To DIY or not to DIY?
That is the big question on the mind of travel managers who find themselves in the middle of a fast growing, fast moving and fast travelling organisation.
There are lots of things to consider when mulling over the big move to managed travel, and it’s easy to focus a lot of your attention on cost and fees, but what about other factors?
One thing that a TMC should be offering you, that a DIY approach to travel management certainly can’t, is a team of dedicated business travel consultants ready to support you 24/7. As a former Click Travel business travel consultant, sales support Rachael Foskett, explains just how valuable a team of experts can be to your travel strategy:
#1 Help in a crisis
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to experience a flight delay or cancellation, you’ll know that it’s absolutely no fun. Hours of queueing at the airport, the panic of trying to find a different flight or an alternative method of travel – it’s really not what you want to be spending your time doing. Or how about when you arrive at a hotel late at night to check in and they tell you they’ve made a mistake and double-booked your room?
Business travel consultants (BTCs) have seen, and dealt with, it all – flight delays; volcanoes erupting; adverse weather conditions; rail strikes; hotel issues; and sadly sometimes terrorist incidents. No matter what, a TMC’s business travel consultants will be there at any time of day or night to keep a cool head in a crisis and resolve it for you. Whether that’s booking you a new flight (and dealing with the airline that cancelled your flight, on your behalf); finding you a new hotel; or even looking at alternative method of travel for you (Eurostar, anyone?), they are there for you. When you speak to your BTC, you’re not just asking a person to book your travel on your behalf – you are actually booking with seamless efficiency and true peace of mind.
#2 Help with planning your travel itinerary
A BTC can offer you creative and inventive ways to reduce your travel costs. They know the market inside out, so they’re fully equipped with you the best product that will give you the best value for money.
BTCs have inside information that can really help save you time and money – like knowing when a flight price is likely to drop, and those quicker/cheaper routes that you may not have been aware of. They can also offer other money saving suggestions that may not have occured to you, such as travelling by rail instead of air; using a different airline or hotel; booking a cheaper, less flexible fare; or even combining trips into one journey. A BTC can check multiple suppliers and booking channels all at the same time for you, as opposed to a DIY booker spending hours trawling lots of different websites.
#3 Health and travel advice
The world is constantly changing and as a result overseas trips are becoming more complicated than ever before – there’s a lot to keep up with. However, travel is a BTC’s passion and so they’ve built up a huge knowledge base through years of experience dealing with all sorts of convoluted journeys, meaning they’re able to advise you on things that you may not have thought of, such as for which countries you need to renew your passport six months before it expires, or which vaccinations you’ll need to visit that country (and when you’ll need to get them). They can talk you through how to apply for a visa; and the cultures and customs in a specific destination. Will you have a couple of free days during your business trip? They can even recommend or help you find an interesting destination along the way – an opportunity for you to relax and see something unique.
#4 Negotiating with suppliers
We’ve all been there. Your meeting is all arranged; your hotel and travel is booked; your neighbour is on hand to feed the cat, and then all of a sudden you get that notification that your meeting has been cancelled. Luckily, BTCs know that this is life, and plans change. They have excellent relationships with suppliers, and use these relationships to negotiate on your behalf to try to reduce or waive cancellation charges and if necessary, amend the dates of the booking for you. A good BTC will be your advocate, so that if something goes wrong on your trip, they will go above and beyond – no matter who is at fault – to get it back on track for you.
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