Travel management plays a crucial role within success in the corporate world. Business travel is a fundamental driver in growth and the discovery of new opportunities for businesses. Efficiently managing travel arrangements, expenses and policies is essential to ensuring a seamless experience for business travellers while maximizing value your the company. In this article, we will explore exactly what is travel management, the role of travel management companies (TMCs) and the strategies needed to implement an effective corporate travel program. So, let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about travel management.
Understanding Travel Management
What is Travel Management?
Travel management encompasses the processes, policies and strategies implemented by organizations in order to manage their business travel effectively. This can include anything from planning and booking travel, to expense management, risk mitigation and a companies duty of care. The primary objective of travel management is to ensure the experience of your business travellers is a smooth and hassle-free, while optimizing costs and aligning with your companies goals.
The Importance of Travel Management for Business
Ensuring that your business travellers always arrive at each meeting on-time, well-rested and stress-free is essential to the success of any business trip. Polishing your corporate travel program will result in increased productivity and employee satisfaction. A well constructed corporate travel policy can also help cut down on any unnecessary spending. Aligning your whole corporate travel program around a strong corporate travel policy will result in increased efficiency when it comes to planning and booking, as well as cost savings by defining structured approval processes.
Travel Management Companies (TMCs)
The Role of TMCs
TMCs specialize in providing comprehensive travel management services to businesses. They act as strategic partners, assisting companies in managing their corporate travel programs efficiently. TMCs can offer a number of great benefits, including expertise, technology solutions, industry connections and emergency support to streamline travel arrangements, reduce costs and enhance the overall experience.
Services Offered by TMCs
TMCs offer a wide range of boutique services to address the unique needs of each and every business. These services include, but are not limited to travel planning and booking, 24/7 traveller assistance, maximizing corporate rewards, travel management technology, carbon offsetting and managing executive leisure travel.
How TMCs Benefit Business Travellers
TMCs play a massive role in supporting business travellers throughout their journey. They provide access to travel management apps, that keep them up-to-date with any changes that might affect their itineraries. They are pro-active, so can solve issues well ahead of time. Their expertise in risk management ensures that during critical situations, you are always a sep ahead of the crowd.
The Importance of Having 24/7 Corporate Travel Assistance
How TMCs Benefit Administrative Staff
The benefits of TMCs run far deeper than just the experience of your companies business travellers; now your administrative staff are free to focus on their core job roles, without the worry of a business trip eating into their time both inside and out of the office.
Components of a Corporate Travel Program
Travel Policy and Guidelines
A well-defined corporate travel policy is the cornerstone of an effective corporate travel program. It outlines the rules and guidelines for travel booking, preferred vendors, travel class, expense limits, reimbursement procedures and compliance requirements. A comprehensive travel policy ensures consistency across the board, eliminating a number of friction points along the way.
Booking and Reservation Process
Streamlining the booking and reservation process is crucial for efficient travel management. Some TMCs require you to book your own travel through automated portals, whilst others provide you with a dedicated agent who does the heavy lifting for you. Automation can be much more effective for large organizations. However, you still open yourself up to human error. Booking directly through a dedicated agent often ensures a much higher level of attention to detail, resulting in cost-savings down-the-road.
Travel Expense Management
Managing travel expenses effectively is vital for controlling costs and ensuring reimbursements are issued accurately. TMCs can help streamline this particular process by offering tools, as well as custom reporting to help speed up your accounting procedures.
The 9 Best Expense Management Tools for Business Travel
Risk Management and Duty of Care
Traveller safety is essential to the success of any corporate travel program. Partnering with a dedicated corporate travel agency ensures that your business travellers are always well looked after. Removing the burden of responsibility from your administrative staff, leaving them to focus on their core job roles.
The Difference Between Travel Agents and Corporate Travel Managers
Trends in Travel Management
There is now an abundance of online booking platforms, all of which claim to offer the best value to every business traveller. These tools often make it incredible easy to find good seals on flights, hotels and car rentals. However, they offer very little flexibility and even less in terms of customer service if things do go wrong. It is likely that we will see competition heat up even further in this market as AI completely eradicates the personal touch from these services.
Personalized Travel Experiences
As mentioned above, the shift toward automation has made actual expert assistance more valuable than ever before. Boutique solutions that are tailored to the individual traveller are becoming harder and harder to find. The majority of modern TMCs care very little beyond the sale. So, if service is what you are looking for, make sure to keep an eye out for the people-first travel providers.
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are certainly buzzwords when it comes to corporate travel in 2023. So, if these values are central to the operating of your company, make sure to partner with a travel provider that is able to help support your green initiatives. This could be through comprehensive reporting of aircrafts for carbon offsetting, or providing travel options with lower emissions.
Understanding the role of expert travel advisors in the success of any effective corporate travel program is key to unlocking cost savings, as well as quality-of-life improvements for each individual business traveller. Passing the responsibility of your corporate travel on to a specialist corporate travel agency gives you the flexibility to change plans on the fly, confident in the knowledge you are always covered.