Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
Taking on a new TMC can be a lengthy, complex and trying process. One aspect that can slow things down is making a decision on which ones are worthy of a second look.
In a blog post for Click Travel, Matt Roberts has outlined five things that will help you separate the good from bad when hiring a travel management company.
1. Unable to access travel data as and when suits you
For most organisations, having immediate access to their travel data is a must. What that means, essentially, is that as soon as any of your end users make a booking, you should be able to track that booking online.
This is a particularly useful facet, for example, when someone books out of policy you can know about it immediately and take any necessary steps before the journey takes place, thereby nipping the problem in the bud.
2. You can't meet your account manager in advance
Transparency is often a key characteristic travel managers want to see from their TMC, and one of the earliest chances to demonstrate this trait is to let potential customers meet the person who would be their account manager. It’s a great opportunity for you to get to know the individual who will be your key contact within your TMC, and any travel management company should see this as a great opportunity to make a good impression on you, their potential customer.
If they are not willing to let you meet your account manager before you sign up, you have to wonder why… Is it a sign they’re not confident in their account management team? Or perhaps that they are too busy to give you the service you require? Either way, it is not a positive sign and should be noted.
3. Their support services are overseas or provided by a 3rd party
For most travel managers, it’s important to know that their TMC is fully accessible and ready to help when you really need them. If you have a problem with, for example, your online booking tool and you’re struggling to make bookings, you want to be confident that you can speak directly to the people who can help you - not a 3rd party set up halfway across the world, who have no real empathy with your situation.
It’s worth making sure your potential TMC has a UK-based team that is ready to help at any time providing you with the confidence you need when it comes to looking after your business travel needs.
4. You have to pay to access your management information reports
As mentioned in point one, instant access to management information is an expectation of most organisations in the 21st century. But, in addition to ease of access, it’s also worth considering whether or not your potential TMC will be looking to charge you for that access. You may be impressed with the level of detail you can summon at the touch of a button, but that data should be included in your agreement with your TMC, not charged as an additional service.
5. They have no or little control of the technology they provide
In the modern world, every TMC will offer an online booking tool (see seven top tips for buying self-booking tools) which should provide you with easily accessible travel booking at your fingertips. If you do have any problems with the technology your TMC provides, ideally, you want to know not only that your TMC is able to advise you immediately, but that they are providing you with technology that they actually have the power to influence.
When it comes to online booking tools, some TMCs use systems provided by other organisations, meaning that, even if they are able to help with a particular problem, there is a fundamental limitation on the influence they can have on the technology. In practice, this may mean your TMC is unable to mould the technology your organisation will use every day to your specific needs. So make sure you’re satisfied that the systems you’re using can and will be optimised for your organisation.
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