Technology has made it easy to connect people, there’s no question about it. And yet it’s been demonstrated that businesses thrive from face to face connections
As companies grow, staff often need to be mobile, whether it is to close those all-important deals or meetings with existing clients. And if not managed properly, the costs associated with that mobility can spiral. In a world with so much choice at our fingertips, it’s easy to be lured to the internet under the impression of being able to find the best deal. In reality, letting staff book costly elements such as flights and hotels can be a huge financial risk.
Travel management companies have leveraging power for getting good deals
Employing the expertise of a travel management company (TMC), to deal with staff travel and logistics can ensure it is managed efficiently and in the most cost-effective way.
TMCs leverage their buying power to negotiate the best rates and fares for clients. Experts will take over the whole procurement process to get the best price and build the most convenient schedule for your travellers. This, in turn, stops your team wasting precious time booking travel and, instead, gets them where they need to be in the most efficient way.
In practical terms, this might mean choosing flights that reduce connection times, securing a hotel close to the intended meeting venue, or getting a business-class upgrade so your top salesperson arrives fresh for negotiations.
How a travel management company can help your travel plans
At the start of your relationship, a TMC can help design the best travel policy for you. This will set rules on types, cost and class of travel available. Each time a trip is planned, travellers will be offered a range of itineraries that meet the criteria to choose from. This way, you are always guaranteed to be booking the most cost-effective and suitable journey.
Staff don’t have to worry about petty cash and travel receipts
At the same time, TMCs lead the way in automated payment for travel services such as hotels. Options such as virtual cards and hotel billback means travellers do not have to pay on departure, which saves on expenses-claim admin or the headache of dealing with petty cash.
Another key area of expertise for TMCs is helping clients with duty of care. Employers are legally bound to look after workers, and travelling for business can throw up a range of issues.
The 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland, which shut down western airspace for six days, and the more recent drone occurrences in Gatwick and Heathrow, demonstrated how issues outside of your control can wreak havoc with travel plans. TMCs offer a comprehensive support function globally, so they can locate travellers at all times and take steps to rebook flights and accommodation in the event of an emergency.
Visas, jabs and risk assessments are checked by a TMC
TMCs will sort practicalities such as visas and inoculations and typically offer risk assessments for travel to destinations worldwide – a vital service in today’s uncertain landscape of political upheaval, global health scares and natural disasters. Specialist TMCs, such as those working in oil and gas, will even organise security for workers in volatile areas of the world.
As well as staying the right side of the law, looking after staff is proven to increase productivity and reduce turnover – another great saving for your business.
Spotting travel trends could identify new business opportunities
TMCs provide comprehensive ‘management information’ reports, which can be used to monitor spend, establish savings made, judge the effectiveness of trips and help with expense handling. These reports mean managers can also identify trends – perhaps staff are travelling to a particular region, for example – helping you prioritise where the growth areas of your business may be. Can you afford to run your business without it?