Do your business travelers research and book their own trips? How much time does this take out of their day? What is the cost?
Moving to a designated travel management company (TMC) could save your company time and money, but first you have to get your boss on board. How do you convince him or her that a TMC is the right move for your team?
Key areas that are important to your boss
1. Processes and data collection
Standardized processes enable organizations to increase efficiency and minimize cost. This means collecting data, such as frequently used hotels or airline routes, in a consistent fashion which can be analyzed to identify further opportunities.
2. Duty of care
Companies should take steps to limit their employees’ exposure to risk. To do this, it is helpful to have systems in place that let you know where your travelers are scheduled to be and to have back office processes in place so that you can react appropriately if/when needed.
3. Traveler value
Traveler recognition gives priority for rebooking in the event of travel disruption which can happen for many unpredictable reasons, e.g. volcanic disruptions or public disorder, as well as delivering benefits such as free WiFi and lounge access.
Using a TMC means being able to take advantage of lower rates and fares on offer. For example, if you spend a lot of money with particular suppliers, a TMC can help you negotiate a preferential corporate rate.
5. Content and time
Finding the right flight or hotel at the best price can be very time-consuming for individual travelers and can cost you in work productivity. A good TMC can not only offer a very wide range of content at competitive prices but it can target this to gain bigger discounts for delivering bigger market share to a supplier.
Flight been cancelled? Hours of delays? Missed connection? What do you do? Office hours are generally 9-5 but not for travel bookers who are on the job 24 hours a day via a TMC. No matter the issue, no matter the time or day, a traveler will be able to bypass the normal public queue and get through to an agent who can assist them within minutes.
Sound convincing? Let’s plan your pitch to your boss…
How to convince your boss
1. Understand your organization
Some companies plan trips in advance, some make last minute bookings. Some senior management prioritise traveler comfort, others care more about cost reductions. What kind of travel program is right for your company? Where and how much will your company be traveling in the future? And, what matters most? Lower rates and fares or higher service?
2. Collect data
It’s important to paint a picture of what your company could look like with a coherent travel system in place. Data will back you up. To build your case, identify the key difficulties the team currently faces with your existing program. Collect expense reports and HR records, for example, and talk to internal stakeholders to get their opinions on record.
3. Define your objectives
Armed with the numbers and statements from your stakeholders, you now know which areas you should target in your pitch. Bookings and reservations? Accommodation and on-the-ground transport? Traveler security? Where can you improve as a company and how will a TMC deliver value?
4. Make your case
Work with internal stakeholders to create a program and policy that works for your company and a senior sponsor to champion your initiative. Demonstrate that any investment in time and money will be exceeded by the value that a TMC can deliver.
5. Get help from an expert to map things out
If in doubt, get advice from a specialist at a TMC. They will be able to support you and talk through the whole process so that you can feel confident bringing your case to senior management.
Good luck and smooth travels! Your team will thank you.