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HELP! How do i choose the right travel management company?

HELP! How do i choose the right travel management company?

So the time has come to change your business travel supplier or pick one for the first time, but with so many to choose from, how do you know which one is the right choice for your business? There are hundreds of companies in the UK who can provide travel management services, some big, some small, those that specialise in a particular niche, large corporations and some independent or family run businesses. As the person responsible for the decision, it can be difficult to know where to start, so here are 4 key areas you should consider when evaluating who your next travel management company should be…

#1 Define what you want from your business travel supplier…

Choosing the right corporate travel agency is a significant investment for you and your business, so it’s important you take the time to figure out what your business actually needs. Travel management companies offer an array of different services to meet the needs of different organisations, but remember just because they offer it, doesn’t mean you need it. Have a think about why you want a travel management company in the first place, what problems do you want them to solve? Talk to other stakeholders too, you’ll be able to make a much more informed decision if you fully understand the needs in your organisation. Use this information to complete a business needs analysis for your business and rank your top priorities before engaging with suppliers.

#2 Understand the benefits of a one-stop shop…

Your preferred travel management partner will likely depend on the size and culture of your own business, but some companies choose to contract with a number of suppliers for different requirements whilst others choose one supplier to handle everything. Choosing a single travel management company does have its benefits, with just one supplier, you only have one contract to manage and that means a single source of management information, traveller tracking and supplier negotiation. Working in partnership with one supplier who understands your business travel objectives means you can face challenges together, saving time when compared to working with multiple suppliers.

#3 Where will they add additional value?

As well as booking travel for you, how will the suppliers on your shortlist provide further value? Ask how the travel management company will make sure your entire approach to business travel is optimised? All good travel management companies should offer an experienced account manager as part of their service, not just to make sure the service level targets are being achieved, but injecting innovation and expertise into your business travel programme should come as standard.

#4 Where does their content come from?

It’s all very well providing you with an efficient travel booking service, but you need to know these bookings are at the right price. Will the business travel agent negotiate with suppliers on your behalf to make sure you’re getting the best deals? Will you have access to Internet travel providers through the travel management company’s systems? Most travel management companies will access the GDS (Global Distribution System) to provide you with availability and prices, but some also connect to websites such as expedia.co.uk and laterooms.com so you can be sure you’re getting the best market rates all the time. Tip – this is very important if you want your travellers to support your new contract.

#5 Don’t just take their word for it…

Any sales person worth their salt is going to try and convince you their business is the perfect fit for you so make sure you do your due diligence to make sure the reality is what it appears to be. Has the business travel company won any awards? Do they openly share their customers’ success stories? Do they have any experience of working with customers with similar requirements?

Contact their customers to find out first hand what their experience of working with the travel management company has been like. Don’t forget to look at the company’s values and social responsibility policies too – these can be really insightful into an organisation’s culture, particularly the level of engagement in the local community.

Selecting a travel management company is an important investment for your business and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Assembling a shortlist of suppliers with whom to have more in-depth discussions can be tricky, but considering the points above should help you turn the decision-making process into a successful and collaborative partnership.

The SME's Guide to Procuring Travel Management Services

About Danielle Martinez

Danielle is our marketing coordinator and loves nothing more than creating thought provoking and interesting content to help our customers with business travel. Feel free to contact Danielle if there is anything you’d like to see covered within our business travel blog, she’d love to hear from you!
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