Taking Advantage of New Communication Tools

» Posted by on Jul 21, 2013 in Business Practices, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The necessity for each agency’s Travel Manager to communicate with travelers and other stakeholders has never been greater … in large part due to the number and variety of changes taking place in the federal travel marketplace.   A transition from the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) to E-Gov Travel Service 2 (ETS2) looms on the horizon for nearly all federal civilian agencies.  A bill has been introduced in Congress to cut the federal travel budget by up to 75%.  Federal telepresence centers are springing up all over the country.  Greenhouse gas emissions are being considered when making travel decisions.  Some airlines (notably, American) are threatening to remove their inventory from one or more of the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs).  Some foreign countries are in significant political turmoil.  All of these things potentially impact federal travelers.

Making sense of all of this, relating it to the agency’s mission, and communicating it appropriately to the appropriate stakeholders is the role of the agency Travel Manager.  Most agencies already have established a travel web site on their intranets and send e-mail communications to stakeholders on a routine and/or ad-hoc basis; however, few agencies have yet leveraged the newer “social media” technologies that can improve the speed and presentation of travel communications.

One such technology is Yammer, which Wikipedia describes as, “…an enterprise social network service that was launched in September 2008.  Unlike Twitter, which is used for broadcasting messages to the public, Yammer is used for private communication within organizations or between organizational members and pre-designated groups, making it an example of enterprise social software.”  When implemented by an agency, Yammer could make it very easy for the Travel Manager to quickly communicate relevant travel information to agency travelers or travel team members.  It also provides a method for travelers to communicate back to the agency travel team and to collaborate on travel-related topics.

As technologies continue to evolve and are adopted in the commercial marketplace, Travel Managers should do their best to keep pace and take advantage of them to better serve their federal travelers.  It must also be acknowledged that as newer, younger employees are brought into the federal workforce, these new federal travelers will expect these technologies to be utilized.

By: John Potocko

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