Choosing a travel management company is a big step for a business. You want to be sure that you select a travel management company that will meet all of your business's needs. As you're searching for a travel management partner, make sure that you take these key factors into consideration.
Factor #1: Clear Data Reporting
It's critical to know what travelers are spending when they're out on company time. You want to know where the money is being spent, what it's being spent on, and who is doing the spending. Ideally, you want a travel management partner with a system that will increase visibility, making it easier to see exactly what your employees are spending. This data should then be used to negotiate more prices for future travel, decreasing overall company expenses.
Factor #2: Easy Travel Arrangements
You're looking for a travel management company that will make travel arrangements simple for your employees, not one that will leave you struggling to navigate the paperwork associated with travel. Take into consideration the type of online booking options, which will allow you to send your employees straight to one easy location. Having a simple process that benefits your employees is key when implementing a new booking system.
Factor #3: Supports Your Company Travel Goals
Take the time to survey your employees, especially the ones who travel on a regular basis. You don't want to create a travel management solution that no one uses. Ask those employees what they want most from their travel management partner. This may include flexibility in their travel arrangements, a company that makes planning travel easier, or support when they travel to help prevent potential issues while they're on the road.
Factor #4: Fits With Your Company Culture
You've put a lot of effort into building a solid company culture: an environment where your employees feel supported and know that they're important. You need a travel management partner that will support your overall company culture and fit in with your existing plans for your company. While your travel management policies may shift to include your new travel management partner, you want a partner that will stand alongside your company, not one that will cause problems for your employees.
Factor #5: Has the Tools When Something Goes Wrong
Who should your employees call if things go wrong while they're working out of town? From a flight that's been rescheduled or canceled to natural disasters or terrorism in the area, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when your employees are traveling. Your employees need to know that they will be supported through that process, especially if things go badly out of control.
You want a travel management partner that will be available to employees 24/7 and will provide them with the support they need no matter what goes wrong. Having a specialty in Duty of Care for your employees will help keep your employees safer when they're out on the road—ensuring that they always have a point of contact they can trust in an emergency.
Factor #6: Handles the Details
There are a lot of little details that go into corporate travel and you want a travel management company that will provide your employees with all of the important details, freeing them up to focus on your clients. Look for a partner that will handle things like:
Booking event or entertainment tickets, whether for your employees or for your employees and your clients
Making restaurant reservations
Arranging for ground travel once they arrive at their destination, whether that means making sure that a cab will be waiting for them or that there will be a rental car on hand
Identifying attractions and activities that are of interest to your employees
Factor #7: Knows Your Preferences and Handles Your Kind of Travel
What suppliers do you prefer to book with? Do you have an arrangement that will allow you to get a better deal with a specific service provider, like a hotel or airline? Do you get rewards points for certain services? More importantly, are there specific providers that have been known to provide better services for your employees?
You want a travel management company that will get to know your preferences and take them into consideration when they're booking travel for your employees. They should also cover the areas where you'll plan to travel. Be sure that you're looking at a travel management provider that can handle your kind of travel. You don't want a travel management company whose duties stop when you cross international borders, especially if your employees travel out of the country on a regular basis. Make sure that your travel management company will:
Handle both ground transportation and flight scheduling
Take care of both international and domestic travel arrangements
Accommodate special requests for ground travel, from limousines to luxury rental vehicles
Takes care of any necessary travel once employees arrive at their destinations
Factor #8: Provides a Clear Outline of What to Expect
Your service-level agreement should provide a clear outline of what to expect when you're dealing with your travel management company. How long do they have to respond when you contact them? What are your expectations, and what are the penalties if the company fails to follow through? This outline will help you better understand what to expect any time you book travel arrangements.
Factor #9: Goes Beyond Travel
There are plenty of times when employee travel is about more than just heading off to a different destination to meet with clients. You may also find that you need to coordinate receptions and events in cities that are unfamiliar to your employees. Take a look at the travel management company you're considering. Do they have the resources to help coordinate events, receptions, and parties? Will they provide you with adequate support throughout the process, whether that means recommending a provider or offering to coordinate those services themselves?
Factor #10: Has a Strong Management Team
Your travel management company needs a strong management team that will help identify the opportunities within a company and produces actionable results. You want a company that will partner with your business and provides you with a better understanding of how you can save money on your travel arrangements.
Choosing a travel management company is a big decision. Make sure that you select the right one for your business by carefully considering these important factors before you move forward with your decision. You want a travel management company that will fit with your company culture, stay within the confines of your budget, and provide the services that you want most for your employees.
Take the stress out of travel management by choosing a travel management partner that will make employees' lives easier when they're on the road.