After the storm of procuring a new travel supplier has passed, many organisations prepare for the calm that their new travel management company (TMC) will bring and while that’s how things would work in an ideal world, the real world still has one more cloudy sky for you to see off – and it comes in the form of communicating the implementation of your new TMC across your entire organisation.
Successfully implementing the service of a TMC largely relies on communicating the change across the organisation so that everyone is kept up to speed with changes as they happen, rather than finding out after the fact. However, this is often easier said than done and is why many procurement departments and travel managers find it so challenging to get things off the ground with minimal resistance from travellers and bookers.
Having a communication plan in place ahead of the implementation stage beginning will really support the process and provide some structure to what can sometimes feel like a slightly uncertain period of time. You can significantly support your implementation by building in some of these best practice communication ideas:
Engage all areas of the organisation
Making sure that all departments within your organisation are kept up to speed with the implementation of your new TMC is of paramount importance when drafting a communication plan. Consider how each department will be affected by the change and how best to communicate developments to them – can information be shared by departmental managers, or is it best to hold meetings/forums? Subsidiary companies, finance departments or non-HQ offices are often overlooked, so be sure to include them in company wide communications.
Visit your TMC
Paying a visit to your new TMC’s office is a great way to kick off the implementation process. Not only does it provide a chance for the key stakeholders in your organisation to meet the people that they will be working with in the future, but it also gives them a chance to understand the culture and environment of your supplier. This means that they will better understand why this TMC in particular was chosen above others, which could lead to less resistance and friction in the future.
It’s often the case that those heading up the implementation process are faced with the same questions over and over again simply due to the sheer size of an organisation, so with this in mind why not create an FAQ document that can be shared company wide? This will save key stakeholders the need to repeat themselves and will ensure that everyone in the organisation has access to relevant information as and when they need it throughout the implementation process.
Develop subject experts
There is a lot to take on board during the implementation process and so sharing the load when it comes to knowledge of new systems and processes is a smart move. Assemble your key stakeholders and designate ‘subject experts’, making that subject relevant to the person’s involvement with your new TMC; for example, asking a member of your finance team to become an expert in your new TMC’s invoice and billing system. Communicating who the experts are and the areas in which they specialise across your organisation will really help to streamline the process and steer any questions in the right direction.
Keeping your organisation as informed as possible about the de-implementation process of your incumbent supplier is equally as important as keeping them informed about changes relating to your new supplier. It can be a confusing time and wires can easily get crossed, creating awkward situations, which is why it’s worth ensuring that guidelines and timeframes that relate to support that will be provided/required beyond the transition date are made easily available to those who need them.
Ask for help
Your TMC will have a wealth of experience when it comes to guiding organisations through the tricky implementation stage and so don’t be shy in asking for their help and advice. Save yourself time and try not to reinvent the wheel. Agree a communications plan with your TMC and ask for example documents and recommended timeframes from them that you can use and adapt to suit your business.