The need for extensive corporate travel, both on a national and global level, has given rise to a logical amalgam of human service and technology in all fields associated with the organization of a tour. This has, in turn, helped national and global corporate travellers achieve better compliance with travel rules and regulations as and when applicable and also gain greater traveller satisfaction.
Work of corporate travel management companies
Travel management companies or TMCs are basically service providers that help facilitate hassle-free corporate travel by ensuring that:
- Trips conducted stay within the purview of travel policy of the corporate being catered to and
- There is 24 by 7 availability of support on-the-go to ease out any hitch in the corporate traveller’s itinerary.
While different TMCs might offer different travel bonuses, the basic offering related to corporate travel remains the same. These pertain to:
- Booking trips for concerned employees of an organization or corporation,
- Providing ample support in instances of changes in itinerary like rescheduling, cancellation etc.,
- Successfully negotiating fares and rates for both individual and group corporate travel.
Evolution of the TMC
There have been a lot of developments with regards to business travel management. While some of these are in sync with the developments happening in leisure travel management, others are specific to the needs and demands of corporate travel. This evolution of corporate travel pertains to:
- The need for having an easier and smoother compliance to the corporate travel policies currently in vogue,
- Cashless travel wherein all payments are facilitated through the corporate travel agency,
- Reporting all expenses incurred in due course of corporate travel,
- Automated expensing and MICE travel,
- Easy accessibility of hotel options and flight bookings globally,
- Need for greater autonomy and mobile optimization,
- Real-time corporate travel support and
- Enhanced user experience.
Ideally, when seeking out corporate booking solutions, corporates should look for those companies who are currently in the process of adapting themselves to or have already adopted these new changes taking place in the corporate travel sector globally.
Criteria for selection of a corporate travel company
Choosing and partnering with a corporate travel company can prove to be a challenge for most corporates. Some of the final deciding factors which need to be stressed upon when selecting a corporate travel company are:
- Booking experience: Flexibility in booking tickets is a mandatory requirement for the selection of corporate travel management companies. This would give corporate travellers the option to book for themselves if they want to while at the same time it would also enable administrators to book for others easily.
- Travel inventory should be consumer-grade: Corporate travellers need to have easy access to all flight carrier, hotel, car rental options etc. The use of low-cost carriers would also enable corporates to lower their travel expenses and should also be available as an option without having to use any consumer tool.
- Hidden costs: These can assume monstrous proportions, if not checked initially before signing on the MoU dotted line. Thus fee structure proposed by corporate travel agencies needs to be transparent and the breakdown of the fees should be clearly mentioned. Any financial clause which gives rise to ambiguity in the fee structure should be clarified and rewritten.
- Trip support: The volume of annual business that a corporate is generally predicted to provide to the corporate travel agency generally warrants the placement of a personalized live support system. Thus human travel support available round the clock throughout the year and in multiple languages makes for an ideal trip support solution. Reviews available on the internet can be a great source of information about the type and quality of live support offered by the corporate travel agency.
- Automated systems: This is where technology comes into play. The corporate travel agency should develop and use a built-in system which is able to
- Automatically incorporate individual travel policies for different corporates and
- Also facilitate approvals and permissions by sourcing them through proper channels.
The proper implementation of this is one of the best evolutions that corporate travel management has undergone for success in this area automatically ensures great traveller experiences.
- Reporting transparency: This is a mandatory requirement since the collation of data pertaining to the annual spending of a corporate gives them a fair idea of whether the travel funds are being used economically and logically. A travel company which does not have the right means to provide for travel spend reporting should never be considered as there will be no control over the total travel expenses incurred by the corporate.
- Innovation, easy adaptability and scalability: These are the three major requirements which help in the evolution of a corporate travel agency and keep them abreast with the technological advances taking place in their chosen fields. In fact, the concept of MICE solutions and the flexibility of corporate tour operators to adopt this new concept has provided for a win-win situation both for the corporate as well as the travel agency catering to its needs.
Ensuring that a corporate travel agency is future-ready and innovative makes it possible for the same to grow as its clients grow. This helps them to anticipate increased demands and cater to them in a way that ensures customer satisfaction thereby retaining the corporate customer for a long time.