I’m sure many of you have been there, every travel management company (TMC) claiming that they can provide you with the cheapest rates when you’re reviewing your business travel contract. But, in reality, rates can only differ so much between TMCs, so what else can you focus on to help make that all important decision?
Well the answer we most often hear is simple: The service. For many organisations, an outstanding level of service is one of the most important reasons for selecting a specific TMC. The problem is, how do you make an assessment of your TMC’s, or prospective TMC’s, quality of service? If your organisation has only ever experienced one TMC, you have nothing to compare it to. Well fear not, here are some of the key indicators of first class travel management service.
Having an account manager (AM) who’s actively looking after you will provide clear benefits to both your bottom line and your organisation’s experience of business travel. AMs should be securing preferred rates with suppliers in any of the locations that your travellers are frequently using. Furthermore, a proactive account manager will break down your management information data to provide recommendations that will enhance your overall travel strategy. Finally, using their expert knowledge, they will provide comprehensive review packs; these will consist of articulated recommendations based on trends and behavioral patterns that will help improve your organisation’s travel programme.
Easy to use online booking tool
Having access to a simple online booking tool will organically boost your online adoption rate. Booking the majority of your travel online will reduce the total amount your organisation incurs in transaction fees, as online booking transaction fees tend to be lower than offline ones.
Additionally, an easy to use online booking tool will help keep your bookers and travellers happy and productive, cutting down on time wasted trawling through multiple websites to find the cheapest option when booking travel.
Your TMC should provide you with traveller tracking technology that will help facilitate your duty of care obligation. In emergency circumstances, such as the recent Paris attacks, your TMC should be able to run a report immediately that clearly pin points any travellers in a given area. Should you have travellers in a danger zone, your TMC should inform your organisation’s travel team of the current situation, offering advice and guidance in what are often fast changing environments.
SLAs regularly monitored
During your travel contract negotiation stage, you might have agreed to certain measurable SLAs with a TMC, which is great… But are they being fulfilled? These are key indicators as to whether a TMC is delivering what they assured they could. Thus a first class TMC will firstly measure each target, and secondly, they will present this data to you during review meetings.
Provide you with the best rates available
At the start of this blog, we mentioned that every TMC will claim that they can provide the cheapest rates to your organisation, so when you have a TMC in place, how do you determine that you’re receiving the best available rates? A compelling indicator is where they’re aggregating their content from. To ensure that you’re receiving the cheapest rates, your TMC should not only be aggregating their content from the traditional Global Distribution Systems, but also pulling content in from other booking channels such as Laterooms.com & Booking.com.
Finding out theses rates will provide you with a telling overall picture of your TMC’s service credentials. If this percentage is high then you know your TMC is consistently delivering high levels of service. On the contrary, if this rate is low, you should be questioning exactly why it is. At the end of the day, few organisations would stay with a TMC if they’re not receiving excellent service!
Accreditations and awards
There are certain accreditations that help indicate a bona fide first class TMC. Ideally, your TMC should have accreditations such as ISO 27001, 9001 & 14001, having these will validate your TMC’s commitment to providing you with the highest possible service, through having demonstrably high standards and procedures in regards to environmental management, quality management and information security. Equally, what awards does your TMC have to show for its efforts? Whether they are industry specific or nationwide awards, if your TMC is able to demonstrate a number of key award wins, such external expert recognition should be a good indication of their standing.
So, if you’re looking to rate the service of your current TMC or are interested in the credentials of a prospective TMC, use the tips above to get a good idea of where you stand. Any TMC should be able to provide you with the above features with relative ease. If they can’t, then maybe it’s time to look for a TMC that really can provide you with a truly first class service.
To learn more about Click Travel, our technology, our people and why we are the Best Travel Management Company, have the Best Self-Booking Tool, have the Account Management Team of the Year and are the Business Travel Agency of the year, come and see us at the Business Travel Show on the 24th and 25th of February at Olympia in London.