Whenever a travel manager notices that travel program adoption is slipping, it can be helpful to remind travelers about the value that comes from booking reservations through their travel management partner. A nice way to frame that conversation is to point out the series of events that are triggered as soon as they log into their corporate online booking tool or contact a travel advisor at their Travel Management Company (TMC).
Having all of their traveler profile information in one spot and being able to book their air, car, and hotel at the same time simplifies and reduces the time travelers spend booking their travel. Think about the time travelers spend inputting their personal information and reviewing various itineraries and pricing on multiple websites when booking their air, car and hotel outside of approved booking channels. Best-in-class travel programs address process efficiency in the booking process, so limiting the amount of time travelers spend booking travel is a top priority. Inevitably, there will be travelers that contend it’s not cost efficient to pay a fee to book through the TMC’s online booking tool or with a corporate travel advisor. However, in actuality, the fee is quite nominal, for the following reasons.
Access to the TMC’s discounted rates, as well as those of the traveler’s company are big advantages of booking through the TMC. When travelers book on supplier sites and leisure travel sites, they aren’t getting access to those rates. In addition, when travelers book through the TMC, the TMC is keeping track of each booking through reporting mechanisms that tally up bookings with suppliers for which the company has contracts and must fulfill volume requirements. When it comes time to negotiate client contracts, the TMC needs to have record of the fulfilment of volume requirements, which increases leverage in negotiations with suppliers. When employees book outside of the TMC, those bookings are not recognized towards contract volume requirements.
Reservation quality control is another way that TMCs bring value to the employee booking process. Each time a reservation is made, TMCs utilize quality control technology to ensure that each reservation has been ticketed correctly, including ensuring that the traveler’s preferences (airline seat, room type, car) were booked. Furthermore, TMCs have the ability to automatically check if the air, car, and hotel rates that were initially booked by the traveler decrease in cost, and when that happens, rebook at the lower rate. It is a common practice for travel suppliers to adjust their pricing daily based on supply and demand factors. Being apprised of those price decreases and acting on them ensures your travelers always get the best price.
Once the reservation is made, the TMC is able to assist travelers 24/7 if they have issues with weather, cancellations, etc., as they control the passenger name record (PNR). Try getting that type of service directly with suppliers or from a leisure travel website.
Booking through the TMC also benefits a company’s finance department. The TMC is able to provide reporting and analytics on all reservations made through the TMC which brings visibility and insight to the company’s travel spend. These insights reveal cost savings opportunities associated with travel patterns, suppliers and traveler behaviors. Reservations made outside of the travel program are not captured in the reporting and analytics.
Finally, as soon as a reservation is booked with a TMC, they have the ability to engage travel risk management technology that can advise travelers when they have booked travel to a dangerous location and also alert them while they’re traveling if an event such as terrorism, extreme weather, or political unrest happens in their vicinity. The traveler’s company can also be given access to this travel risk management platform which allows them to be alerted when these extreme events happen and gives them a platform through which they can communicate with their travelers in times of travel emergencies.
Process efficiency, savings opportunities, traveler support, spend visibility and duty of care are just a few benefits of booking corporate travel reservations through a TMC. It’s quite clear that there’s a positive return on the investment of paying a nominal fee when utilizing the corporate online booking tool and/or corporate travel advisors. To get started with a corporate travel program, contact Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.