Tech + People = the perfect combo
Business travel has come a long way. So too has the technology used to manage it. And while technology has advanced at super speed, there is one aspect to business travel that hasn’t changed – the need for personal service.
Technology is only part of the business travel equation. The real value comes from being able to utilize your tech to its full capacity with help from the people power behind the scenes.
When it comes to SME business travel, having the human touch behind every click of a mouse is just as important as having the tools themselves.
As Microsoft AI explains in this latest advert, we have more power at our fingertips than any generation before us. But technology is only a tool, it’s what we do with it that matters. Let’s break it down in SME business travel speak...
1. Tech + People = a match made in heaven
When you partner with a new travel management company (TMC), you’ll want to check if their service model offers great technology, as well as personalized service. But, because tech is only part of the business travel equation, you’re going to need a TMC that’s capable of supporting your business with dedicated support for the rest of your travel program journey.
And it all starts with selecting and implementing that first piece of travel tech. Travelers and/or travel bookers will need to know how to use your online booking tool (OBT) and other corporate travel booking software. For a larger SME, this may take time and can be done in person or via Zoom calls. Whatever the format, your TMC or your dedicated Travel Consultant should be only a phone call, chat, or email away for travel support. This is important not only at the start of a relationship with your TMC but also on a day-to-day basis.
2. 1 x OBT + 1 x dedicated Travel Consultant = perfect service solution
A perfect example of how travel technology goes hand-in-hand to support business growth is when businesses adopt an online booking tool (OBT). When businesses hit a stage where they have loads of people traveling and not enough people in-house to manage travel – this is where an OBT comes in super handy. Businesses that adopt an OBT because of growing travel needs will save themselves time and money at all points of the travel management cycle.
Not only that but staying on top of traveler requests and preferences is a lot for one person to manage. A platform like Melon makes sure those preferences are saved and every time you book it learns what your team needs. Want that one hotel in New York each and every time you visit? No problem. Melon remembers.
Add in a dedicated and personal Travel Consultant who can support any offline or complex travel inquiries, monitor travel compliance and advise on difficult booking requests, and you have the perfect service solution for an expanding operation.
3. Make technology (and your TMC) do the dirty work
As your business grows, more people start traveling and using the OBT to make their own bookings, and maintaining policy compliance becomes even more important. And it’s not just for financial reasons that compliant bookings matter. Adhering to policy helps your business to manage travel risk.
The great news is, that a platform like Melon, is the perfect policy enforcer! Rather than making your own people act as the policy police, make your OBT do the dirty work for you. In the case of Melon, once you have designed a suitable travel policy for your business, you can incorporate your policy and approval processes within Melon.
As part of this, your Account Manager will work with you to -:
- Set spend limits and policy reminders that change with the world around you.
- Set personalized policies for different roles or people.
- Set manager notifications for approvals with custom exceptions.
And because your business is always supported by a real person at Corporate Traveler, any inquiries made offline (i.e., not through the OBT) can be dealt with by your Travel Consultant to keep travel compliant.
4. Help! I just want to talk to a real person
Emails, chatbots and virtual assistants all have their place in travel. But sometimes when an emergency strikes you just want to talk to a real person. Organizations with solid travel risk management plans in place, draw on great tech and personal support in equal measures.
These organizations usually have a risk management tool that does everything you’d expect a risk tool to do such as keep travelers informed with real-time updates on global events or disruptions, track travelers’ locations, send messages, run country risk assessments and provide a hub for all the relevant travel program info plus more. But these companies also have a dedicated travel manager or team on hand to call 24/7/365 days. And better yet, travelers can reach out to their Travel Consultant with the click of a button on any device, any time.
It's also the pre-trip personal advice that a Travel Consultant provides for travelers that counts.
A call to your Travel Consultant to see what COVID regulations or pre-trip paperwork is required before departure might be just what you needed to feel more comfortable about traveling again.
5. Add flavor to your reporting
Travel reporting is great for those finance experts who know what they're looking for, but without meaningful analysis of what the data means for your program, it can all turn beige quickly. Enter your Travel Consultant or Account Manager, who will not only run the key travel reports you need to make informed travel program decisions, but they’ll also add flavor to your reporting with expert commentary.
Having a pair of expert eyes analyze your data will help you to pinpoint where your business is performing well in terms of booking and buying travel, what you need to work on (such as non-compliant or last-minute bookings) and where you can make short and long-term savings. Nice!
Travel and travel technology are known enablers of business growth. But with the use of technology, there is also the need to have your technology well supported and backed by real people.
People who get where your business is going and are happy help you achieve your growth goals.
Looking for the right people + tech support so you can focus on your hustle? Let's chat!