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Can a smaller TMC look after my business travel requirements in a post Covid-19 world?

Smaller tmc KH

Is bigger always better? 

In a very rapidly changing world that this is a question many company’s find themselves asking when searching for a suitable Travel Management Company (TMC).  As businesses start to prepare to consider travelling again there are so many things to think about, not least how to make sure your travelling employees have a close, strong relationship with their travel management provider.

Here at Good Travel Management, we make no bones about being a smaller, independent, family-owned TMC… in fact, it’s something we are extremely proud of and see as one of our strengths. The current challenges we face is causing havoc with airline routes, hotels and rail operators, however, as we take the first tentative steps will you get the attention you deserve to do it right? For a company to be confident in the value and service a smaller TMC can offer, there are certain caveats the TMC would need to hit in order to be trusted to fully manage a Travel Programme. 

Below we investigate some aspects you should check out before choosing to move forward with a smaller TMC:  

Buying Power   

As much as traveller safety, service and technology are vital we know that this also has to be balanced with the fact that price matters, and when taking on a new TMC you want to be assured you are getting competitive rates for flights, hotels and car hire. You may perceive that bigger is better, but in fact, the opposite can be the case as smaller TMC’s are often part of global buying groups that command the equivalent purchasing clout as the big TMC’s. This happens when the networks such as Uniglobe and other buying consortiums combine their entire networks buying power to negotiate preferential rates with airlines and hotels. By doing this, the Smaller TMC’s can maintain great pricing for their clients but also the flexibility to have a wider depth of travel partners and are less tied to preferred airlines or partners giving a far more flexible approach to buying. For example, Good Travel Management are also Expedia Travel partners and have commercial agreements with many content aggregators including Booking.com and lots more, whilst still offering the benefits and personal approach only a smaller company can bring to a travel programme. 

FREE SME Guide to Procuring Travel Management Services

Technology Offering 

These days, Tech is King … and any potential TMC on your list will need to be providing the most up to date booking, MI and traveller safety technology to be considered as your new provider. Tracking your employees is more vital than ever in being able to offer that full care and support needed to travel safely.

With the rise of the Millennial workforce, an end to end booking process through the online tool or a booking app will ensure high adoption of your online travel programme from all travellers and will also ensure your TMC’s service fees are kept to a minimum. Displaying preferred airlines and hotels that meet strict hygiene guidelines are all part of the requirement now, whether booking online or through a travel team and we always recommend you should have an expert offline booking solution to guide your travellers in their decision making, there to recommend the best approach to not only travelling safely but in a cost-effective manner.   

Portfolio of Account Sizes   

When considering a smaller TMC, it’s always handy to get an understanding of their current portfolio and account sizes to be sure they are fully equipped to manage your spend effectively. Get to know about the areas of specialism such as marine and offshore travel, construction, and many other industry sectors that have specific needs. You want to know you are in good company but also that you won’t be lost in a sea of clients all competing for attention. Knowing a TMC has current clients of a similar size to you will put your mind at ease, allowing you to enjoy the extra care and attention an independent TMC can offer.  

Client References   

Whilst the large, well known TMC’s can use their brand awareness to give confidence when clients are choosing whether to go ahead with them, the smaller, often lesser-known TMC’s must go that extra mile to build trust in their ability to successfully manage a strong travel programme. The easiest (and most trustworthy) way to give this assurance is to provide references or speak to directly to one of their current clients. If a current client is willing to take time out of their day to give a positive reference, you can rest assured the TMC is going above and beyond for them, and you can be assured they will do the same for you. 

Big Fish, Small Pond 

Would you rather be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? 

This really is down to personal preference but is another consideration when deciding between a large or smaller TMC. Would you prefer to be one of 1000’s of clients, or to be a valued client in a smaller pool of customers? By using a smaller TMC, there is no doubt your business would be valued more and the TMC would go the extra mile to ensure your complete satisfaction.  

There is no doubt that there are benefits to both small and large TMC’s, and as mentioned above, this is always down to the preference of the client, but for those doubting whether a smaller TMC can handle their travel programme, or unsure of the many benefits a smaller one can offer – it’s always worth assessing the above points and if they tick all the boxes, why not give them a try! 

What are your thoughts? Do you currently use a Smaller TMC? Leave your comments in the box below… 

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About Kevin Harrison

Kevin is our managing director and business travel veteran! Kevin has worked within the industry for over 30 years and spent 20 of those at one of the UK’s largest travel management companies. Kevin leads a dedicated and passionate team who strive to make a difference to our customers’ businesses by improving their approach to corporate travel.
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