Throughout our marketing material and blogs here at Good Travel Management we talk in detail about the value Travel Management Companies (TMC) can offer and the benefits they can bring to a businesses travel programme, and whilst on the surface most TMC’s look similar, there are aspects of their culture, service and the solutions they offer which makes some more credible than others.
So what exactly does makes a TMC Credible?
In my experience, the answer to this question falls into two categories; ‘before and after’ appointing your chosen Travel Management Company, with the underlying aspect of both these categories being something which is hard to earn and easy to lose; Trust.
If you are currently in the process of choosing a Business Travel Agency, it may se em daunting how many there are to choose from, but there are things to look out for which will give you peace of mind you are on the right path to choosing a TMC which is the right fit for your company.
Every organisation has their own set of requirements and specific needs, and a credible Business Travel Agency will spend time getting to know your company and what kind of solution you need, rather than offering a ‘one size’ fits all model which may not work for your travel programme.
A credible TMC will also understand the current climate in the Business Travel Industry and will ensure they have solutions to fit in with the needs of today’s travellers. During my years working in the Travel Industry, the conversation with clients has changed dramatically from ‘price vs the internet’ to ‘How can you ensure my travellers are looked after and what visibility will you offer me for my Travel programme’. A credible TMC will be at the forefront of changes currently taking place within the industry.
Service solutions which were once a novelty, such as Traveller Tracking, Expense Management and MI Software are now thought of as ‘must have’ items, and by listening to your needs, and having solutions to cater to your requirements, a TMC will build trust during the initial conversations and prove they are a credible company to work with.
Once appointed as your TMC, this is where building trust and credibility really begins.
During the early stages, your Travel Management Company will have promised a variety of solutions and offered a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for achieving these, and once you appoint them, they will then need to deliver on these promises to prove they are trustworthy. This can be a long process, and may take months for you to fully trust the service they are providing, but once achieved it can create a great relationship that lasts for years.
Your TMC will not only have to prove their worth in comparison to your previous booking process but also that they are adding additional value to your travel programme; showing savings versus the internet will allow your TMC some initial brownie points, but acting swiftly and proactively to ensure a traveller caught in an emergency gets home safe is what will really build the trust you have in them.
Likewise, a TMC who can admit when mistakes happen (we are all human after all!) will show they aren’t afraid to be honest with you even when it’s to their own detriment.
Another way a TMC can prove credibility is by the expert advice they offer to you. These days everyone can book a flight on a comparison website, but this shouldn’t discount the years of experience most business travel consultants have and the extra value they can add to your bookings by utilising their expertise.
Another way a TMC can prove their credibility is by the long term support they offer, which usually falls under their Account Management service. By having regular review meetings your Account Manager will be able to suggest ways to improve your travel programme (better booking behaviour, hotel rate procurement etc) and ensure you are getting the very most from your bookings.
These review meeting will also be a chance for honest feedback and a further opportunity to build trust and credibility based on how your feedback is taken on board and acted upon.
Travel Management Companies come in all shapes and sizes, and not everyone will be the right fit for your company. But by asking the right questions in the early stages and ensuring your chosen TMC is living up to its promises, you can massively reduce the hassle involved with booking business travel, increase your Duty of Care Compliance and ensure your company’s Travel Programme is fit for whatever life throws at you.
What do you think makes a Travel Management Company credible? Leave your comments in the box below!