The plane is on-time, everything is going as planned, then you get a phone call. Your traveler is stranded, doesn't speak the language, and is in a panic. If you have been wise and hired a travel management company then your problem is likely to be resolved in a timely manner and dealt with by professionals who handle this kind of thing all the time. Your travel management company has the resources and expertise to see you through any problem that arises from lost baggage to delayed flights and hotel mishaps. Here are the pros and cons of outsourcing travel management.
Benefits of Hiring the Pros
It's all in the details
Travel management companies are experts in the travel industry. They are familiar with every aspect of travel from booking, currency, local laws, etiquette, and troubleshooting problems. Not only can they make reservations for your travel without a hitch, but they also focus on the management of your travel policies from better efficiency to cost-saving initiatives. Traveling abroad can be complicated: customs and cultures can be very different than what we see in the U.S. Having an expert in your corner only makes your experiences with travel easier and even safer.
When problems arise you will have someone in your corner to handle the hiccups that are likely to happen. Travel management companies have someone available 24 hours a day for any situation that comes up. Their staff is trained and knowledgeable in everything travel. The most important benefit you will get is peace of mind. Do you want to be stuck dealing with a nightmare situation with someone in a foreign country? Or you can have it dealt with by a seasoned professional.
Let's say you have a group of travelers that are going to China for a training conference. Your agent is going to be able to book everyone together so that there are no snags in the trip. They handle the flights, the lodging, and the in-country transportation for all travelers. If you decide to do this yourself you may encounter problems with coordinating arrival times, limited space on flights or in hotels, and getting everyone to their destination on-time. There are time zone differences, cultural considerations, and regulations and laws that need to be considered when booking travel. Managing the details is one thing your travel management company is going to do well. There are many aspects of travel, because of the different customs around the globe that can be overlooked if you take this task upon yourself.
The other thing that travel management companies do is to help your business with your travel policies. Travel management companies or TMCs are not just travel agencies, they are more than that. TMCs help you with developing guidelines and documents that your company will need to use on a regular basis. Policies can be directed at spending limits, which hotels are approved for lodging, and everything related to a trip that needs to be decided on. There are many details to consider and you will save time and resources by outsourcing this service for your organization. TMCs do more than book travel, they help you become more efficient and save money with your T&E budget.
Perhaps you are a new company or you decide to revise your travel strategies to save money and improve profits. Your TCM is going to analyze your T&E budget and identify areas for improvement. Are your employees spending too much company money while out of town? Are their hotel experiences not good enough or overindulgent? In what ways can your policies be revised to help your bottom line? TMCs work with you to develop strategies that are effective and can make travel more efficient and safer for your employees.
The Cons of Using a Travel Management Company
The main thing that people object to with hiring a travel management company is the additional costs. The truth is that yes, you will be paying for their services, but you have to weigh in on whether this service is worth it to your company. If you do a lot of travel, and your travel manager is getting overwhelmed and bogged down, you may want to consider a TMC. If you need better and more streamlined company policies regarding travel, a TMC is a good place to start. The service may be of great value to you even if it costs a little more. In fact, most organizations save money as a result of using a TMC. Travel Management Companies have access to better prices and discounts which are then passed along to you. In addition, TMCs look for specific ways to save you money on travel and improving your T&E spending. Better prices and better efficiency improve your bottom line.
Another thing to consider is if outsourcing travel is right for you. If you like handling all the details yourself and not having anyone step in, then more power to you. However, the travel industry is continually evolving. When laws in a foreign country change, or the protocols at customs are revised, do you have the time to stay on top of it all? Your TMC has expertise in this, and are in the know when it comes to a dynamic and complicated industry. You may want to outsource your travel management if you don't have the necessary time to stay on top of the changing world of international travel. Even if you travel domestically only, with complex scheduling and the unpredictable nature of travel, it could be in your best interest to hire the professionals.
The Full Picture
It's time to evaluate your company's needs when it comes to travel for your employees. Are you experiencing problems with compliance or getting all the details nailed down? Are people complaining that their flight was cancelled and they had to spend the night in the connection city, costing you money and them time? Perhaps you want to become better at not only managing all the components of travel, but also evaluating your financial reports so that you are not wasting money when it's not necessary. Travel management companies work with you individually to improve the functioning of employee travel.
The travel industry is complex in ways you have not even considered. If you want to make sure that your employees are comfortable while out of the country, that they are not missing important meetings or showing up late, or that there are no potentially unsafe and severe situations that arise, a travel management company is for you. For example, did you know that chewing gum is illegal in Singapore? If you are not prepared, problems will undoubtedly arise. Evaluate your company's travel needs and decide today if a travel management company could help you.