Enterprises invest in corporate travel to accelerate customer acquisition, boost revenue generation, and facilitate market expansion. But the complex nature of the business travel management process makes it challenging for them to increase return on investments (ROI).
Companies and startups these days get higher ROI by working with a travel management company. In addition to streamlining the multistep business process, the travel management company helps employees engage in business travel without experiencing stress and feeling unsafe.
Hence, it becomes easier for them to accomplish business travel goals. At the same time, the travel management company creates opportunities for employers to reduce the average costs of domestic and international business trips in various ways.
Your organization can increase the ROI of business travel by outsourcing business travel management to a reputable and competent company. But you must consider some crucial factors to partner with the right travel management company (TMC).
11 Factors You Must Consider to Choose the Right Travel Management Company
1. T&E Policy Compliance
It becomes easier for your company to curtail costs when the TMC prevents employees from violating the organizational travel and expense (T&E) policy. The TMC must help employees understand various rules and guidelines governing business travel.
At the same time, it needs to ensure that each employee books only in-policy travel products. Hence, you should check how the company ensures 100% T&E policy compliance.
2. Travel Choices
You must allow each employee to choose and book his preferred travel products. But you should remember that travel choices these days vary according to employees’ demographic characteristics. For instance, employees these days book direct flights to reduce stress and carbon footprints simultaneously.
But older employees prefer hotels, while millennial employees opt for homestays and other unconventional accommodations. You must partner with a TMC that meets the travel needs and choices of employees across demographics.
3. Travel Supplier Network
Employees these days travel to various international destinations for customer acquisition and market expansion purposes. Your company needs a TMC with an extensive network of travel suppliers. The criteria will provide employees with access to an extensive inventory of flights, hotels, and car rentals. Also, they can compare and book travel products provided by many suppliers.
4. Travel Booking Experience
Most TMCs help companies centralize business travel booking. They make business travel arrangements for employees by deploying in-house travel consultants. But self-booking is currently one of the hottest trends in corporate travel.
You can boost employee experience by prioritizing TMCs that provide corporate booking tools. However, they must ensure that each employee can book his preferred travel products without putting in extra time and effort.
5. Real-Time Information Delivery
Your company can help employees mitigate common business travel risks when the TMC delivers real-time information like flight status and travel alerts. While shortlisting TMCs, you should check if they use cutting-edge communication tools that deliver real-time information to employees in the form of mobile alerts and notifications.
6. Travel Support
Your employees need both information and assistance to plan business trips, make business travel itineraries, and choose travel products. It becomes easier for your company to provide both assistance and information to work travelers when the TMC offers 24/7 travel support.
You need to ensure that employees can interact with a travel agent by making voice calls or sending emails, instant messages, and chat messages. However, it is also important to prioritize TMCs that minimize support response time.
7. Emergency Assistance
While investing in business travel, your company must ensure the safety and security of work travelers by investing in duty-of-care resources. You can avoid additional investment by partnering with a TMC that provides a comprehensive duty-of-care solution. Also, you should prioritize companies that deliver emergency assistance to travelers across destinations by partnering with global health and security risk management firms.
TMCs streamline T&E Management by providing consolidated expense reports. But your finance team must access and understand the T&E data to make budgets and forecast costs accurately. Hence, you should choose a TMC that provides custom reports using the parameters set by the finance team.
Leading TMCs these days provide robust expense management solutions. Your finance team can use the tool to track, review, and audit travel expenses regularly. Also, they can use the software to generate and schedule a slew of custom reports automatically.
9. Data Security and Analysis
Your employees will share personal and sensitive information with the TMC for business travel booking purposes. Hence, you must check the security tools and firewalls used by the company to safeguard employee data.
At the same time, you should check if the company gains actionable insights by analyzing the T&E data of your company. The data-driven insights will help you find opportunities to increase the ROI of business travel by making informed decisions.
10. Travel Cost Control
Outsourcing business travel management helps your company to reduce average business trip costs. Most TMCs control costs by booking flights, accommodations, car rentals, and other business travel products at lower than market rates. They reduce costs by negotiating with travel suppliers for better rates.
But some companies additionally leverage the best deals and special discounts offered by various suppliers. Likewise, many companies book fully-refundable flight tickets and choose hotels that provide complimentary facilities and amenities. Hence, you should focus on choosing a company that uses multiple cost-saving tactics and strategies.
11. Experience, Expertise, and Reputation
You must shortlist and compare TMCs according to your organization’s short-term and long-term business travel management needs. But you should spend time evaluating the company’s experience, expertise, and reputation.
You should prioritize companies that have built a reputation by providing travel management services and solutions to many companies and startups. Also, you should check if the company boosts business travel management using cutting-edge travel technologies.
The right travel management company will help your firm increase the ROI of business travel in multiple ways. But you must not ignore another major trend – automation – while outsourcing the business travel management process.
TMCs these days facilitate end-to-end business travel management automation by providing feature-rich travel management software. In addition to saving time and resources, the travel management software creates opportunities for you to make data-driven decisions.
Hence, you should prioritize TMCs that provide both travel management services and travel management software. The combination of outsourcing and automation will help your organization increase ROI consistently.