Travel sells itself. It’s in our human nature to connect with others, especially after being locked down during a pandemic.
We all know that every plane has a seat, every hotel has a bed and there’s so much choice! So why would you need additional support? Well, in conversations with our prospective clients earlier this year, 77% said they find DIY business travel too complicated. Through the services of a travel management company (TMC), a team of travel experts will tell you which seats is more comfortable, which hotel room is best suited to your needs and what can make the whole journey smoother.
Donna Joines, General Manager, Corporate Traveller UK explains that there’s also all the admin to think about. Arranging travel is often tagged onto other roles, like the office manager or the PA. Which is okay when there’s a few trips to book…but then the company grows. Or there’s a big delay. Suddenly, that small task become all-encompassing. Plus, as the number of trips increase, so does the company budget. Are you really keeping on top of those travel expenses and making the most of what you’re spending? 67% of those we surveyed feel the need to centralise the process of managing their corporate travel, which is no surprise when you think about the booking and spend gaps.
With more questions around travel than ever at the moment, it’s crucial to have that support on your side. Managing travel can be simpler, thanks to the team at your TMC.
Pass the travel admin to the experts
One of our clients, Bboxx, manufactures, distributes and finances decentralised solar powered systems in destinations such as Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo. Chief of Staff Natasha Cooper views her TMC contacts as an extension of her own team, due to the support and information she receives.
She said: “Archana is considered a part of our business in every way as she has regular queries directly from our MDs on some occasions! Working with Victoria, our account manager, has been a pleasure. She takes the time to communicate and provide relevant and accurate assistance.”
In addition to stress-free travel bookings, our team worked closely with Bboxx to update its systems and risk management protocols (including risk overviews and safety dashboards); explore sustainability targets and carbon offsetting projects; and arrange waivers and refunds directly with airlines for trips affected by COVID-19.
Setting up a TMC is easier than you think
Many companies delay the decision to sign up a TMC because they fear ‘the pain of change’. But with the right travel partner, change can be exciting and positive. A true travel partner will learn your company inside out and adapt its onboarding experience for your company culture and company objectives.
A TMC will take you through a structured ‘flight plan’ and can have you up and running in less than 14 days. That includes all the onboarding admin, training, communication and change management processes, with a team by your side the whole time. You don’t have to go it alone!
When you’re up and running, there’s day to day support
If you’ve ever had to spend hours on hold with an airline’s call centre, or had a traveller miss a flight (or lose their passport) you’ll understand the joy (and relief) of handing the problem over to someone else. Especially if you get the call at 2am on a Sunday morning, or 9pm on a Wednesday night.
Your team might be up-and-running in terms of a new online booking platform, approval processes and reporting tools, but when plans change, or things go wrong, it’s great to know that you have 24-hour support. No more stressful, odd-timed calls.
Of course, there is a lot more to it. A TMC will take a long-term, strategic look at your travel programme in order to deliver a solid return on investment. But for your bookers and travellers, it’s the calm, experienced ‘voice of reason’ on the end of the line that counts. Every time.
You just can’t compromise on service
Personal service and dedicated attention is one of the obvious shortcomings of DIY travel booking. But can you believe that 84% of our prospective clients feel that service is lacking in their current travel programme?
The most common pain points (which come up over and over again) include:
Long hold times to make itinerary changes
The need for more convenient payment solutions
The need to consolidate their travel programme
Budget management and the need to find savings in travel spend
Emergency, after-hours support
A good understanding of current travel protocols/travel restrictions
Ultimately, great (and let’s be honest, human) service should be a given not a nice to have. Make sure your potential TMC has a good track record in terms of service. Because when your travel programme is in safe hands, your travellers are happier, more confident and able to get on with the job at hand.
A great TMC has a team of travel experts at your service. Ours have been at it for decades, which is why we’ve packaged their insights and experience in a SME Corporate Travel Toolkit. It will give you pointers on how to craft the perfect travel policy, where to find savings without compromising traveller safety, the pitfalls of unmanaged travel and so much more.