Why use a Travel Management Company to book travel for clients
Should a VA use a Travel Management Company or should they book or manage travel arrangements for their clients themselves… To answer this question, I would like to introduce you to Lizzie Adamson-Brown – I have known Lizzie for a number of years now and she has helped me with both professional and personal travel arrangements. Lizzie has kindly offered to write a guest blog for VACT about the benefits of why we should use a Travel Management Company (TMC) and in particular someone like her to manage travel on behalf. Don’t panic it doesn’t mean you need to stop offering this service to your clients but instead what you will be offering is a more comprehensive service. Bonus.
I am Lizzie Adamson-Brown and I own a successful Personal Travel Company. I have 19 years’ experience in the Travel Industry working predominantly in “Corporate Travel”, but I also offer my customers “Leisure Travel” too. In fact, many of my clients combine Business and Leisure travel together (Bleisure), giving them the best of all options. I have worked with some very big Corporate Travel accounts including, Kelloggs, Microsoft, BT, Proctor and Gamble amongst others.
SMEs often assume that TMCs are too big or costly for smaller organisations to consider using them, however many TMCs have the services and expertise to help smaller businesses track travel spend, handle duty of care requirements, save time and stress. I work alongside Virtual Assistants too, as they specialise in the SME admin and PA duties, while I have the TMC company and have many years expertise in corporate travel booking.
A TMC typically offers additional services to aid corporate clients. These can include:
- Access to a wide range of services and deals suited to the business traveller at discounted prices
- Better control over travel costs
- Support in fulfilling your duty of care obligations to staff
- Improved compliance with stated travel policies
- Access to a greater range of tools and reporting, e.g. traveller tracking
Here are the main reasons, why using a TMC is the best option every time for booking your clients business travel arrangements:
Experience and Skills
Would you re-wire your own house instead of hiring a professional electrician? No, because you need to know the work is done correctly, a professional has honed their skills and trained to the highest levels. Along with this and using many years of experience, knowledge and tricks of the trade to ensure you get the outcome you want, safe in the knowledge that you are in safe hands. This is exactly why SME’s should use a TMC.
Tracking travel spend
Although SMEs have fewer employees, their organisation may travel more frequently – making travel spend as difficult to track as larger businesses. TMCs can provide data, patterns and behavioural analysis around travel spend to ensure that SMEs can control their budgets and get the best value for money.
TMCs have access to better rates from airlines and hotels and can identify the right balance between cost savings and flexibility.
Often it is the senior executives and sales people who travel the most. These people are also often the most expensive people on your payroll. So, it will save the company a lot of money if you can take travel booking and associated administration off their hands.
What’s more, using me as a specialist travel management company, I have access to thousands of travel deals and discounted rates – so you pay less for travel, accommodation, and other services.
I was recently ‘tested’ by a new corporate client to beat a price they had worked out, for 6 staff to travel across the world to many destinations, using the internet. I managed, not only to save the company £14k but ensured they had better flight times and they now have the financial protection and 24/7 support of my company!
Saving time and Stress
Smaller businesses often think they are better off booking their own travel, assuming this is the more cost-effective option. However, it’s worth taking into account how much time employees are taking to book their own travel, and if their bookings align with the business’s travel policy in terms of spend. Often booking travel is not the main priority for employees who already have a full workload, resulting in bookings made at the last minute which are more expensive than if they’d been booking in advance.
What’s more, travel arrangements don’t always go to plan, and this can be extremely stressful for the traveller if they don’t have access to support – and extremely stressful for those left at the office when you have no visibility of where your travellers are or whether they have been caught up in travel disruptions.
I will be available during office hours to support you and your staff; offering support when it’s needed and helping you to understand and fulfil your duty of care responsibilities. After hours I am supported by our 24/7 Duty Office – the team there works round the clock to give my travellers early notification of disruption to travel plans and support me and therefore in supporting your staff and, where necessary, making alternative travel arrangements seamlessly and efficiently.
Duty of care
Duty of care is no longer an option – it’s a requirement for all businesses. When bookings are made by travellers, personal assistants and even in-house travel managers unintentional oversights can occur when it comes to the organisation’s duty of care responsibilities. Travel Managers may be able to enforce certain duty of care requirements, but unless they have a large team, they can’t provide 24/7 support for travellers, like the TMC does.
No matter what size your organisation, or how much travelling you undertake, I can support your business travellers to find the best rates, fulfil your duty of care responsibilities and schedule most effectively.
My team negotiate better travel partnerships – we have enviable relationships with all the major airlines, access to industry brokerages, and financial clout in travel booking – and you gain access to these savings when booking with me.
This is backed up with technology; by downloading our MyTC app, your travellers have access to all their travel arrangements and documents, as well as quickly receiving any alerts or notifications.
I will get to know you and your team and will take into account your individual travel preferences when making a booking – window seat? aisle seat? vegan meal? – and book accordingly.
Your employees are freed up to concentrate on their work – and you don’t have the overhead of a dedicated travel manager. Despite getting all the benefits – and more!
A SME often wants to know that their business trip is financially protected?
You may have heard the news about the regional UK airline Flybmi, which ceased trading recently leaving passengers stranded across Europe! It’s circumstances such as this that highlight the importance of booking your corporate travel through a trusted travel professional. Many of the travellers stranded by Flybmi’s collapse were corporate travellers, returning to and from the UK on European business trips.
Despite Flybmi creasing trading on a Saturday evening, as soon as the news broke my support teams ran reports to identify clients affected and set to work to ensure they could continue to enjoy seamless trips wherever possible. Our corporate travellers can always be secure in the knowledge that, whatever the circumstances, they have a me as a 1-1 contact but also a 24-hour support team behind me, to keep them moving onto their next meeting, or safely back home.
What’s more, it’s circumstances like this that highlight the issue of financial protection in travel. It can be a complicated issue, which we’ve made very simple by ensuring that all corporate travel bookings made with me – whether that’s flights, hotels, car hire or transfers – are 100% financially protected. It is our duty of care to look after every penny, just as we take pride in looking after every detail of our travellers’ itineraries.
This unrivalled level of protection also applies to flight-only bookings, which is a common type of corporate travel requirement that many other travel agents or travel management companies may not offer financial protection on.
What’s more, I take the time to do due diligence, nurturing close relationships with our travel suppliers and partners to ensure that the companies we work with on behalf of my corporate travellers share our aim to always have my clients’ best interests at heart.
For more information, feel free to give me a call on 0191 432 6570 and we can chat or meet up, to discuss your options.
You can connect with Lizzie across social media