What is a travel management company?
For large enterprises, travel expenses are one of the highest costs and are vulnerable to various frauds. With multiple pain areas to tackle and thousand details to smooth over, travel management often presents a storm in which finance teams get stuck. A travel management company can help you calm this storm by taking over the most tedious travel operations.
A travel management company or a TMC is an agency that helps modern businesses manage their travel processes. It does so by simplifying the process of travel bookings, detecting and introducing cost-saving measures, and supporting the organization and employees with every step in the travel process.
Why do you need a travel management company?
1. Travel planning is complicated
With the evolution of technology comes the evolution of needs. Travel technology has seen a lot of progress in recent years, but travel tracking and organization needs have become more complex with it. Today, corporate travel planning is a series of approval emails, phone calls, bookings, cancellations, negotiations, confirmations, and more.
These processes are tedious and often frustrating. A travel management company takes up all this work off your hands and makes the process seamless.
2. Better travel experience
Travel management companies enable you to optimize your company’s travel process and enhance your employees’ travel experience. They don’t just facilitate transport reservations but take care of all travel requirements from the commute to stay to meals.
3. More control over expenses
Using a travel management company doesn’t just enhance employee experience but also gives organizations more control over their employees’ travel expenditures. They increase visibility and reduce the risk of employee expense fraud by eliminating the manual reimbursement filing process.
4. Saves time
Travel planning takes a long time. What takes even longer are the on and post-trip travel procedures like expense report creation, expense filing, approvals, validations, and reimbursement processing. Using a TMC can help you minimize the time wasted on the above processes.
Making urgent travel arrangements yourself is an extremely expensive process. This is also where a travel management agency can help. You can also request travel agents to create travel plans with the quickest options if you have urgent travel needs.
5. More productive employees during business trips
The traditional travel management process follows the expense filing and reimbursement model. In this model, the employee covers the cost of flights, hotels, car rentals, etc., and later files them as expense claims.
This means the employees must constantly save receipts and document bills during the trip. It may cause distraction and take attention away from the job they were sent to do in the first place. Since a TMC handles the tedious and time-consuming travel planning parts, you get employees that are more productive, attentive, and focused on trips.
6. Improve the travel budget
Travel agents comprehensively know market rates, offers, deals, travel trends, etc. They are better suited for creating the company’s travel budget. TMCs can work with your admin team to create a realistic monthly travel budget for your organization based on known travel requirements.
Read also – A Guide to Corporate Travel Management
Travel management services provided by TMCs
Travel management companies execute end-to-end travel planning operations. Here are a few travel services that they offer.
- Hotel reservations
- Book flights
- Car rental
- Travel risk management and traveler safety
- Foreign exchange
- Passport and visa procurement
- Cost/expense management
- Company’s travel policy adherence
Travel management company responsibilities
1. End-to-end travel itinerary creation and management
Travel management companies help you plan every step in the itinerary. This takes the planning pressure off the administration’s shoulders and makes traveling less stressful for employees. Unlike the traditional self-planning and reimbursement system, the TMC controls the variables involved with travel.
2. Getting the right price
Travel management companies have a duty to find the most cost-effective travel options for your company. They do this by using their knowledge of the travel market and negotiation techniques.
3. Booking travel tickets
TMCs can best advise you about travel modes depending on urgency, employee designation, and nature of the trip. They can also get flight bookings for times that are comfortable for the employees.
4. Better accommodation options
Booking accommodation is risky as booking sites often have misleading images of hotel rooms. Travel management companies have associations with trusted hotels. These hotels are safe, clean, and often exactly what you expect from them.
5. Organize events and meetings
Organizing events and meetings in unknown cities or foreign places is challenging. Travel companies can help you organize business meetings. In the case of events, TMCs can help you book venues and other services like catering.
Read also – A Guide to Business Travel Management
Benefits of using a travel management company for business travel
1. Constant assistance
Managing multiple providers can cause many communication gaps and confusion during travel planning. The task of reaching out to multiple customer support teams and keeping track of all the communication is a difficult task.
A travel management company gives you a single point of contact for everything. Sometimes travel plans change overnight, and urgent changes need to be made. To tackle that, some TMCs also provide 24/7 assistance and let you get in touch with them any time of the day or night.
2. Increased efficiency
Travel management companies help you streamline your booking process. You do not have to research and choose from multiple providers, as your TMC will make those travel arrangements for you. All you need to do is tell the travel agents your requirements, and they will give you a comprehensive travel program.
A TMC will also serve as a one-stop solution for all your travel needs. You won’t have to constantly navigate between tabs or sift through lengthy spreadsheets as the TMC will handle the logistics. It will also allow your team to make arrangements for multiple employees simultaneously.
3. Help reduce travel spend
Travel management companies charge a subscription or one-off payment for their services. While, at first glance, this may seem like an added expenditure to the business, TMCs prove that they are worth the investment by saving considerable costs in the long run.
TMCs have connections to various providers and can offer unique discounts for multiple services. TMC officials also have the general know-how of making reservations precisely during periods and places that amount to the cheapest fares.
Moreover, in today’s minute-critical day and age, time is money. A travel management company takes most of the tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming processes out of your hands. It saves your employees all the time they would have spent organizing their trip, booking revisions, and filing travel expense reimbursements.
