It’s unlikely that deciding on whether to implement an internal travel team or not was high on Hamlet’s list of priorities, but it’s a question that we’re asked often at Click.

Despite the significant advances that have been made with business travel technology, making online booking easier and more accessible for most travellers, internal travel teams aren’t quite a thing of the past – and nor should they be.

For some organisations, implementing an internal travel team alongside a travel management company (TMC) makes sense; it can lead to a more efficient way of working, creates a centre of knowledge, provides a central point of contact for travellers and TMC alike and prevents individual travellers from losing their time to booking and business travel-related admin. However, others are happy to enable their travellers to self-book and so there really is no use for a specially assembled travel team.

Your organisation’s unique culture will play a huge part in deciding which booking strategy is the right one, so here’s some best practice advice on how to decide whether an internal travel team is right for your organisation:

4 reasons to have a central booking team

Great control…
If having real control over how your organisation travels is important to key stakeholders then implementing an internal travel team is the best way to get it, as having a centralised team reporting into one person responsible for travel is the most direct way to ensure consistency of corporate travel policy application and bookings.

A streamlined process…
Seeing as all business travel must be booked by one central team, it’s only members of that team who must learn how to use any online booking tools or understand the relevant booking processes, so the productivity of other teams in your organisation is uninterrupted.

Your own team of experts…
Central travel teams get rather good at arranging travel! If you have a team that can focus their efforts on booking travel all day, the chances are they are going to become experts very quickly. In turn, this means that they can spot the good deals and tips and tricks, like split ticketing, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

They will keep your TMC on their toes!
With an internal team of experts within your organisation, you’ll soon be able to spot if your TMC is, heaven forbid, pulling the wool over your eyes. Whether it’s exorbitant mark-ups on flights or pushing preferred hotels which don’t really suit your requirements, nothing will get past your ninja-like travel team.

On the flip side, here are our…

4 reasons not to have a central booking team:

You don’t really need it…
If you use a TMC then booking travel should be so simple and straightforward that even your busiest executive can do it themselves. If it’s not, perhaps it’s time to see what other TMCs can offer you; look out for features such as the ability to build your travel policy into an online booking tool, preventing the need for a ‘middle layer’ of administration.

It’s expensive…
The salary and ongoing costs of implementing a central booking team can be completely avoided by implementing an online booking tool and rolling out travel booking to all travellers instead. Some of our customers have adopted this approach and have saved a department’s worth of overheads; they’ve then redeployed those employees on to other more pressing tasks.

Compliance can be improved with automation…
Despite best intentions, all members of your travel team can be ‘corrupted’ by other employees who can talk them into making bookings which, strictly speaking, shouldn’t be allowed by your organisation’s travel policy. A corporate travel policy built into an online booking tool can’t be biased, tricked or bribed into breaking the rules, and so automating the process should improve leakage.

It’s more streamlined and cuts out the middleman…
If you can book it online, your travellers can do it too. If you can’t book it online, you call the TMC; your travellers can do this too! A central booking team can just get in the middle of that process and slow it down by having to relay information from one to another; it’s much simpler to let the traveller and the expert speak directly.

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About the Author:

Alice is Click Travel’s Content Coordinator and is responsible for all of our digital and print content, packaging up and presenting the wealth of expertise at Click in a way that works for you.