8 critical questions to ask your travel management company
If your company is already working with a travel management company (TMC), then you’re probably aware of the type of services they offer. You might have a business card in the back of your desk or know you have a travel policy in place. But are you really getting the most out of your partnership?
You might be asking yourself these questions:
What added value is my company getting?
When was the last time we had a chat about the future of business travel and what that looked like for my company?
Now that travel is in full swing again, what should I be thinking about to make sure my company is making business travel count?
We’ve narrowed down 8 critical questions you should be asking your travel partner right now:
1. Who’s my Dedicated Travel Consultant or support agent?
When you have travel questions, need help with booking, or an emergency pops up, who is your dedicated Travel Consultant? If you don’t know the name of your Travel Consultant or don’t speak to the same person when you call, how can you be sure you’re getting quality service from someone you know and trust?
Your Travel Consultant should know you and your business. Every time your team calls for help, your consultant should know the ins and outs of your program, your policy, people, preferences and even your travel culture.
By having a Dedicated Travel Consultant, your business has one point of contact, one number, and one name and will receive personalized service every time you call. A great Travel Consultant will anticipate your needs and solve problems before they even show up.
2. Do you have service level agreements (SLAs)?
Does your TMC have minimum standards for hold times, ring times or turnaround times on all requests? Look for standards on non-transactional requests like reporting and issue resolution, too.
Making sure your TMC is giving your team professional, speedy service is crucial for keeping your travelers happy and fostering a positive travel culture within the company.
3. Who do I call for emergencies?
Some TMCs operate international call centres, but others have an in-house 24/7 emergency team of travel experts. This ensures your people are getting advice from travel pros that do what it takes to get you home quickly and safely in an emergency.
At Corporate Traveler, our team can easily access your company policy, risk management plan and utilize our relationships with airlines, hotel and ground transport suppliers when needed.
Having an after-hours team isn’t just a logistical lifesaver; it’s also a huge part of your travel risk management plan and helps you to meet your duty of care obligations.
4. Who do I talk to about reviewing my travel policy and program?
Is your travel program beginning to feel stale? Do you have a go-to contact to look for proactive solutions, and do you know them by name?
Every business that travels should have a travel policy in place and a program that can be reviewed regularly. You can’t wait for your team to run into tricky situations before solutions are in place. Before issues catch you off guard, find out if you currently have someone who can help you identify holes in your current program and places to bulk it up.
The travel industry is always changing. Prices fluctuate, suppliers change, there are new hotel developments, new partnerships, and technology shifts. These are all specifics that your TMC should be aware of. A customer success team helps keep you in the loop, helps boost savings and drives value for your travel program.
5. What does your current travel tech offer?
a) Does it save travelers and Travel Bookers time?
Ask your travel provider what features their travel booking tool has to cut back the time of making and managing bookings or pulling reports. Travel technology is seeing market-leading tools like Corporate Traveler’s Melon platform use artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce booking times dramatically.
Melon can make a standard booking in minutes, input traveler preferences, frequent flyer miles, and so much more.
b) Does it ensure policy-compliant bookings?
Does your travel tech ensure bookings are policy-compliant at every stage? Policy control is way less of an issue for everyone if the tool has an auto-policy selection. That way, travelers don’t need to choose the approved option.
c) When was the last time your travel booking tool or platform was updated with new functionality?
If it’s been a while since your TMC gave you the low-down on updates or enhancements to your travel platform, your business could be missing out on time and cost savings that top-notch tech and proactive service offer.
6. What other technology do you have to streamline my travel processes?
There’s more to managing travel than an online booking tool and an app. Find out if their tech offers the following:
- Tools that automate reconciliation.
- Flexible payment options.
- Visibility of your travel data through reports.
- Traveler tracking.
- Technology that has all of the above plus a booking tool all-in-one.
Once you have a birds-eye-view of what tools your TMC offers and how they integrate, it’s easier to narrow down which tools make your program seamless.
7. What added value can you offer me as a customer?
Not all TMCs are equal when it comes to adding value outside of transactions. Did you know that Corporate Traveler has the industry’s first partnership with Uber for Business, which helps clients better manage employee and customer travel on Uber?
Ask if your travel company has any special programs or extras for hotel stays (like late check-out, upgrades, restaurant vouchers or free laundry services).
Make sure your travel provider continues to bring value above and beyond their booking service.
8. How did you support your clients throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic?
If you were left high and dry by your TMC at the height of the coronavirus pandemic – this is even more reason to question travel support for your business.
While very few people were traveling during this period, it’s important to know your TMC has your back, especially during tough times. Keeping those communication lines open to offer info and advice should always be a priority for your business suppliers.
We believe these questions are crucial for effective travel programs that are efficient, cost-effective, and safe for your travelers. It’s time to put your business, travelers and bottom line first. Corporate Traveler does it right so that you can make your business travel count.
Ready to level up your travel program? Let’s go.