Corporate Travel Manager Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
What are the pros and cons of a corporate travel manager career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a corporate travel manager is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of a Corporate Travel Manager Career

Corporate travel managers make group travel arrangements on behalf of different companies with duties that include arranging for flights and hotels and providing customer service. While becoming a corporate travel manager can be a solid option, it's important to look at the pros and cons of the job so you can make an informed career decision.

Pros of a Corporate Travel Manager Career
High salary ($92,000)*
Job security (71% of travel managers reported no recession-related cuts in their departments)**
Business travel spending is increasing*
Certifications are available*

Cons of a Corporate Travel Manager Career
Most employers want five or more years of experience***
High-stress job**
A bachelor's degree is required for most positions***
Managerial and travel industry experience required*

Sources: *The Global Business Travel Association, **Hospitality Net, ***Salary.com

Career Info

Job Description and Duties

According to Salary.com, corporate travel managers establish a travel budget and meet a company's travel needs within that budget. They make hotel arrangements, book flights, provide customer service and address any travel problems. They may supervise other people who are also responsible for meeting the company's travel needs. According to Hospitality Net, corporate travel managers also develop travel policies and negotiate with vendors.

As a corporate travel manager, you may work for one business organization and meet their employee's travel needs from within, or you could work for a travel company and have accounts with many clients. Your responsibilities could include maintaining client relationships, managing a company's travel finances, hiring and firing employees, negotiating accounts and getting good rates on flights and hotels.

Career and Salary Info

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported in its 2012 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey that corporate travel managers made an average salary of about $92,000 as of November 2012 (www.gbta.org). Separately, the GPTA's 2014 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey revealed average annual compensation for all travel management professionals saw a 6% increase from 2013-2014 to $112,000.

Career information isn't available specifically for corporate travel managers. However, other positions in the travel industry are expected to experience either little to no change or decline in the coming years. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth for flight attendants and travel agents is expected decline by 7% and 12% from 2012-2022, respectively, while jobs for lodging managers should see little to no growth at just a 1% increase during that decade. However, the GBTA reported that business travel spending increased by 27% in 2014, which is great for the industry.

What Do Employers Look for?

There's no specific degree path required to become a corporate travel manager, but a bachelor's degree is required by most employers. By earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and studying travel and hospitality management, you can obtain training in financial management, sales, marketing, leadership and customer service. This can prepare you to become a corporate travel manager by developing your skills in:

  • Problem solving
  • Management
  • Customer service
  • Decision making

Job Postings from Real Employers

Most employers want their corporate travel managers to have at least a bachelor's degree. They prefer someone with experience in the travel industry who is able to meet their client's needs, manage other employees, solve problems and build accounts. The following are a few job listings for corporate travel managers to give you an idea of the type of skills and experience employers were advertising for as of March 2012.

  • A travel agency in San Francisco was looking for a travel manager with a background in sales and at least one year of experience. The employer's ideal candidate would be detail-oriented, able to work individually or on a team, have a positive outlook and be able to offer excellent customer service.
  • A Rhode Island travel company requested a corporate travel account manager with 3-5 years of experience in the travel industry and the ability to work under pressure, multi-task and solve problems. The employer preferred someone who could make business travel arrangements and work with a team to prepare travel plans.
  • An entertainment company in Chicago advertised for a travel manager with a 4-year degree and at least five years in the travel industry who could negotiate with airlines, hotels and other travel vendors to make international and domestic travel arrangements. The ad stated that the ideal candidate would know how to use airline reservation software, know how travel and hotel industries work and have good problem-solving skills.
  • A Baltimore travel management company wanted a corporate travel account manager with five years of experience in the corporate travel industry for a home-office position to draft travel policies and maintain customer relationships. The employer wanted someone who was organized, self-motivated and able to work in a high-pressure environment.
  • An aviation company in Des Moines, Iowa, advertised for a corporate travel manager to provide on-site customer service, control expenses and manage staff. According to the job posting, the ideal person would have a college degree, five years of corporate travel experience, 2-3 years of managerial experience, be familiar with how travel agencies work, be able to work weekends and have problem-solving, analytical, management, communication and organizational skills.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Although most employers require a bachelor's degree, additional training can help you stand out. For instance, some schools offer specializations in travel and tourism management, travel industry management or hospitality management that can provide training in both business administration and the travel industry. You'll acquire cultural sensitivity, familiarity with making travel reservations and experience in event management. You could also complete an internship at a travel agency or a travel company, where you can get real-world experience making reservations, preparing travel accounts and using travel software.

Get Certified

The GBTA began offering a Global Travel Professional certification in March 2012 that involves passing a 150-question exam. You could also become a Certified Government Travel Executive, which involves completing different courses over a 2-year period, according to the GBTA. These optional certificates can help you stand out and make you more employable as a corporate travel manager.

Other Careers to Consider

Lodging Manager

If you're not sure that becoming a corporate travel manager is right for you, you might consider a career as a lodging manager. According to the BLS, lodging managers run hotels and make sure that the guests have a good experience. They can expect a median annual salary of around $47,000, as of May 2010, and only a bachelor's degree is required.

Destination Marketing Manager

Destination marketing managers promote travel spots and attractions to get travelers to visit those locations. You must have a bachelor's degree, preferably with training in marketing and tourism or hospitality. The job includes developing plans and creating promotional material. The BLS reported that marketing managers could expect an annual salary of around $110,000 as of May 2009, adding that destination marketing managers may earn less than this amount.

Resort Activities Director

If you enjoy planning events and still want to work in the travel and tourism industry, a career as a resort activities director could be for you. Activities directors fall into the general category of recreation workers, and they work for cruise ships and resorts, where they plan activities, such as cookouts, ice skating, wine tastings and games that draw tourists in and ensure they're having a good time. A bachelor's degree is usually required for this position and computer, leadership and communication skills are necessary. According to the BLS, recreation workers made a median annual wage of around $22,000 as of May 2009; however, the BLS noted that activities directors generally reported higher earnings than that median.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - International Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Marketing
    Master's
      • MBA - Marketing
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - International Business
      • MBA - Strategic Management
  • Campus Locations:
    4. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate's - Business Admin
    Certificate
      • Certification - Business Administration
      • Diploma Program - Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration - DBA (Doctorate)
    Master's
      • General Business (MBA)
    Associate's
      • Business Administration - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Marketing
      • MBA: Finance
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Event Planning
      • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
      • AASBA in Health Club Operations

Featured Schools

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

What is your highest level of education?

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Management
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Certification - Business Administration
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Baker College Online

  • Business Administration - DBA (Doctorate)
  • General Business (MBA)
  • Business Administration - Associate

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?