If you’re considering using the services of a travel management company to make your business travel easier, be sure to get the answers to these ten questions before you sign on the dotted line.
#1 Do they offer online booking facilities?
Making travel bookings online is now considered to be the most cost-effective and convenient way to book simple business trips, so you’ll want to be sure that your chosen travel management company offers this facility, to save you both time and money. Good online booking tools allow business travellers, bookers and managers to book great online travel deals from anywhere at anytime. And because users are likely to choose the lower cost options when they see search results on a screen, companies are likely to save even more though the online booking option.
#2 How will they streamline your business travel processes?
One of the primary purposes of working with a travel management company is to simplify the often complicated and time-consuming task of organising business travel, as well as making the actual travel easier and more enjoyable - so be sure to question what processes and tools they have in place to achieve this.
#3 How will they help to control and reduce your business travel costs?
Controlling costs is critical for any business, so it’s essential that any travel management company you employ is going to more than earn its keep. Ask for examples of corporate rates or exclusive discounts they have negotiated – and any additional perks that may add value for the traveller. You should also expect to have access to the data surrounding your business travel activity, to help you and your business travel account manager to identify further ways to cut costs. Thorough data gathering and analytics are essential for effective travel management, so be sure that this is offered as part of the service.
#4 What’s their approach to Duty of Care?
With the current high levels of threat from terrorism worldwide, keeping its business travellers safe has never been a bigger concern for companies. A responsible travel management company will share this concern and have processes in place to help you fulfill your duty of care responsibilities. 24-hour emergency assistance, real-time traveller tracking, crisis management, and travel disruption and risk alerts are all examples of services that will help keep your staff safe when they travel.
#5 Who will be your point of contact?
Your relationship with your named point of contact, (usually an account manager), will be a key factor in the success of your partnership with a travel management company, so it’s a good idea to ask for their credentials – and possibly to speak to or meet with them - before you make your decision.
Confirm that you will have a dedicated account manager assigned to your business, and question how many clients that manager will be looking after in total. An overstretched account manager in a very busy travel management company is unlikely to be the best choice.
Also ask for the credentials of the travel consultants that your staff will come into contact with, and ask to trial the booking process as a potential user. Good Travel Management consultants have an average of 17 years’ experience in business travel and lots of corporate travel qualifications, making the booking process an easy and enjoyable one.
#6 Do they offer a Service Level Agreement?
A Service Level Agreement defines the minimum service level you should expect from your chosen travel management company and becomes a benchmark by which to measure their success. It’s considered best practice by most reputable travel management companies to have an SLA in place but do confirm that this will be the case. You should also ask to see examples of existing agreements and their corresponding performance reports, to get an idea of typical SLA terms and whether they deliver on their promises.
#7 Do they offer bespoke business solutions?
To ensure you’re getting the best travel management for your business, you’ll want to benefit from a tailored approach. Ensure that your travel management company offers bespoke solutions for its clients, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all strategy.
#8 Can you see relevant case studies?
A good travel management company will have no problem supplying case studies that are relevant to your business and business travel requirements. Where possible, also ask for references or to be put in touch with a named contact to confirm their experience and answer any concerns you might have.
#9 What is their average turnover?
Many service users take a bigger is better approach when choosing their suppliers – after all, a big, successful company is easy to trust. However, it’s worth considering the needs of your business and comparing them with the size of the travel management company you’re considering.
If you own a small business with a turnover to match, and the travel management company you employ looks after large companies with far greater turnovers (and budgets), you might not feel as valued as you should. Choosing a smaller partner offering a more personalised approach may be a better fit. In that case, remember to raise the issue of buying power – are they a member of a larger global network that increases buying power and allows them to compete with the bigger players in the industry?
#10 What are their company values?
Running a business isn’t all about the bottom line. Businesses and individuals need to feel comfortable with the practices of the companies and suppliers that they partner with. With this in mind, it’s worth researching the values of any travel management company on your list and ensuring that they’re roughly in-line with your own.
Good Travel Management is still a family run business offering a friendly and personal approach, despite a long 120-year history, and initiatives such as the pledge programme and the Matthew Good Foundation enable it to continue to give back to the community and charitable causes. Ensuring that your company values are being upheld by your partners and service providers will give you increased confidence and valuable peace of mind.
At Good Travel Management we’re happy to answer any questions you might have - so get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) whom we are a member of have produced this handy video explaining the value of a Travel Management Company...