If your business is struggling with the cost of travel and the frustration of making travel arrangements, you're not alone! Business travel isn't as simple as grabbing a flight and hoping for a good deal. There are a number of factors that go into the process, and keeping up with them can be a serious struggle for many companies. By choosing a travel management company that's dedicated to producing great results for your business, you can decrease the cost of travel and make it easier on all of your employees. Learning what to look for in a travel management company will help you make a decision that will lead to a worthwhile partnership between you and your chosen company.
Best Practice #1: They Get to Know You
Businesses have different priorities when it comes to travel. For some, cost is everything: a too-expensive trip can ruin the annual budget or lead to the need to cut costs in another area. For other businesses, the actual cost of travel is negligible compared to the deals that they stand to make. They're looking for convenience for their employees: circumstances that will allow them to get as much work done as possible, maintaining productivity on the go. A good travel management company will work with you to be sure that they understand the unique needs of your company, ensuring that you'll get the travel results you want.
Best Practice #2: They'll Track Travel Risk
When your employees are traveling for business, you aren't just responsible for making sure that they get there and back safely. You're also responsible for providing for their safety and ensuring that they have a reasonable travel experience. For this reason, a great travel management company will help decrease travel risk for your employees, including:
Keeping an eye on potential geographic or weather-related threats in the area to ensure that employees aren't traveling in at the worst possible moment.
Tracking terrorist events and other problems in the area.
Noting safe hotels, transportation, routes, and other items of importance to business travelers.
Finding safe areas for employees who are traveling when disasters occur.
Rerouting employees as needed to help provide safer transportation around current disasters.
Your travel management shouldn't simply book the travel and be done. They should also help keep track of your employees while they're away from their home base, ensuring a safer experience for everyone involved.
Best Practice #3: They'll Track Convenience
Happy employees are more likely to be productive employees than those that are miserable for their entire trip. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to keep employees completely happy when they're out on the road, especially when they're traveling to places no one in the company has been before. A great travel management company, on the other hand, will have a wider range of experience with many of the places your employees are planning to go. They know which hotels are a great place to stay and which ones leave a bad taste in the mouths of their guests, not to mention how to guide your employees to appropriate restaurants, entertainment, and transportation throughout the area. Convenience is important for your employees when they're on the go, especially when they've got a big project to work on or need to stay productive while they travel--and your travel management company will help make that happen.
Best Practice #4: They'll Help Support Employees While They're Traveling
A flight was delayed, and your employee missed their connection as a result. Weather problems have led to airport shutdowns, and no one is getting out of the city tonight. When disaster strikes in the middle of business travel, it can be incredibly frustrating for both employees and employers. Your employees are ready to get back to their homes and families and unsure of what steps to take next; and you need your employees back as soon as possible! A great travel management company will be there to help smooth out these rough patches. Not only will they help predict weather emergencies that could cause travel difficulties and help keep your employees out of the middle of those messes, they'll provide support when unexpected disasters lead to travel problems. No matter where in the world your employees are or what time it is, they'll know they have the option to call in and receive the help they need to get back on track to their destinations.
Best Practice #5: They'll Use Technology Effectively
With all the apps currently available to travelers, your travel management company should never be behind the times! A great travel management company will bring all of your employees' travel data together in one easy location. Business travel is stressful enough without having to flip through websites, apps, or stacks of paperwork to keep track of what's happening next. Fortunately, your travel management company has taken care of all of those details, making it easy for employees to access relevant information and ensure that they're able to figure out everything they need to know.
Best Practice #6: They'll Offer Options
Just like your company has unique needs based on your specific requirements, your employees have their own unique travel considerations. You want a travel management company that will provide employees with appropriate options so that they can continue to feel in control of their own travel decisions, shaping travel in a way that will work more effectively for each of them. Those options, however, should always be within the realm of your company's travel policies so that employees can make their choices without stepping outside those important guidelines.
Choosing the right travel management company isn't simply a matter of finding someone who's able to handle going online and booking flights and hotels. You want a travel management company that will take it to the next level, paying attention to all the important details of travel for your company and your employees. By looking for these key best practices, you'll discover a better relationship with a travel management company that will make travel easier for you and all of your employees.