5 things all businesses should look for when they choose a travel management company.
Businesses that ask employees to travel often need outside assistance. Much more than just bookings go into business travel: travel policy development, risk management, duty of care, disruptions, expenses, etc. Travel management can quickly become overwhelming, which is why travel-heavy businesses work with travel management companies (TMCs).
But here’s the challenge: How do you choose the right travel management company from among the sea of options on the market?
It’s best to start by searching for specific qualities that all TMCs should have. Here’s a look at the 5 must-have characteristics that you should seek out when searching for a managed travel solution.
There’s no replacement for experience. TMCs that have been serving clients for years have experienced a little bit of everything — natural disasters, airline strikes, hotel mergers, economic downturns, pandemics, and more. The benefit is that they’ve come out of those crises more experienced and better able to serve their clients.
It may be tempting to choose a startup TMC that is promoting its proprietary technology. But, while technology is important (as noted below), your business will benefit greatly from having the voice of experience on its side.
How do you determine if a travel management company has the level of experience you need? Ask how long they’ve been working with corporate clients. Ask about the evolution of their travel management company. And be sure to ask for references — an experienced TMC will have existing clients who are more than willing to speak with prospective clients on the TMC’s behalf.
Yes, technology is incredibly important. And your TMC should be positioned to help you choose and integrate the right travel technologies for your business. For example, at JTB Business Travel, we help our clients choose the most cost-effective travel technologies, and then we assist them with implementation of those technologies.
Why is technology so important? The right travel technologies should help with:
- Risk management: Travel technologies can help you stay in touch with your Travelers, as well as help you monitor potentially dangerous situations around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the awareness of risk management and the duty of care responsibility companies have to their Travelers. The right technologies can help you better manage risk and live up to your duty of care responsibility.
- Automation: Analog travel management is slow, inefficient and rife with errors. Digital travel management can be automated to increase efficiency and allow both Travel Managers and Travelers to focus on what matters most. Find a travel technology stack that reduces the administrative burden of travel management.
- Savings: Best of all, choosing the right travel technologies leads to savings. Technologies can help you enforce your travel policy, track and monitor trends, identify inefficiencies and more. If you want to get the best return on your investment in business travel, integrate with the right travel technologies.
Of course, introducing new travel technologies can lead to threats against your company’s data security. As you speak to different TMC options, ask specifically about their approaches to data protection. In the modern world, data related to payment methods, travel itineraries, personal information, health care details and more could be at risk without the right security in place.
Travel disruptions happen. It’s a fact of life when you ask your employees to leave the office for work. Storms will cancel flights. Meetings will run long. Additional cities will be added to itineraries. When these changes and disruptions happen, Travel Managers and Travelers need to be able to get in touch with their TMCs to find solutions. Or better yet, your TMC should be proactively getting in touch with your Travelers and Travel Managers!
You and your Travelers should be able to reach your TMC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And you should be able to reach your TMC through whatever channel you prefer: email, voice call, text, website, mobile application, etc. A thorough approach to customer service is the best approach in 2021 and beyond, so make sure your TMC is offering this level of service.
A TMC should be your one-stop shop for all things travel-related. Think through your entire travel program from top to bottom, listing out all of the small details and tasks that go into getting your employees safely from Point A to Point B. Your TMC should be able to help with managing your entire program, from negotiating rates and crafting your travel policy to creating an omnichannel experience for your Travelers that will increase policy compliance and reduce risk. You shouldn’t need another third-party to help with any portion of your business travel.
Think about it this way: In simplest terms, your TMC should be able to assist with all aspects of business travel, before, during and after trips. That’s comprehensive service.
Get Comprehensive Service With JTB Business Travel
#ChooseTheRightTMC! At JTB Business Travel, we work with companies small and large, supporting Travelers during their trips and helping them maximize their investment and reduce overall spending. Behind everything we do and provide is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Get in touch to learn more about what we can do as your travel management company.