Overseeing itineraries. Processing expense reports. Addressing travelers’ queries. Answering to stakeholders. Sending compliance reminders. Identifying new cost-saving measures. Ensuring duty of care obligations are fulfilled. A travel manager’s (TM) job never seems to be done. But that’s why you shouldn’t have to do it all on your own.
If the hairpulling, nail-biting and teeth-grinding aren’t proof enough, below are more signs it may be time to send an SOS to a travel management company (TMC) and get additional backup.
1. You don’t have a travel policy in place and it’s costing you big time
The company’s paying and there are no written guidelines limiting what your employees can spend on travel? Essentially, you’re giving them carte blanche to book five-star hotels and first class airline seats. And even those who might not take advantage may be oblivious to how certain behaviors are costing the company, like booking flights at the last minute or with non-preferred vendors.
Having a written policy in place doesn’t just help to gain control of spend — it’s also a way to proactively save and can support other objectives, like traveler satisfaction and duty of care.
Need help creating a policy? A TMC like American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) can work with you to create a policy that fits with your budget and specific goals — whether that is reducing overall travel spend, improving the traveler experience, creating more streamlined processes or all of the above.
2. You know you could be getting better deals on hotel, air and rental car
One of the most effective cost-savings methods for business travel is negotiating special rates and benefits with vendors in exchange for sending a certain volume of business their way. However, it can be arduous to implement — all that collecting and analyzing of data to find the right vendors, developing the partnerships, making the deals and then getting travelers to cooperate and book with those preferred suppliers.
To make it much simpler, why not leverage the industry connections a TMC already has? American Express GBT has well-established relationships with air carriers across the globe, 500,000 overnight stay options worldwide, eight major car rental agencies, plus special perks from top suppliers.
And when travelers use American Express GBT’s booking tools, the negotiated rates automatically will be loaded into the system.
3. Your employees are not booking within policy — or worse, you haven’t got a clue
As stated above, a well-managed travel program relies on the discounts that have been negotiated with preferred suppliers. But if your business travelers book directly through the airlines or hotels’ websites, it won’t be calculated toward the total spend you’re driving to your vendors. When travelers book via a TMC’s corporate online booking tool, however, not only can you assure they are booking with the right vendors, but critical data, such as trip itinerary and expenses, also are captured in one spot, making it easier to fulfill your other TM tasks.
American Express GBT also offers two tools to aid with the approval and compliance process: EXPERT APPROVAL, a pre-trip tool that gives TMs the power to determine if a trip is necessary or not before travelers can proceed with bookings, and EXPERT AUDITOR, which helps to ensure travelers are following your travel policy’s rules when arranging their itinerary and sends them and TMs a heads-up when they are not being compliant.
4. You’re worried your travel risk management plan isn’t going to cut it when a crisis hits — or you don’t even have one yet
If you are not part of a large multinational company with 24/7 security teams, you may have had a few sleepless nights worrying about how you and your colleagues will respond if some sort of crisis impacts your traveler. A TMC can review (or help create) your travel risk management program to ensure you’re equipped to handle all kinds of emergencies and all bases are covered.
American Express GBT also has tools to assist clients during an emergency situation, such as EXPERT CARE, which allows you to pinpoint travelers who possibly have been impacted by a crisis situation and then communicate with them via text, email or mobile application.
In the meantime, check out this article on how to develop and enhance a TRM plan.
5. The company stakeholders are putting pressure on you to cut costs without cutting travel
While employing the services of a TMC may be another line on your expense report that you’ll need to explain, the amount you can save by using one will more than justify it. From booking tools to help crank up compliance (and thus reap the discounts negotiated with suppliers) to hotel and air reshopping services that automatically will rebook a reservation when a better rate is found to not letting unused air tickets go to waste, you can save a bundle — all without any additional effort on your part.
6. You want to make better-informed decisions but don’t have access to the right tools
Whether it’s to find additional cost-savings opportunities, boost traveler satisfaction or discover who is and isn’t complying with company rules, all the information you ever need is out there — you just need the right tools to consolidate and crunch the data.
PREMIER INSIGHTS from American Express GBT is a single-source analytics tool that can crunch data based on nearly 170 KPIs across more than 70 dashboards. You can analyze what-if scenarios, compare your program against peers, get a holistic view of your spend and so much more.
A simple-to-use data visualization tool, it also has all your travel and card spend data in one place, giving you full visibility into your travelers’ actions and transactions.
For even more ideas on how to use PREMIER INSIGHTS to optimize your travel program, click here.