You’ve committed the time and cost resources to a formal tender process and so the pressure is on the gather all of the information you need to find the right travel management company for your organisation.
By this point you’ll know your fundamental travel management objectives, that inform your shortlist criteria, but here are 3 extra questions to ask your prospective TMCs to see who can go above and beyond, and really provide the cherry on top for your travel programme.
Are you able to provide a full VAT invoice for all UK hotels?
There will be a number of TMCs who can’t offer this, for a variety of reasons, so it’s best practice to check.
Some TMCs might say they will provide a VAT invoice where VAT is charged; the key question here is whether VAT is applicable to all hotel rates? And, if not, are the hotel rates 20% cheaper than others in which you can claim the 20% VAT back?
A TMC which is able to provide you with a full VAT breakdown on their invoices will make it so much easier for you to reclaim any VAT your organisation is eligible for – without the need for travellers to bring back the original hotel invoices and the time and cost associated with manually processing expense claims.
Are you able to provide full bill back of all travel types and are there any exclusions?
Aside from the benefits of having everything billed to an account in terms of VAT reclaim, there’s also the reduced time spent filing expense claims, processing them and then, for line managers, approving them.
Full billback also means that travellers are not out of pocket personally, which in turn means that there is much more chance they’ll want to book through your TMC rather than go rogue and book out of programme – avoiding all of the negatives this brings (diluted duty of care, MI, account management recommendations etc).
Do you offer NDC content?
NDC refers to direct connect technology, which challenges traditional methods of content distribution and threatens to transform how many TMCs operate. In instances where such suppliers have applied a booking fee to all bookings made through traditional channels, like the GDS, direct connect technology can enable customers to avoid that fee. Direct connects also offer the opportunity to potentially access lower fares and exclusive content such as lounge access, onboard meals or even class options.
An indirect, but important, benefit of using a TMC who has access to NDC content is that they are clearly willing to invest in their technology – something that will ensure that, as their customer, you can expect to have the most innovative, intuitive technology available to you.
Remember, if you don’t ask – you don’t get…