We take a look at the latest trends in corporate travel, plus consider what to look for when seeking external support and expertise for all business travel requirements.
What are travel bookers really looking for in a travel management company?
Simply put, travel management companies should help to make their clients lives easier.
Whether they’re hopping across the UK by train to catch a meeting or taking a long-haul flight to the USA for a business conference, clients, and particularly the people who book travel for their colleagues, need to know that every detail will be taken care of, and that their people will travel safely and seamlessly.
The use of mobile technology such as dedicated travel management apps that allow travelling clients instant access to all documentation, plus travel alerts via push notifications is an essential requirement to keep travellers on the move, as well as instant access to a ‘human’ expert if required.
What’s more, to truly take care of every detail, travel management companies need to nurture strong relationships with travel partners. It not only ensures seamless journeys for travelling clients, but close relationships with travel suppliers such as airlines and hotels offer a direct point of contact if things happen to go wrong along the way.
How important is round the clock support and how can this be provided in practice?
They say time is money, especially in business, and travel managers can play their part in ensuring business travel clients enjoy smooth travel experiences no matter the time zone.
A travel management company that has an international presence, for example, will be able to provide essential 24-hour support.
Why do face-to-face meetings still matter in the digital age?
Whilst video conferencing is becoming more and more prevalent, some business transactions still call for face-to-face communication.
On the same theme, a good travel management company will regularly meet their clients to understand their wants and needs, keep up-to-date with the latest company developments and ensure that the travel service they’re providing meets, and exceeds, all expectations.
In many cultures around the world few things build trust like a face-to-face meeting, and for travel bookers, being able to trust their travel manager to deliver their business travel requirements is essential. This ‘one point of contact’, concierge-style service is essential for ensuring smooth, enjoyable journeys and experiences for corporate travellers.
What’s the difference between a good travel management company and a great travel management company?
A great travel management company becomes a natural extension of the existing client business. Quite simply, they show they care on a daily basis, by building trusted relationships and consistently adding measurable value. It’s the personal touch that really sets companies apart – It could be 2am and a client is stuck at an airport half way across the world, but they’re only ever one phone call away from finding an alternative route home or a hotel bed for the night. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is, great travel management companies must show they care, be proactive, and anticipate any eventuality.
They must also care about their clients’ businesses as much as they do their own, taking on a consultant role to help work out the best ways to meet both their business travel needs and company budgets. As as a matter of course, a good travel management company should provide management insights, health and safety compliance, plus access to leisure travel services and MICE expertise, providing a comprehensive, full-service solution.
The use of AI (Artificial intelligence) will be increasingly used to support the booking journey and complement the service provided by travel managers. What’s more, its sensible to assume that there will be a continuing increase in leisure bookings from corporate clients, whether that’s increasing the length of stay to accommodate ‘Bleisure’ time, or booking holidays for regular business travel clients.
Travel Counsellors is a top 20 corporate travel management company in the UK. The company supports nearly half a million passengers a year, and supports its customers corporate and leisure travel itineraries from operations based in seven countries across the globe.