There are many travel management agencies out there and it can be a daunting task to sift through all the information and find the one that’s the right fit for your business. After all, you’re trying to make a decision about a long-term solution and that means a little research is in order.
Teplis Travel is familiar with this struggle which is why we’re highlighting the top five questions to ask yourself when looking for a corporate travel agency…
How Much Do You Spend on Travel?
The amount of your corporate travel spend will dictate how important vendor negotiation services are to your firm. If you have less than a million dollars a year in air spend then negotiating a primary airline contract is probably not in your future. (The same goes in hotel markets where you have less than 100 room nights a year.) However, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate savings based on the volume you do have, you just have to go about it differently. Your cost reduction strategy, regarding vendors, will be based on having corporate loyalty programs in place that generate discounts and free flights/nights from repeat bookings with that vendor. You’ll want as many of these programs in place as make sense for your travel profile and you need an agency who will track your rewards points and apply them to new reservations. For that you’ll need the high-touch service of a smaller agency.
On the other hand, if you’re spending $10,000,000 or $20,000,000 a year, or more, it’s important that you have a team of experienced negotiators on your side. These experts will know which markets are vulnerable to harder negotiation and which carriers are most likely to deliver a meaningful discount to get the market share you’re offering.
And as we’ve said in the past, it’s often easier to get a good discount when you move share away from the current carrier.
Where Do You Fly?
A corporate travel agency with brick-and-mortar locations all around the world will usually have higher transaction fees than an agency with less overhead. (And watch out for unbundled fees which look low but come along with a host of add-on fees which bring your total fee spend way up!) These large global agencies have to recoup the costs of buying or renting all that office space, as well as the costs involved with having employees overseas. They’ll add this cost to your ticket prices every time you travel.
If you only occasionally fly internationally, this can eat away at your travel budget pretty quickly.
How Much Technology Do You Need?
A robust Duty of Care program that matches traveler’s PNRs to emerging threats and pinpoints a traveler’s exact location with GPS tracking of their cellphone can be a blessing, especially if you have dozens of employees traveling to high-risk locations. Not so much if your travelers just go to the home office in Omaha.
By the same token, having super-efficient Cvent Meeting Registration Portals, that capture travel requests at the same time they collect activity and meal choices, and keep track of who has registered and who needs another reminder, can make life much easier for meeting planners with hundreds of attendees to manage. But they’re probably overkill for a meeting planner with a dozen travelers attending a simple conference at a downtown hotel.
(Teplis offers both of these programs as optional choices.)
Online booking tools are fairly similar in function, but there’s a world of difference in how responsive these programs can be if fine-tuned by a skilled technology team. If you just need a way for a handful of travelers to book policy compliant trips then most any TMC will be able to supply you with a program. But if you have multiple travel policy groups, numerous accounting codes, travel approval protocols and a complicated preferred supplier matrix you’ll want a TMC with an experienced online booking support staff.
Knowing how much technology you need will be a key factor in picking the right travel partner.
What Additional Services Do They Offer?
There is much debate about whether it’s better to be a Jack-of-all-trades or to focus on one niche and excel at it. But when it comes to your corporate travel agency, the more additional services they offer, the better.
Look for things like:
- Virtual payment cards, so you never have to risk your personal information while traveling
- Traveler security, so everyone stays safe no matter where they are
- Flight status notifications, so you and your travelers are always up-to-date
- VIP service, so senior leadership is always treated with respect
- Incentive, event, and vacation travel, so you are covered for all occasions
Who is on the Leadership Team?
At a large corporate travel agency, you may not get to know the leadership team in a meaningful way. In fact, you may not even get to know their names. At other agencies, the leadership team is featured directly on the website, is present at meetings, or sits in on conference calls with you.
If high-touch service is important to you, look for the presence of senior members during the sales process, at implementation at during final negotiations. When they take the time to connect directly with their clients, you can bet they’re invested in making sure you have the best travel experience possible and aren’t just out to add your fees to their bottom line.
Choosing the right corporate travel agency can make a huge difference in the quality of your service and the user experience of your travelers and travel arrangers. It can also make a difference in your travel spend! If you keep the above five questions in mind, you will be starting out on the right track…
Learn More About Teplis Travel
Teplis Travel has four decades experience helping corporations and organizations of all sizes create the optimal travel platform. Our association with FROSCH Travel allows us to utilize the latest in travel technology, provide the lowest available fares and access a network of affiliates in locations around the world. Our highly experienced management team has expert-level negotiation skills and the contacts to get your firm the best deals available in the marketplace.
If you’d like to learn about Teplis Travel’s corporate travel management programs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888-367-9847 or contact us online. We can discuss your business needs, our features, and pricing. We look forward to helping you manage travel with ease and savings!