Is managing Your own travel a false economy?
If your company is managing its own business travel – is it something you do because you always have? Because you assume it’s cheaper or that you think your business is too small to invest in a travel management company? These may seem like valid reasons to go it alone, but travel has changed quite a bit recently.
From travel disruptions, traveller safety and border entry requirements - business travel has become more complex. With this in mind, let’s take a fresh look at some of the reasons why a travel management company (TMC) would be a great fit for your business.
Size really doesn’t matter
No matter what your business or travel budget size – getting the best value and helpful service is important regardless. “After a tough few years, which have impacted every type of business, it’s important to make each travel dollar count,” said Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) General Manager, Cameron Harris. “There are specific strategies and processes that an SME business travel specialist can help you to implement within your business that will help you generate value from every booking.”
While travel is back on the agenda, it’s not set and forget anymore as changes and cancellations will be with us for a while. So unless your EA likes getting calls at 11pm at night, leave it to the experts. A dedicated Travel Manager is a valuable asset, who’s like an extra employee – and importantly one that’s available to support your travel needs any time 24/7/365 days.
How important is travel to your business?
Sometimes you don’t really recognise the importance of a business practice, until you’re prevented from doing it. When the pandemic halted travel, it highlighted the proven role it plays in gaining new business, networking, fostering new ideas, improving sales and also cementing current business relationships.
“It can also signal to customers that they are important to you,” said Cameron. “Maybe you could make do with a zoom call, but a face-to-face meeting shows your commitment to them and may set you apart from the competition.”
For many employees, travel is also an important perk that influences staff retention. It’s been proven time and time again that bringing your own people together regularly, enhances workplace culture. That’s why smart businesses don’t see travel as a cost, but an investment – and like every investment it needs to perform. A good SME travel company help you get the most value from your travel and provide personal service to make travel easy.
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Feel like you could do with an extra pair of hands booking business travel?
It’s not how much you spend, but how much you can save
“Whether your travel budget is big, small or somewhere in the middle – a TMC will take an holistic, end-to-end approach to your travel to deliver genuine savings”, said Cameron. “It’s easy for unseen extra costs to erode your budget, such as booking cancellation and change fees. However, a dedicated travel manager will help you and your people to book smartly. They will also draw on their strong relationships with suppliers to help customers secure extra benefits such as free WiFi, parking, breakfast or upgrades. Which can all add up to considerable savings over a year.”
Program value can also be achieved through a TMC’s buying power, exclusive supplier rates, booking platforms, cost management strategies, regular reporting and travel insights. For example the cheapest flight may not be the fastest, but it may get you there just an hour later – or choosing a different day of the week may be a lot more cost effective for accommodation. The expertise of your personal Travel Manager combined with the most appropriate travel strategies will help to decrease your overall cost of trip.
Travel specialists for all industries
An experienced TMC understands that different industries travel for very different reasons – including trade shows, conferences, board meetings, research trips, site inspections and to get employees to remote work sites.
With knowledge across a diverse range of sectors and an understanding of your business, an experienced travel manager will know what is most important to you as a traveller and to your travel program.
Industry specialisation on our side of the fence is also something to consider. If you’re thinking of partnering with a TMC make sure you’re partnered with the right kind of corporate travel specialist. Some TMCs are technology and product led and are all about the online/self-service/automated booking process, while others, like FCBT are more focused on providing business travel specialisation via your personal Travel Manager. The customer experience is vastly different!
Travel with the pros! You may have realised that it doesn’t matter what size your business is or how many trips you make, whether your business spends $50K to $1million a year on travel – a Travel Manager (from a TMC that specialises in personal one-to-one service delivery), can be a valuable business asset.