Working as a Business Development Manager who travels around meeting with potential clients, the first question I’m always asked is if we can offer cheaper flights and hotels.
Whilst the answer to this question is a resounding ‘YES’, there are many other ways a Travel Management Company (TMC) can add value to your company’s corporate travel programme.
When using a TMC to its maximum potential, the benefits they can offer have a wide reach within your organisation and can have a positive impact on multiple areas of your Business.
Below we look at the ways in which different departments can benefit from having a TMC on board.
It’s rare to find a travel booker whose sole job role is to book travel. Many bookers I meet have travel as a small part of their role, yet it takes up the majority of their time.
From the time it takes researching trips, going back and forth with options to the traveller, waiting for approvals or having to deal with last minute changes – booking travel can be a real pain to deal with, especially when there are other important tasks to be completed which are totally unrelated to travel.
Using a TMC saves a huge amount of time for bookers as they can easily pop over the traveller’s request to their booking team who will then come back with all relevant options within a specified turnaround time SLA.
Having a dedicated booking team to offer expert advice can also save a huge amount of stress and worry when a booker has a tricky and complicated itinerary to investigate.
By using the latest self-book technology which enforces policies and has approval processes built in, the travel booker can also be taken out of the equation by giving travellers the ability to research and book themselves within your company’s set parameters.
For a TMC to offer value to a traveller, there must be choice.
The choice to book themselves (through the self-book tool) or to have a dedicated team research and book for them, the choice of a wide range of travel content to choose from, and the choice to choose options suitable to their schedule (which also adhere to their company policy).
A good travel management company will offer a combined solution that caters to the different demographics within your company, meaning both seasoned Road Warriors and the ever growing Millennial workforce can book in their desired manner.
A TMC will also ensure all the traveller’s important details are stored and pre-loaded into the systems, so they don’t have to spend unnecessary time typing this information in, and can be assured they will still earn their frequent flyer points by booking through the TMC.
Senior Management Team (SMT)
The Senior Management within a company’s main objective is growing the company, increasing profits and ensuring a happy and productive workforce – and having a TMC on board can help with all three of these points.
Using a combination of negotiated rates, encouraging better booking behaviours and travel policy enforcement, a TMC will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
Whilst it is possible to delegate overseeing the travel programme to EA’s and Office Managers, by using a TMC and reducing some of the time they spend managing the travel means they will have more time to concentrate on other important tasks for the SMT, making them much more productive in the process.
Senior Management are also usually the people who travel most within a company, so as well as the benefits a TMC offers to the company as a whole, they also receive the benefits offered to travellers too!
It still surprises me how many company’s I meet with don’t know how much they spend on travel. This is usually because travel is being organised through many different avenues, and with different people within the organisation booking independently.
By using a TMC and putting all the company travel through a single provider, the finance team will then have easy to access, comprehensive and easily filtered Travel Data.
A TMC will build mandatory data labels into the booking process (Cost Codes, PO Numbers etc) to ensure all bookings are easily reconciled, and with the option to add an interest free credit account, a TMC will save huge amounts of time for your finance team by eliminating the need to reconcile travel against credit card statement.
By offering a combined solution of an offline booking team and self-book technology, people organising travel are still free to book their chosen way – meaning a much higher adoption of the TMC.
The HR Team within an organisation are responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of their employees and that the company is adhering to its duty of care obligations, so although you may not usually think a HR Team would benefit from a TMC being on board – there is actually a lot a TMC can offer when taking these priorities into consideration.
Value added services such as an Emergency Assistance Line and Traveller Tracking ensure the HR team has made every effort to ensure the travellers safety when abroad, and by using travel data to show top travellers, they can also then cross reference this with leaver data to ensure Travel Friction isn’t a cause for people leaving the company.
A TMC can also work alongside the HR team to assist with developing and updating existing policies, which can be easily changed and rolled out company wide when there is one TMC managing all bookings within the company.
Not all benefits a TMC offers are quantified in monetary terms, however as long as the TMC is reducing the overall cost of travel, the value-added services can make many people’s working life across the whole organisation safer, less stressful and more productive.