A growing number of organisations are outsourcing overall responsibility for managing their various business travel requirements to dedicated travel management companies. In many ways, TMC companies operate in a similar way to a travel agent, and they can help businesses to save time and money. In this article, you will find out more about the importance of business travel management and how you can actually choose the best travel management company.
- What is Travel Management?
- What Are Travel Management Companies?
- Travel Management Companies: How to Select One?
- Benefits of Using Travel Management Companies
- List of Travel Management Companies
What is Travel Management?
Travel management is the term used to describe the strategic management of travel requirements. This can include everything from finding and booking flights, negotiating with vendors, arranging transportation and booking accommodation. It may also involve managing expenses and taking the necessary steps to ensure travellers are safe.
Travel management can be carried out by, or on behalf of businesses, organisations or individuals. The most common form of travel management is corporate travel management, which is carried out on behalf of a business.
A travel management company is a company that specialises in providing travel management services for clients or customers. In the vast majority of cases, their clients will be businesses, organisations or groups that want to outsource responsibility for travel management, although individuals might also turn to a travel manager too.
TMC companies will usually charge a subscription fee, or a flat fee for the specific services you use. Businesses turn to travel management companies for convenience, industry expertise, time saving and comprehensive management of travel requirements. This can be especially important in large businesses, with many business travellers.
There are a wide range of different travel management companies out there, each promoting themselves as the best option for businesses looking to outsource corporate travel management. So how can you actually choose between them? Below, you will find six practical tips for narrowing the various TMC companies down.
1. The Fees and Savings
For the vast majority of businesses, the fees involved and the savings possible are likely to be the single biggest consideration when choosing between travel management companies. All travel management companies will require payment for their services, but you need to consider how the money spent may be offset by the potential money saved.
As an example, TMC companies tend to have excellent travel industry contacts, allowing them to unlock discounts on hotel rooms and transport that might otherwise be unavailable. It is also important to consider the money saved by travel needs being managed externally, allowing your employees to focus on their day-to-day jobs instead.
2. How Much Personalisation?
Next, you need to start looking at the amount of personalisation that is on offer from different travel management companies. It is imperative that you outsource travel management responsibilities to a company that is willing to work with you, rather than try to make you fit their own preferences.
To what extent will they tailor their services to fit your specific requirements? Are they able to help you to create a corporate travel policy that works for your business and your business travellers? Can they use data to make intelligent recommendations, based on your preferences? Avoid companies that offer a standardised service to all customers.
3. The Customer Experience
The customer service on offer and the customer experience that can be provided is another major competitive differentiator for TMC companies. With even the best policies and processes in place, corporate travel can be complex. Delays can occur, last-minute changes of plan might be necessary, and you need to know a company can step up.
Consider what could go wrong with business travel and find a travel management company that will help you to not only fix problems, but avoid them in the first place whenever possible. Are they available 24/7 if a corporate traveller needs them? What advice or expert insight can they offer? Can they respond to last-minute requests?
4. Technology on Offer
Corporate travel management is important, so you want to know that you are working with a company that takes it seriously. For this reason, it is worth taking the time to enquire about the technology that different travel management companies are using. In general, the use of cutting-edge, high-quality technology reflects well on them.
Speak to them about the global distribution system(s) they use, but focus on what is available for your business to use too. Do they have a mobile app? Do they offer client software? What makes it special or unique? Online booking systems are vital, but a company that also offers call-in systems may be preferable for many businesses.
5. Availability of Reporting
Travel management is about more than simply organising business travel when it is needed. The management component involves setting objectives, making strategic decisions and monitoring results continuously. For this to work properly, you need to have access to information about how your travel strategy is currently working out.
When comparing TMC companies, look into the availability of reporting. What kind of reporting do they offer? How often will you receive reports? Can you request information when you need it? You should try to work with a corporate travel agent that will help you to analyse the reports, draw conclusions and make recommendations too.
6. Reviews and Client Feedback
Finally, it is important that you do not simply take TMC companies at their word. You need to know that they can actually deliver what they have promised, which means seeking out feedback. Online reviews can serve as a useful starting point, giving you an indication of what people think, but you need to dig deeper.
The best travel management companies will be happy to provide client references, so do not be afraid to ask. A lack of willingness to provide references could be a red flag. It is also worth seeking out the opinion of other businesses directly, so if you know of an organisation that has used the TMC in question, speak to them about their experience.
Benefits of Using Travel Management Companies
By now, you should have an understanding of what to look for in a good travel management company. With that being said, you may still be wondering about some of the specific benefits involved with taking this path.
In the article “Travel Management Company: Benefits of Using a TMC Company” you will be able to find out more about travel management companies and the role they play. Additionally, you will gain a greater understanding of why so many organisations outsource responsibility for travel management, complete with nine specific benefits.
List of Travel Management Companies
Travel management companies offer a unique opportunity for hotels to attract a greater number of business travellers. Hotel owners can achieve this by connecting with the main global distribution systems and forming close and mutually beneficial relationships with specific travel management companies.
In the article “Corporate Travel Agents for Hotels to Gain More Business Travellers” you will learn more about the ways travel management companies can help hotels and find eight of the best corporate travel agents.
Travel management companies offer numerous advantages for businesses with corporate travel needs, but actually finding the right company requires a careful process. In particular, you need to consider aspects like the cost, the potential savings, the level of customer service and personalisation, and the company’s track record.
More Tips Regarding Corporate Travel
The corporate travel market is receiving an increased focus from many in the travel industry, partly business travellers often spend more money on their travels, especially when their costs are covered by their employer. However, more importantly, business travel is growing, thanks to factors like globalisation and the availability of flights. In the following articles you find more information about the corporate travel market:
- What is Travel Management?
- How to Select a Good Business Travel Management Company?
- Reasons Why Companies Should Use a Business Travel Agency
- Tips to Attract More Corporate Travellers to Your Hotel
- The Latest Business Travel Trends Business Travellers Desire
- Global Distribution System (GDS): What Are the Benefits for Hotels?