A Look at Compensation & Benefits for Travel Managers


With the New Year coming quickly, it is a time of year where many reflect and set resolutions or goals for the coming year. While a lot of resolutions focus on losing those extra pounds so many of us inevitably gain over the holidays, it can also be a great time to think about your career path.

There are many elements to career growth including education, training and new responsibilities. Compensation and benefits are also an important aspect of every job. The GBTA Foundation does an annual survey designed to allow individuals to easily compare their compensation level and benefits with their peers.

The study showed that average compensation for travel management professionals climbed six percent over 2013 to $112,000 and that the vast majority (72 percent) of travel buyers are satisfied with their salaries.

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Average compensation tended to rise with an increase in travel spending, highlighting a relationship between total travel spend of the employing company with total compensation (includes base salary and bonus). For example, respondents whose total company has a total travel spend of $10 million but less than $50 million reported an average income of $105,000, while those companies spending more than $50 million, reported an average of $143,000 — a 27 percent increase.

We also found that on average, those with a Global Travel Professional (GTP) certificate earn more than those without one, 12 percent more in 2014. One in five buyers has earned their GTP certification. The GTP Certification is designed to raise industry standards, enhance work performance, and recognize individuals who demonstrate core competencies essential to the business travel management discipline.

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When it comes to benefits, while a number of valuable benefits are offered to buyers by their companies, few are fully funded. Most companies offer health insurance (98 percent), dental insurance (98 percent), life insurance (95 percent), vision insurance (95 percent), and a defined contribution plan (i.e., 401k) (95 percent). A majority report their company only covers a portion of the costs of each benefit and most employees must pay for a portion of their insurance coverage.

However, three-quarters of buyers say their companies provide full reimbursement for all of the following benefits: conference attendance (90 percent); professional association dues (85 percent); professional publications (82 percent); and mileage (78 percent).

Large majorities also indicate that flexible work schedules (67 percent) and work-from-home policies (58 percent) are now offered as part of the benefit package.

We are encouraged that salaries and job satisfaction remain high in the travel buyer profession, further highlighting the importance of the overall travel management industry.

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