The real-life value of using a TMC
The real-life value of using a TMC
Spend reduction and cost avoidance
Producing savings and plans for cost avoidance is just one of the key ways in which a TMC can provide its clients with value but, in the eyes of the travel buyer, it’s certainly one of the most significant. No matter where a stakeholder finds themselves in the decision-making process, there’s always a route back to the bottom-line, back to the overall cost of corporate travel and back to how this is going to be reduced.
So, how do TMC’s actually create these savings for their clients?
Travel trends - A TMC will analyse your organisation’s travel data in order to identify travel trends which will be then be used to enable more strategic purchasing. For example, if travellers frequently stay at a certain hotel or book a particular route, a TMC will use this frequency in their negotiations with suppliers in order to secure lower corporate rates. Identifying travel trends can also highlight patterns in out-of-policy behaviour, as well as showing how self-booking processes can be improved – all contributing to reductions in spend.
Benchmarking – Although benchmarking exercises don’t provide a definitive picture of what your organisation should be paying for its travel, they do act as a useful guide to where savings can be achieved, as well as bolstering the supplier negotiation process.
Negotiations – Using their experience and industry relationships, combined with their knowledge of your organisation’s corporate travel needs, a TMC will negotiate with travel suppliers on your behalf to secure competitive rates. They will be well-versed in how best to do this depending on supplier and circumstance – for example, they might combine travel spend across your office to make for a more compelling negotiation.
Creative ticketing and technology - TMCs can often reduce the price of a journey, especially when it comes to more complex trips, by deploying creative ticketing techniques. A good TMC will also develop technologies to help pass the best fares and biggest savings on to you.
The importance of having accurate visibility of how your organisation travels is key to an effective corporate travel programme, but it’s something that is incredibly difficult to achieve without utilising the services, and leveraging the expertise, of a TMC.
Reporting – Corporate travel is an area that requires investment and decisions from multiple stakeholders, perhaps more so than any other spend category, and so it’s vital to have access to data that is relevant to each stakeholder and their interests. An efficient TMC should be able to quickly provide you with reports that detail relevant KPIs and demonstrate progress or trends, all in a digestible format that can be customised to suit you.
Data – Data forms the foundation of any robust corporate travel programme, informing any initiatives and policies that rest upon it. A TMC should go one step further than simply collecting your organisation’s travel data and should turn data patterns into actions that improve the efficacy of your travel programme, and then share these insights with your key stakeholders so that they can make informed decisions in the future.
Visibility of travellers – It’s not just numbers that are important to a corporate travel programme, duty of care efforts are absolutely essential and a valuable TMC should offer you complete visibility of your travellers, allowing you to see whether they checked into their hotel, landed safely and to locate them in the event of an emergency.
Duty of care
It’s every organisation’s legal requirement to fulfil duty of care obligations but that doesn’t make it easy to do so. Duty of care is much more than a tick-box exercise and your TMC should be your partner in this.
24/7 support – When corporate travel doesn’t go to plan, you need a TMC who can provide support whenever, wherever. In an ideal world, this will be managed in-house to ensure that your travellers receive a consistent service across the globe. An established TMC will also have developed strong connections with key suppliers, which can help to resolve any problems quickly and easily.
Traveller tracking – Although the world is getting smaller, a friendly face never feels further away than during an emergency and is something that can place a real strain on corporate travellers. A TMC that can provide a traveller tracking system, allowing you to locate and contact travellers in a crisis, can provide reassurance for those in and out of the office.
Using the right TMC doesn’t just produce cost savings; there’s also the potential for significant efficiency savings and productivity boosts.
Centralised solution – Corporate travel rarely consists of one straight forward journey, usually comprising of flights, hotel accommodation and ground transport – if left to their own devices it can take a traveller more than a fair amount of time to find, assess and book the different elements of a trip. A TMC that can provide a centralised solution, in which all employees can book all types of travel in one place will make the process of booking business travel much more efficient, whilst ensuring that all bookings meet travel policy requirements.
RFPs – The exercise of sending out an RFP can be a black hole for time and productivity, sucking in a lot of effort without producing the desired results. A TMC will be able to take on this process for you, with the added bonus of being able to incorporate your travel insights into the project, resulting in more tailored responses.
Implementing a successful travel policy is one of the most challenging parts of any corporate travel programme and for many organisations it feels like a real uphill struggle.
Enforcing your policy – A TMC will seamlessly integrate your travel policy conditions within the booking process, whether that’s by building your policy into an online booking tool, implementing approval controls or a combination of both. This can provide a relief to travel managers, as it means the TMC can then take on the role of ‘bad cop’.
Monitoring your policy – A travel policy is only ever effective if it can be tracked – a process which a TMC can automate and remove much of the manual work that comes with trying to do this internally. Customisable and downloadable reports should also highlight useful travel policy information, such as repeat offenders or particular trips that cause people to book out of policy.
Reviewing your policy – Although it might seem tempting to tick writing a travel policy off your to-do list and move on, it’s important that the document isn’t static and brought into the every-day workings of an organisations. An effective way of doing this is by regularly reviewing the travel policy – a process through which a TMC can offer expert advice and support to ensure that the right changes are made.