Choosing the right travel management company can be daunting (hopefully these steps will help you if it's your first time) not only is there service delivery to consider, but making sure the business travel agents fits within your company mix/culture to contend with.
So how do you make sure you are getting the full package from a potential provider? Here are a few tips to make sure when selecting your next travel management company that they are the real deal...
#1 Expert consultancy
Choose a provider who knows their field inside and out. A good travel management company will have a team of business travel experts armed with knowledge and experience who will ensure your business trip goes without a hitch. Some business travel consultants have Corporate travel qualifications, giving them the knowledge to help you plan your route whilst finding the best travel solutions and options, so it's always best to ask if your provider takes an interest into training their employees to industry standard.
Corporate travel agencies should typically appoint a dedicated team of consultants with a select few individuals working for your business, this is to build relationships and understanding of your needs and ensure the team become an extension to your organisation. Always be wary if a TMC does not provide this as often it will mean that your account will be supported by a call-centre type servicing environment.
#2 Online / Offline solution
Make sure the travel management company up for consideration offers online and offline solutions. If this is a move to drive greater automation, start with a blended technology to human support system first, and set ongoing goals for adoption and include these in any Service Level Agreement (SLA) with your chosen partner.
Depending on the business mix many companies tend to use online tools for straightforward air, hotel and rail bookings and then work on more complex international trips with the booking team. Your account manager will work with you to establish your goals and find the right balance to ensure you get the travel support solution that is the right fit for your business and enables you to extract the maximum value possible.
#3 Account Management programme
TMC’s should cover business travel management from start to finish. A good travel management company will appoint a dedicated account manager as standard who will manage your business travel programme for you and ensure you are extracting the maximum value and savings possible. The benefits of Account Managed travel are phenomenal. From providing full access to your business travel data through MI Reports to managing corporate rewards schemes for Air and Hotels, they simplify your job. The role of the Account Manager is to reduce the time you spend managing travel and ensure your travel programme is operating as efficiently as possible.
#4 Airline loyalty programmes
Many frequent travellers will be aware of the programmes offered by airlines that give points every time travellers fly. But did you know, lots of airlines also offer reward schemes for organisations that travel on business too? If your employees are travelling on business, you need to make sure both the individual and the company itself are set up to reap the benefits of these schemes. A good Travel Management Company will help with this.
#5 24-hour assistance
There should be a team of people on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support your travellers when they need it. Most companies work internationally and require around the clock support and need a TMC partner is always on hand to support you. The 24-hour team will be experienced to look after these business travel requirements outside of your working hours. This is especially useful for a company from a Duty of Care aspect, knowing your travellers are supported in cases of emergency or strike can be a big weight off yours, the travellers and the employees family too.
#6 Payment solutions
Make sure you are offered the best payment solution for your company. There are a wide range of possibilities to consider (a quick guide here if you need it) But if your solution needs to be quick and easy, perhaps via Direct debit, a lodge card provider, or even payment via Credit card could be right for you.
Just remember, different solutions will offer different terms so make sure the travel management company explains all the options to you fully to ensure the decision you make is perfect for you.
So there you have it! Hopefully, the above areas will help you consider whether you are receiving the full package from your current business travel provider. If you feel like you may not be receiving the above, then why not consider choosing a new provider (here are 5 reasons why you should make the switch).