4. Advice and insights
Traveling to new places is challenging, especially for business purposes. Work-related travel asks for time management on the part of the employees and optimization of their professional productivity.
TMC professionals can help with that as they understand the ins and outs of the travel industry. They are the best people to advise you on how to spend the company’s money best, what the common dos and don’ts are for new destinations, what are the best routes to take during an intra-city commute, and what the general compliance required for national and international trips is.
5. Increase travel policy compliance
Compliance with travel regulations and policies is crucial for travel expense management. It ensures fairness in the process and safeguards both the organization and the employees.
Travel management companies can adapt your corporate travel policy into their system and ensure all the executing processes comply with it. This helps save a lot of time and valuable resources time for the organization.
Read also – 6 Steps to Better Travel Policy Compliance
6. Greater knowledge and visibility
Having an obscure travel process can cause many problems between the workforce and the management. Unclear travel processes can not only result in malpractices but also lead to conflicts.
TMCs can help minimize these risks by offering a completely transparent travel process. They decrease your finance team’s work by providing real-time reports of reservations and bookings.
TMCs also help you manage travel within strict budgets. TMCs may also offer travel trend analyses, empowering your team to make better decisions. TMCs also lets you access your employees’ travel itineraries and assist businesses with the duty of care.
How to find the best TMC for your business travel?
The level of savings through TMC depends on the service you choose. You must pick a travel management company that is compatible with your business’s needs. Consider the following factors before finalizing your travel agency.
1. Experienced travel agents
Experienced travel agents have the connections and knowledge to get your company the best deals on flights and hotel rooms. Before adopting a travel management company, ask about the experience level of their travel agents. Ask them what they can tell you about their existing clients and their experiences and if they can share testimonials.
2. Customer service
Customer service is one of the most helpful offerings of TMCs. They can make or break your travel planning experience. Before signing an agency up, ask them about their customer support hours. Ensure that they have all the relevant communication channels open and try to opt for services that offer 24/7 customer support.
3. Industry experience
Business travel is different for organizations from different industries. Most TMCs specialize in travel planning for specific industries. Ensure that the TMC you choose has experience planning travel for companies in your industry.
4. Budgetary considerations
Even if a TMC meets all the above requirements, you cannot avail of its services if you cannot afford them. Compute and specify the funds you have for a travel management company and shortlist TMCs on that basis.
Travel management company vs online travel agency
An online travel agency is an online booking tool where you can reserve flights, cars, hotels, etc., for your employees. They eliminate the middlemen and let you make deals directly with travel suppliers. They are a low-commitment alternative to a travel management company.
However, using an online travel agency is a self-contained process. You do not get assistance from an expert, while a travel management company offers intelligent support and takes care of the process almost entirely.
Hence, if your organization invests heavily in business trips, it is advisable to go with a travel management company.
Top corporate travel management platforms
Happay Travel is a modern-age travel management software and self-booking tool that enables end-to-end corporate travel management for large enterprises. It leverages the power of automation to save companies time and money.
Egencia is a travel management platform for modern businesses. It helps you optimize your corporate travel program through authorization workflows, advanced expense tracking, mobile app functionality, etc.
3. SAP Concur
SAP Concur is a holistic travel management solution for companies that want to optimize their travel costs. It offers various lucrative features and makes travel booking easier, faster, and more convenient.
ITILITE is a travel management solution popular with businesses for its easy booking and approval features. Its interface is user-friendly and easy to understand. ITILITE streamlines approvals, accelerates reimbursements, and increases your company’s policy compliance.
TravelPerk is an all-in-one travel management platform that can help you secure your business trips. This versatile platform offers the unique service of offsetting your carbon footprint. Use TravelPerk and book flights, hotels, cars, etc., at the best possible prices.
Read also – 10 Best Travel Management Software
Happay – End-to-end travel and expense management for your business
From boosting compliance to minimizing expense fraud, Happay can help you with your travel processes with its robust policy engine, fare protection, real-time information, reports, custom analysis, and more sophisticated features.
Happay has multiple TMC integrations with the best travel agencies to make business travel management easier and more seamless. They have integrations with FCM, MakeMyTrip, Riyad, Thomas Cook, and Nirvana.
Happay’s award-winning travel management solution is highly adaptable and integrates with your current TMC. . It is a cloud-ready architecture and a mobile app that you can access from anywhere.
You can combine the power of your travel management company and Happay to get a holistic, all-encompassing solution for all your travel needs. Schedule a demo with the Happay team to learn more about the platform and its many exciting features.
1. What are the main functions of a TMC?
A TMC facilitates all business travel functions like flight bookings, hotel reservations, event site booking, etc. The main function of a TMC is cost-control and cost-optimization. Travel agencies bring you the best deals on flights and hotels and help you save on business travel costs.
2. What are the characteristics of a travel management company?
Travel management companies are characterized by their ability to manage bookings, managing vendor relations, tracking and monitoring travel costs and managing travel spending.
3. How do travel management companies make money?
Travel management companies mainly make money through airline and hotel commissions.
4. What is TMC and its advantages?
TMCs manage all your travel-related bookings. The main advantage of using a TMC has increased savings, travel policy creation, travel policy compliance, saved time and effort, etc.
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