Traveling for business or leisure can come with many logistical challenges and expenses. From booking flights and hotels to arranging ground transportation and planning trips, it requires a significant amount of time and effort. This is where travel management companies (TMCs) can help simplify the travel process. TMCs specialize in handling all aspects of trip planning and coordination on behalf of their clients. By utilizing a TMC, travelers and their employers can gain several key benefits. In this article, we will explore the top 5 benefits of using a travel management company.
Negotiated Rates and Savings
One of the key advantages that travel management companies (TMCs) provide is access to negotiated rates for various travel services. As large corporate buyers that process thousands of bookings each year, TMCs are able to leverage their significant purchasing power and volume to negotiate discounted rates with major travel suppliers like airlines, hotels, rental car companies and other service providers.
Due to the high volume of business, TMCs can negotiate rates that are much lower than the standard published fares available to individual travelers or small businesses. These special negotiated rates, which often include volume discounts, preferred partner pricing and incentive deals, are then passed along directly to the TMC’s clients. For example, negotiated hotel rates provided by TMCs have been found to be 10-30% less expensive than the standard public rates. Similarly, negotiated airfares booked through a TMC can save travelers hundreds of dollars per ticket when compared to standard retail fares.
Over the course of a year, these discounted rates, which may seem small on an individual booking, can add up to significant savings for companies and their travel budgets. TMCs also have a strong incentive to find clients the absolute lowest rates possible in order to remain competitive in the market. The consolidated booking power of a TMC means travelers no longer have to spend hours searching online for good deals themselves.
Compliance and Policy Management
Many organizations have detailed travel and expense policies around issues like preferred suppliers, booking windows, class of service, and maximum daily rates. Keeping track of and ensuring compliance with all these internal rules can be a full-time job.
TMCs take the burden of policy management off travelers and their employers. TMC booking tools are integrated with clients’ travel policies, allowing only compliant options. They can also generate audit reports to demonstrate adherence. This provides organizations assurance that travel spending adheres to guidelines.
For travelers, TMCs eliminate the risk of personal reimbursement for non-compliant bookings. Hence, complex compliance and approval workflows are simplified through the TMC’s centralized system. Travelers can focus on their trips instead of policy minutiae.
Duty of Care Services
With global travel on the rise, ensuring traveler safety and security is more important than ever. TMCs provide duty of care services like 24/7 emergency assistance hotlines for medical, legal, or security-related incidents.
In emergencies, TMCs can coordinate emergency response logistics like arranging medical evacuations. They also have global security monitoring capabilities and can provide travelers alerts about potential risks in destinations. Some TMCs offer additional services like tracking traveler locations via mobile apps.
For organizations with employees traveling to high-risk or remote areas, the peace of mind from a TMC’s duty of care services is invaluable. Travelers themselves feel more secure knowing assistance is just a phone call away if problems arise during trips.
Simplified Booking and Reporting
Booking individual flights, hotels, rental cars, and activities for multiple travelers across different systems and websites is tedious and time-consuming. TMCs consolidate the entire booking process into a single, user-friendly online portal.
Travelers can find options that meet their requirements, get instant quotes, and book everything for their trips in just a few clicks. TMCs also integrate payment processing for a seamless experience. After trips, the TMC automatically collects receipts and expense reports for easy reconciliation.
This level of simplification and automation saves travelers and their administrators significant time otherwise spent on manual, multi-step booking and expense reporting. It allows a reallocation of resources to more strategic tasks.
Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
As TMCs process massive volumes of bookings and expenses, they amass extensive travel transaction data. Leveraging this data, TMCs provide actionable business intelligence reports and analytics to help organizations optimize programs, identify savings opportunities, and understand travel patterns and spend categories.
Common TMC reporting capabilities include spend tracking by supplier, destination, traveler, department, and customizable tags. Reports also analyze key metrics like ad hoc versus managed booking ratios, top traveling cities, most frequently used hotels and airlines, and compliance rates.
Armed with these insights, travel buyers and program managers can make data-driven decisions to guide policy changes, negotiate better supplier contracts, and encourage preferred buying behaviors. The analytics help maximize savings while maintaining compliance and duty of care standards.
Travel management companies deliver significant value and cost savings to organizations and travelers through negotiated rates, compliance management, safety services, simplified booking workflows, alongside actionable travel data and reporting. Their consolidated buying power and specialized tools and services streamline the travel process from start to finish.