospitality, and similar fields. In addition to boosting your travel consultancy skills, these degrees enhance your career prospects as a corporate travel consultant.
- Understanding Business Travel
Enterprises these days support various forms of business travel. For instance, they make employees visit business travel destinations in their residing country by supporting domestic business travel. Likewise, they support international business trips and make employees visit other countries.
At the same time, many organizations these days allow employees to indulge in leisure activities during business trips by supporting bleisure travel. Hence, you can meet the varying business travel needs of companies and startups only by understanding different forms of business travel.
- Travel Planning
Planning business trips or making business travel arrangements is one of the key responsibilities of corporate travel consultants. You should ensure that employees book flights, accommodations, car rentals, and other business travel products according to preset organizational policies.
But you have to meet their expectations by allowing them to book their choice of business travel product or service. Hence, you must master the art of travel planning to meet work travelers’ expectations while helping the employer control the average business travel costs.
- Change Management
Employees need both information and assistance to remain stress-free during business trips. In addition to booking business trips, you have to assist employees in managing last-minute changes like flight delays, flight accommodations, ticket processing issues, and refunds. You can make a plan B in minutes only by staying agile and proactive. Hence, you must hone your organizational and time management skills to manage changes to the original travel plan.
- Post-Trip Support
Most organizations these days support post-trip expense reimbursement. They reimburse travel expenses incurred by employees after reviewing digital expense reports submitted by them. Employees expect corporate travel consultants to help them generate automated expense reports and manage invoices. You should focus on understanding and streamlining the automated expense reporting process.
- Travel Program Management
Most organizations these days finetune their travel programs regularly to boost business travel experiences and control business travel costs. They expect corporate travel consultants to share ideas, suggestions, and feedback that help them optimize business travel programs. You can impress employers by analyzing the performance of business travel programs and finding areas of improvement.
- Technical Proficiency
Automation is one of the hottest trends in corporate travel management. Most organizations these days automate travel and expense management completely. Likewise, many companies provide employees with corporate booking tools. Hence, you can remain relevant in the digital age only by honing your IT skills consistently. Along with understanding widely-used business travel booking solutions, you should spend time mastering the global distribution system (GDS).
- Communication Skills
As a corporate travel consultant, you will interact with various stakeholders regularly. You have to interact with employees to understand their travel preferences and solve business travel issues. Likewise, you have to share ideas and actionable insights with the finance team.
At the same time, you have to make business travel products available at lower rates by negotiating with many suppliers and vendors. You can become a successful corporate travel consultant only by honing your communication and presentation skills. At the same time, you should focus on becoming a good listener and paying attention to details.
- Art of Negotiation
Companies expect corporate travel consultants to reduce the average cost of business trips consistently. You can control average business travel costs only when employees book flights, hotels, and other expensive business travel products at lower than public rates. In addition to finding offers and deals, you have to negotiate with various suppliers to get lower rates. You can get negotiated rates for clients by honing your negotiation and interpersonal skills.
- Change and Trend Monitoring
Corporate travel has made an unexpected comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic. But corporate travel still takes place in a volatile environment. Looming recession and high inflation are expected to impact business travel in the near run. Also, the trends in corporate travel change at regular intervals.
You can meet clients’ business travel needs only by detecting and adopting emerging trends early. Hence, you can deliver better travel consultancy services only by monitoring the travel industry and detecting emerging trends regularly.
You can earn recurring income as a corporate travel consultant by either working from home or working in an office environment. But you can enhance your career prospects only by acquiring and honing a set of corporate travel consultancy skills.
At the same time, you should remember that corporate travel consultants these days compete with virtual travel consultants. New-age corporate travel management platforms feature virtual travel consultants that perform most of the duties and responsibilities of a human travel consultant using intelligence technologies.
They make business travel data collection and analysis an ongoing process to provide actionable insights to decision-makers. You can outperform a virtual travel consultant only by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and data analytics tools.
Best tips for each professional corporate industry.