At some point every business with international operations will face a dilemma. “Do I continue to manage corporate travel and expenses internally or do I entrust it to a travel management company (TMC)?”
You might think that in this technology-driven world, with personal travel booking and travel management apps a common feature on many smartphones, that handling corporate travel might not be too much of a stretch.
The reality is that corporate travel has the potential to be a significant drain on a businesses resources. Time, money, careful planning, expenses, reports, security, VISAs…that’s a lot of considerations.
This is where investing in a TMC can be hugely beneficial. Whether it’s a manufacturing business or law firm, there are many ways a quality TMC can help ease corporate travel by simplifying the process, cutting administration time and reducing costs.
TMC PARTNERSHIPS (aka cheaper fares)
One of the most immediately impactful benefits of working with a TMC is having access to the broad network of connections that their account managers have within the air, hotel and rail industries . This, combined with the innovative technology that gives a TMC access to global air fares, means that even a UK-based TMC like Gray Dawes Travel will always get you the cheapest flight and travel options.
Imagine you’re a business traveller. You’ve flown from the UK to the USA and gone to check in to your hotel and been told a payment hasn’t been made. With limiting 9 – 5 hours, the UK office is closed, so who do you call? If you work with a TMC like Gray Dawes Travel, all you have to do is call the 24/7 support desk – no matter the time zone or where you are in the world, you can get the issue resolved straight away.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
An account manager will get to know your business objectives and tailor your travel solution to suit your KPIs. Whether you need to reduce spend, tighten adherence to travel policy or streamline invoicing, your account manager will shape a travel solution that’s right for you. What’s more, Gray Dawes Travel uniquely offer a managed service combined with an online booking tool. This means your business can benefit from the invaluable insights and personal touch the account managers bring, with the independence of an innovative online booking tool.
TRAVEL POLICY COMPLIANCE & SUPPORT
Travel policies can be tricky, and this is because of the amount of ‘grey areas’ that can come into play with corporate travel. It is very rarely the case that a travel policy can say, ‘You can only do A, but you must never do B’, and still work effectively. Flights can get cancelled, bags can get lost, rental cars can get upgraded. A quality TMC will only provide you with travel plans that are compliant with any existing travel policy your business already has.
This is generally thanks to your account manager who can liaise with key departments within your business, such as HR or finance departments. By analysing booking trends and assisting with duty of care, as well as improving travel policy compliance, they can make recommendations on what to improve and where to save costs inline with your travel policy.
Travelling for work often means that you’ve got a very tight schedule of meetings and places you need to be. This often doesn’t leave a lot of time for juggling travel documents and planning flights or other forms of travel (particularly if something is delayed or cancelled).
Working with a TMC means you get documented itineraries (no matter how complex) and organisation of your key travel documents so all you need to do is make sure you get to the airport on time…and a travel management company can actually help you do that as well.
TRAVEL EXPENDITURE & EXPENSES
Although leaving travel booking to staff might seem like a more streamlined approach, it ultimately means that reporting on booking patterns, travel policy compliance or expenditure can be extremely difficult. This can be a big drain on a business’ resources, and one that few can afford – particularly if it makes corporate travel more expensive that it needs to be.
A TMC can use bespoke technology to provide business owners or travel managers with complete transparency over booking and travel expenditure for staff. These can include online booking and expense tracking tools, like those provided by us. For you this means a much more complete picture of how cost effective corporate travel is for your business.
MORE TIME WITH YOUR BUSINESS
Whether you’re a business owner or a PA, it’s really important that you spend your time doing what you do best. Trawling through search engines results looking for the cheapest flights and suitable hotels can sometimes be a distraction from this. When corporate travel is handled through a TMC it means you get more time with your business and can focus more energy on the things that are really going make a difference.
DEDICATED TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY
Corporate travel can be a lot simpler with the right technology at your fingertips. This is why a quality TMC will be able to provide you with technology to help with booking travel as well as a live view of travelling employees and upcoming trips.
Having an online booking tool with TMC’s negotiated lower rates already built in means that you can give your travel bookers the independence to book their own trips, send for approval and manage their own itineraries. What’s more, the travellers will only be able to see flight and hotel options which meet your travel policy criteria, helping you to get a cost effective, secure and efficient way of managing the cost of business travel, as well as the safety of the people on the move.
This goes without saying, but when you start working with a TMC their expertise counts for a lot. Not only can they get access to better prices with airlines and other travel providers, but their industry experience can also be tremendously valuable. For example, a travel management company that specialises in the legal sector or professional services can provide specific advice to these types of businesses with detailed knowledge of best practice.
This can help further streamline the process of business travel, and can even help reduce costs as they can provide additional insights around optimising travel policies. For example, if an account manager analysing your activity notices a trend in booking a particular hotel chain, they can negotiate a better rate on your behalf.
There’s a lot of compliance involved in corporate travel and a TMC can provide valuable help ensuring that your business is compliant and that your staff are safe. A reputable travel management company will also have access to emergency communication tools and risk management information, as well as technology that can track the location of employees.
And there you have it; 10 reasons why working with a travel management company can reduce administration time, saving your business money and simplifying the whole process. If you think your business might benefit from any of the reasons listed here, get in touch with Gray Dawes Travel today to speak to one of our expert Travel Thinkers today.
McKinsey & Company, the world-renowned management consultancy, often produce brilliant analysis on travel and their latest report on how companies should be planning for the comeback of corporate travel is no exception. Our own head of Gray Dawes Consulting, Aman Pourkarimi, has studied the report (so you don’t have to) and below presents the key learnings along with his own recommendations for UK businesses.
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At the heart of everything we do are our people. We don’t just mean just our employees, but our clients and suppliers too.
At Gray Dawes Group we strive to create an environment which recognises and nurtures a healthy work/life balance – for our staff and clients alike.
By providing our customers with better travel management, they’re able to achieve what they need to by working flexibly, whether in the office, at home or around the globe.