When you consider everything a corporate travel manager is responsible for, it’s quite an impressive list: travel policy, traveler support, travel spend reporting, supplier negotiations, travel booking, duty of care policy and much more. Since many travel managers are often “islands” at their companies without internal resources to support them, they often partner with a travel management company (TMC) and lean on their TMC Account Manager for guidance. After all, TMCs are supposed to be experts in all things travel. However, the level of support travel managers receive from their TMC Account Manager can vary drastically. What should you expect from your Account Manager?
First, look at your travel management agreement to find out what account management services were included. Are you receiving the services that were agreed upon? If not, speak up. At a minimum, you should be receiving the following three things from your TMC Account Manager:
- PROGRAM GOALS & STRATEGY
It’s important that your TMC Account Manager has worked with you to establish goals for your travel program and has devised a strategy for achieving them. In addition, reporting on progress toward achieving your goals is just as important. Those goals can be related to cost savings, implementing duty of care technology, increasing TMC adoption, or any other number of things. Goals bring into focus areas of your travel program that could jeopardize the overall optimization of your travel program if left unmanaged.
- ANNUAL TRAVEL POLICY AUDIT
Chances are good that each year changes in the travel industry will affect your travel program or that changes in your travel patterns could affect the efficacy of your travel policy. Those changes could represent opportunities or threats to your travel program depending on your response. For example, consider when airlines introduced basic economy fares. Without a change to your travel policy indicating that those fares were not to be booked by your travelers, you could have had employees booking basic economy, subsequently not being able to use the ticket, and losing that money. Numerous changes similar to this example happen every year. A good TMC Account Manager will be aware of changes taking place in the travel industry and advise you on the best response to take.
- DUTY OF CARE CONSULTATION
With the near universal acknowledgement that duty of care is a necessary component of every corporate travel program, it’s vitally important that your account manager has spoken to you about providing some level of duty of care for your travelers. Not addressing duty of care jeopardizes the safety of your travelers and opens up your company to potential liability issues. From simple traveler location reports to artificial intelligence-powered incident alert platforms, there’s a duty of care solution that’s right for your travel program. Have your account manager help you decide what level of coverage is right for you.
Of course, you should expect more than these three things from your TMC account manager, but this is a place to start. To learn more, contact Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.