Does your organisation need a Travel Management Company?
It can be difficult to know if your company is in need of a Travel Management Company (TMC) to help maintain your current travel solution. If your organisation has a large amount of frequent travellers, then you’ll most likely have a dedicated team of bookers that are on hand for any itinerary based enquiries and to help keep your travel programme running smoothly. There are a plethora of reasons why a TMC may offer more assistance than an in-house travel solution could, and it all comes down to what is right for your company.
1. Does your current travel solution meet your requirements?
The first step in understanding how efficient your current method of booking travel is, is to assess it against your requirements. Perhaps offer a feedback opportunity for your travellers to see how happy they are with your current travel solution. By listening to their needs and wants, you may accumulate a better understanding of their requirements and understand if your travellers are completely satisfied with the booking process.
2. Travel Volume and Cost
If your organisation is performing well, there’s a good chance that your requirement to travel will increase in time, in which case, what would the cost of employing dedicated travel staff be compared to utilising a TMC to handle all travel requests? If the volume of travel is set to rise, you’ll need to be certain you’re spending your travel budget wisely and securing the best deals available on the market – is your current solution putting quality control processes in place to ensure savings opportunities are utilised?
3. Duty of Care
With increasing threat levels and unpredictable weather, it may worth assessing how your current travel solution helps you fulfil your duty of care requirements. According to Concur, if formalities are not in place and followed correctly, and something happens to one of your travellers whilst on company business, an organisation could be fined as much as 10% of their annual turnover in court. Consequentially, it’s critical to ensure that you are able to offer your travellers pre, mid and post trip risk assessments and travel advice.
Similarly, if in the case of an emergency you needed to communicate with one or more of your travelling employees, would you know who was staying where, during which times, and access their most up to date contact information? In particular, if something was to happen outside of office hours, is there someone available to ensure your traveller(s) can keep in touch to arrange alternative means of transport or accommodation?
In order to understand the effectiveness and functionality of your current travel solution, you must be able to crunch the numbers. Are your dedicated bookers able to report on who is travelling, where to, using which supplier, and for how much? Can they offer transparency of costs including cancelled tickets, travel expenses and out of policy bookings? Management Information is essentially what it says on the tin – its information for management to understand the costs and business implications of travel. It’s imperative that the CEO, the FD and the MD of your organisation know where the company funds are allocated and whether that may need trimming or increasing in any given time frame. Producing a dashboard of overall spend and savings opportunities will give the relevant members of staff the opportunity to better understand the organisation’s travel arrangements and meet the demands of their travellers effectively.
If you have an in-house dedicated team, the chances are your organisation uses an offline booking process, whereby the traveller will email or call the travel desk and supply the necessary information for the team to then secure the arrangements. It may be worth looking at assessing the requirement for an online booking tool, for ease of use, time management and even to encourage compliancy. An online booking tool will allow users to search a database of airfares, rail tickets and accommodation simultaneously whilst remaining compliant to policy. One benefits of such a tool is that TMCs will purpose-build the tool around your organisations’ preference and budget demands, meaning that a traveller simply cannot book what isn’t allowed.
If you’re a relatively small organisation with a small volume of travel, then perhaps your internal team would not need a TMC to assist you. However, if you’re on a trajectory to increase the amount of travel you do or your organisation has plans to expand considerably, then it may certainly be worth looking to see what’s out there. If you travel to destinations that have a particularly high threat level, again, it may be worth investing in a TMC to handle your Duty of Care requirements, alongside your itinerary requests. Essentially, it all comes down to what is right for your organisation, and what fits with your current requirements. An outsourced solution simply isn’t right for everyone that travels for business and there are lots of variables to consider prior to starting the extensive procurements process. Having said that, we do find that clients who come from a previously unmanaged solution will usually continue to use a TMC to handle their travel, and rarely move back to an in-house operation.