Corporate travel is essential when growing a company, putting your employees in front of the people and opportunities that can take your business to the next level. But without the right travel management solutions, arranging a business trip can become complex, time-consuming, and expensive (have you seen airfares and hotel rates lately?). When making this kind of time and money commitment, you want to get the most value out of your investment. That’s where the expertise and solutions of a travel management company – or TMC for short – can come into play.
What is a travel management company?
Quite simply, a TMC is a travel agency that provides businesses of all sizes with specialized management tools and services to effectively manage every aspect of their corporate travel needs – from facilitating travel bookings that comply with company policy to delivering essential duty of care support.
With its advanced technology, always-on traveler support, and strong supplier partnerships, a TMC can help your employees travel safely and efficiently. Meanwhile, its team of travel pros, skilled in designing best-in-class corporate travel programs, can help you optimize costs, craft a travel policy that aligns with company goals, and provide guidance on sustainability initiatives. When you have a TMC on your side, you can be confident that your business travel program is in capable hands.
Who should use the travel management services of a TMC?
Thinking about teaming up with a TMC but not sure if it’s a good fit for your company? Let’s be clear: If your business has employees on the road, you can benefit from such a partnership. Still uncertain? Here are a few clues that it’s the right time:
- You’ve lost sight of your organization’s total travel spend or are concerned about the impact of rising travel costs on the company’s bottom line.
- You need help developing a business travel policy to reel travel expenses back in and a change management strategy to drive compliance without a major uproar.
- The lack of travel risk management technology and systems to support travelers during a crisis is a source of anxiety.
- Your team is overwhelmed with other tasks to manage your company’s travel needs effectively.
What are the benefits of corporate travel management companies?
Companies of all shapes and sizes could gain a lot from partnering with a TMC. Specifically, it can help you to:
Create a streamlined booking process
With a travel management company, your employees can effortlessly build every component of their business trip, whether they opt to have the TMC’s travel agents pull it all together or utilize the online booking tool to assemble end-to-end itineraries in seconds. Either way, all your travel options – flights, hotels, car rentals, even ride-shares – can be booked seamlessly according to the corporate travel policy and employee preferences.
Cut your travel expenses
- Because of its extensive connections and negotiating expertise with travel providers, TMCs like American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) can obtain some of the best pricing on travel.
In fact, we have helped companies save $46 million on their itineraries within just a nine-month timespan. When selecting our special rates, you can score big savings too – up to 25% off airfares, 20% off car rentals, and a whopping 50% off hotel costs.
And with a TMC’s re-shopping technology that automatically rebooks flights and hotels when prices drop, you can be confident you won’t miss out on a savings opportunity.
Enhance the traveler experience
On top of amazing discounts, a TMC can offer additional perks that can deliver real dollar-and-cents value. Complimentary breakfast and high-speed internet, hotel, and vehicle upgrades when available – these are just some of the extras your employees could enjoy when booking certain corporate travel agency rates.
Promote traveler safety and boost duty of care
When travel plans unravel at the last minute and traveler wellbeing becomes a concern, a TMC’s comprehensive travel risk management services can serve as a crucial lifeline.
Dealing with a flight cancellation or delay? Aren’t we all these days? Fortunately, a TMC’s automated rebooking assistance and team of experienced travel agents offering 24/7 customer support can quickly get a business trip back on track.
And when the unexpected happens, its robust travel risk management technology can enable your organization to pinpoint and communicate with potentially affected travelers so that help can be quickly disseminated if necessary.
Craft a business travel policy
- Whether your organization lacks a formal corporate travel policy or has one that requires updating, a TMC can assist you with developing and honing guidelines in line with industry best practices and your business objectives. And once it’s all been created, a TMC can equip you with the tools and knowledge to drive travel policy compliance.
Keep travelers informed and connected
With the travel management company’s app providing real-time updates and notifications, your people can stay on top of key trip details, such as health and safety guidelines, flight cancellations, and gate changes. Through our travel app, travelers can do all that plus they’re just one click away from chatting with an agent who can assist with any part of their travel arrangements.
Provide travel data for smarter decisions
Trying to get a firm grasp on how much your organization spends on business travel? Want fresh ideas on how to save on travel costs? Most corporate travel agencies offer advanced data reporting tools that give you a complete view of your travel spend, spending patterns, and the actions that can drive better outcomes.
Streamline traveler expense reports
Many TMCs also provide expense management tools that make the reimbursement process quick and painless. Travelers can use their mobile devices to scan receipts and submit expense claims. Furthermore, when the platform is set up according to business rules and policies, it can automatically detect noncompliant, duplicate, and erroneous entries, reducing opportunities for employee fraud and mistakes.
By the way, did you know that Amex GBT has the only truly unified tool that combines travel and expense management? When you have travel bookings and expense management within the same platform, workflows become more efficient, data accuracy rises, and policy compliance grows.
What qualities to look for in a TMC?
Picking the right travel management company to be your partner is a decision of utmost importance. As you embark on your search, consider these essential traits to guide your selection process:
Exceptional service: Think about the kind of customer support you want employees to have when their flight has been canceled and they are stranded in a foreign city. Not only do you want prompt, personalized, and friendly traveler care but in some cases, a TMC that will go above and beyond to help get your employees back home safely.
A robust global network: Travel management companies with solid supplier relationships worldwide can generally drive the best deals and perks for travelers. A TMC with an extensive global network means your employees have tons of travel options to choose from.
Cutting-edge travel management software: To keep your employees happy, look for a TMC that offers innovative technology that incorporates artificial intelligence, prioritizes the user experience, and simplifies business travel and expense processes.
Flexibility and customization: Because one size does not fit all, companies should seek a TMC that can smoothly manage integrations with their preferred third-party providers and grow with you as your needs evolve.
A wealth of expertise and experience: You’ll want a knowledgeable partner that can share best practices – consummate pros with a proven track record that can guide you through the increasing complexities of this industry.
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a TMC you can trust to be a key player in supporting the goals of your travel program, your travelers, and the organization as a whole.
Amex GBT has been a leader in business travel management for more than 100 years. As the world’s leading TMC, it provides software and services to help companies of all sizes manage travel, expenses, and meetings and events.
Interested in learning more about our business travel solutions? Dive in!