Choosing A Corporate Travel Agency? Key Aspects To Look For
A corporate travel agency can help a company fully manage its travel program and provide a smooth booking experience to its employees. It can also save companies money by offering discounts on hotels, airlines, etc. via their global network. But how do you find a corporate travel agency that meets your business needs? We will be sharing some tips in this blog post. Read on!
What Is A Corporate Travel Agency?
A corporate travel agency or a travel management company is a service provider that manages travel for your company. They make sure the travel experience is seamless for your employees and provide them with 24*7 customer support. Usually, they provide you with one or two travel experts (agents) that assist your employees to make all necessary arrangements for their business trips, within company policy. Some tasks that all corporate agencies perform:
- Book travel for employees
- Assist with cancellations, rebookings, etc.
- Provide corporate negotiated rates
Key Factors In Selecting the Perfect Corporate Travel Agency
Whether you are dissatisfied with your current corporate travel agency or looking to hire one for the first time, there are a few key aspects to consider while making your decision. But when you start searching for a corporate travel agency, first, identify your business needs. Answering the following questions might help:
- Exactly why are you hiring a corporate travel agency rather than managing it internally?
- What services would you want the agency to perform?
- Do you want to save money on business travel?
- Enhance travel booking experience for your employees?
- Gain more actionable insights with your travel and expense data?
Understanding and knowing what you actually want to accomplish from hiring a corporate travel agency would help you evaluate and select the best one.
To give your employees a seamless travel experience and your admins financial control, you need a mix of human service as well as technology in your corporate travel agency. Here are some key aspects to look for while choosing a corporate travel agency:
Personalized Customer Support
Check out if the travel agency offers 24*7*365 support, which is vital when your employees are traveling for business, especially overseas. They should be available via multiple channels like chat and call, and in multiple languages, especially during emergencies.
Another thing that you should check is that they should provide you with a personal travel agent that understands your employees’ specific needs and helps them with the best alternative solutions in case of trip bookings, especially rebookings and cancellations. They should be able to provide quick, accurate answers to the trip queries. You can check customer reviews online to know about their customer service or testimonials on their company site.
Smooth Booking Experience
Travel agencies rely a lot on emails and phone calls to interact with employees and make trip bookings. But today’s employees don’t want to spend time going back and forth on emails or calls. Both travel managers and employees should be able to log in to the platform and book business trips themselves. This would also help travel managers to find answers for all their queries instead of writing emails to the travel agency, asking for help.
In addition to this, the system should also allow the process to be performed collaboratively. The travel managers should be able to make cancellations, rebookings for the employees easily.
Advanced Technology For Travelers And Admins
Usually, corporate travel agencies don’t have integrated travel and expense software. And in the absence of integrated T&E software, employee safety and policy compliance suffer. Ensure the one you choose has a good technology setup so that you get complete data visibility into your company travel spends, achieve near 100% policy compliance with in-built policy features, and fulfill the requirements of your duty of care plan.
Also, find out if they have a mobile app with a user-friendly UI that can be used to send regular travel alerts and notifications, and book travel on the go.
Extensive Hotel & Flight Inventory
Corporate travel agencies might partner with just a few vendors who do not offer low-budget airlines. This factor is a must to be considered while selecting your corporate travel agency. Extensive inventory would include variants of transportation such as planes, trains, cars, etc. and, accommodation such as hotels, Airbnbs, studio apartments, etc. This will help you improve your cost savings.
Travel Agency Geo Reach
When vetting a travel agency, pick the one whose expertise matches your geographic profile. For instance, if your business travel is mainly domestic, you would not need a travel agency with dozens of offices across the globe. On the other hand, if your employees travel overseas frequently, consider hiring a travel agency with a big name so that you get the expertise when needed. Additionally, you can also look for one that specializes in travel for companies in your industry.
Reporting And Analytics
Many corporate travel agencies have a broken system that does not provide complete travel data insights. The travel agency you select should provide your finance teams with a detailed travel report for all business trips. For instance, they can provide MIS (Management Information System) reports that include your top spenders, percentage of last-minute travel bookings, bookings that are out of policy, frequently traveled destinations, and more. Such reports can provide you with insights that can help in saving money.
Ancillary services like passport/ visa/ travel insurance
Apart from providing support in booking tickets, check what extra service does the agency provides? The agency should also provide ancillary services like helping employees with passport issuance, getting visas easily, and explaining travel insurance and its importance.
Security of data
It is important that you find out how the agency keeps all the data (employees’ contact, email, etc.) secure and the measures they have put in place to ensure that data is not compromised. For instance, you can check if there are any global standards of security to be compliant with.
Once you have checked all these aspects, shortlist a few corporate travel agencies and see which one best fits your business needs and hire it!
There’s A Better Way To Manage Your Travel
Usually, organizations that onboard a travel agency end up managing their expenses with a separate vendor leading to poor data visibility, analytics, and cost leakages. To plug these cost leakages while strengthening the data insights, organizations are now adopting a cloud-based integrated travel and expense solution like ITILITE.
Such solutions simplify your travel and expenses with a new-age, powerful tech platform, and provide superior human support given their technical edge. To know more about ITILITE, get in touch with our product expert today!