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Career Story: Corporate Travel Manager

Corporate Travel Manager

Job Title: Travel Specialist

Type of Company: My company develops software for product life cycle management.

Education: BA, International Relations, Boston University

Previous Experience: I worked for an event production company briefly after college before moving into the travel business where I now manage a corporate travel program for a Massachusetts company.

Job Tasks: My primary job is to manage my company's overall corporate travel program as well as the day to day operations within our travel department. I have responsibility over negotiating our vendor contracts (airline discounts, car discount/insurance, hotel discounts, etc), sourcing and negotiating contracts for all company meetings, as well as managing my company's corporate card program. In addition, I must manage my company's performance when it comes to our corporate contracts. I am also my company's "go to" person for travel-related customer service issues. Although my "customers" are my fellow co-workers, it is very important to maintain a high level of customer service in this role.

In this role, I work very closely with "budget watchers" throughout my company as well as our Accounts Payable department. Travel and entertainment is typically the second largest expenditure for a company, behind salary and benefits, so this is a highly visible department. Travel is also a very personal experience for most employees, so part of my job is to ensure that our employees enjoy pleasant experiences when traveling, while ensuring at the same time that the company maximizes savings and cost reduction. Its a fine line to walk most days!!

The travel business is extremely dynamic; things are always changing. In order to keep up with these changes, I must attend industry events and training and must maintain a large network of contacts, etc. Its a fun industry, made up of a great "family" of people.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is the networking. Over the years I have met so many wonderful people in this business who have inspired me and who have driven me to succeed.

The worst part of this job is that travel and entertainment are always under the microscope. This challenges me to constantly find more ways to save, all while keeping our traveling employees happy!!

Job Tips: I would recommend taking negotiating classes. I find myself negotiating at least something new every day! I would also recommend this job for anyone who thinks of himself as a "people person." This job involves a lot of interaction with employees and management at ALL levels. Often the role of a Travel Manager is a singular position - meaning that you are a one-man show. You must be comfortable in taking initiative and making decisions on your own.

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