Hiring a travel management company (TMC) is an important decision because who you choose can have a major impact on your company’s travel costs. Choose the wrong one, and it may cost you. Choose a good one, though, and many of your travel woes could disappear. After all, TMCs plan travel, process reservations and fulfill transactions. They also have a hand in supporting online booking tools, report data, implement technology, track travelers, and lend support throughout the entire travel process, leaving employees to the most important task at had: getting down to business.
The question is, do you need to hire a consultant to help choose your business travel agency? Well, that depends.
On the plus side, a consultant with a working knowledge of TMCs already knows the pros and cons of service providers and can help tailor the choice to your business’ needs. Of course, it’ll cost you since a good consultant will need to take time to understand how your company works and what its ultimate goals are. Among other things, they’ll need to collect data in order to understand what operational plans and pricing proposals best suit your needs; evaluate your total assisted and unassisted transactions for the last two or so years; and consider the TMCs role in account management, negotiating services and incentive management.
That said, it’s also possible to research and select a TMC sans-consultant. If you go this route, it’s important that your travel and finance departments get involved and, likely, oversee the process since a full operational evaluation is necessary. At the end of the day, you need to be sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks to each TMC that’s being considered. After all, you want a business travel agency that works for you.
You should, for example, make sure the company takes content aggregation seriously and offers direct-connect access to outside booking sites so employees aren’t compelled to seek cheaper rates elsewhere. You also want to work with a TMC whose platform is easy to understand and implement; otherwise, there’s no use since your employees may book outside that platform.
It’s also important to select a travel management company that has extensive working relationships with suppliers so they can negotiate the best rates; will streamline and properly track employees’ expense reports; and serve as a support system to ensure safety for those on the road.
When it comes to hiring a travel management company, whether you decide to hire a consultant for the sake of existing expertise or you feel confident that your research will yield comparable results, do the math and make sure the end ultimately justifies the means.
To learn more about what travel management companies like AmTrav can do for you, click here.
By: Jennifer O.