If you are the owner or manager of a business, the chances are you are familiar with the idea of calling in outside help
You’d never think to tackle complicated legal issues without a lawyer and your accountant is on speed-dial to ensure you minimise your tax liability at year-end. Managing how your employees move around for work is another area of your operation that needs the exact same help and that’s where the services of a travel management company (TMC) can prove invaluable.
It’s a subject that can be overlooked. As companies grow, staff are often required to move further afield, whether it’s in search of new deals or for meetings with existing clients. And as a result, costs can spiral.
Travel management companies can save you time and money
Travel management companies are essentially your travel requirement outsource and partners for business travel, and come in all shapes and sizes to handle the travel needs of everything from small and medium-sized enterprises to giant multinational corporations. Having a TMC in charge of your travel can ensure it is managed efficiently and in the most cost-effective way.
The most obvious of these benefits is savings. In a world with so much choice at our fingertips, everyone thinks they can use the internet to find the best deal. In reality, letting staff book costly elements such as flights and hotels can be a huge financial risk.
In a world with so much choice at our fingertips, everyone thinks they can use the internet to find the best deal.
TMCs leverage their buying power to negotiate the best rates and fares for clients. Staff will take over the whole procurement process to get the best price and build the most convenient schedule for your travellers, which in turn stops them wasting time on the task at hand and gets them where they need to be in the most efficient way.
At the start of your relationship, a travel management company can help design the best procurement 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.
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 administration or the headache of dealing with petty cash.
Using TMCs to look after business travellers
Another key concern for travel management companies 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.
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 letting staff book costly elements
The recent visit from the Beast from the East demonstrated how issues outside your control, such as extreme weather, can play 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 emergency.
The recent visit from the Beast from the East demonstrated how issues outside your control, such as extreme weather, can play havoc with travel plans
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. It is also worth considering the wealth of data that can be supplied to develop your travel programme.
TMCs provide comprehensive management information 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.