Prior to appointing a travel management company, there are a several questions SMEs should ask before making a decision. By doing their homework SMEs can ensure they are taken seriously and benefit from a range of travel industry deals, not just a few basic travel perks.
Start by asking “What are the benefits of using a TMC, rather than the many online channels available and will it cost more?” The greatest benefit is the potential to gain insight from the vast experience of the TMC. Software doesn’t really ask intuitive or strategic questions in order to give considered advice – it’s very black and white and potentially not going to deliver the best all round outcomes for you. An experienced and client-focussed TMC asks questions such as ‘Why are you travelling?’ and looks at the end-to-end process, from initial planning to booking workflow through to reconciliation and analysis – they are not simply there to sell you a ticket or a room, as so many online solutions are. Yes, you will pay the TMC a fee for their services, but most clients will see savings and below the line benefits which massively outweigh the fees they pay the TMC – The business travel industry offers amazing value for money nowadays.
You don’t need to be a global company with a travel spend in excess of 6 figures. You can form a relationship with a good TMC at any level of spend, but the amount of input the TMC can afford is obviously linked to volume, and your requirements similarly will be volume dictated – but if you only need a few transactions a year and want to pay on a credit card, you should find no difficulty in setting up a relationship. For online systems it really depends on the level of sophistication and the type of system you need – so for example A TMC might create a simple train booking portal for someone with £25K+ of rail spend, or a more complex multi-function portal for clients with £100k upwards of spend, but there are no hard and fast rules – a good TMC will provide you with a free consultation and advice on the best solutions – online, offline or a mix of both.
Don’t worry that you will be nothing more than a tiny little fish in a great big pond. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs account for 99.9% of all private sector companies, and over 5.7 million companies fall into the SME definition. TMCs certainly recognise the critical mass which the SME market generates in terms of travellers and combined spend, they promote the huge value of this market very strongly to suppliers in order to drive best value solutions for their customers.
When considering which TMC to work with SMEs need to think long-term and consider future growth as part of the overall plan. As your business grows its processes and requirement will change, it’s unavoidable. A good TMC will constantly anticipate your needs, reviewing and revising their programme, processes and the requirements of key stakeholders across their business.
By creating a solid partnership with your TMC and enabling them to analyse your travel patterns and spend, they will be able to make suggestions on how you can prevent overspending while still delivering the highest levels of safety, security and duty of care to your people. Gone are the days when the TMC was nothing more than a travel booking service that provided account facilities. A good TMC today will offer you state-of-the art reporting and technology, traveller tracking services, company travel policy implementation, the latest software to self-book your own travel- on demand, mobile travel apps, international interpretation services, expert account management, the most experienced travel consultants …and much more. If the TMC you are talking to can’t provide all of these things, along with the highest levels of customer service and technical support, you’re probably talking to the wrong TMC.
Traveleads has been established for almost 50 years and remains the trusted travel partner to many of Britain’s biggest businesses and best loved brands – many of which were SMEs when these partnerships formed. For a comprehensive range of services available to SMEs please contact us for more information.
To discuss the bespoke travel services Traveleads offers please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact forms on our website