Are you frustrated with the current state of your travel programme? Is your CFO pushing for more tangible savings while your travellers complain that your travel requirements are affecting their productivity, health and family time? It may be time to review your choice of Travel Management Company (TMC). After all, partnering with the right TMC is the backbone of your corporate travel programme.
Check out these five clear signs that you need to start the RFP process:
1. Your travel programme has changed
There are various reasons why companies decide to overhaul their travel programme. You may feel that too many of your travellers are booking out of policy, or that there should be more efficient ways to drive savings. Maybe your business has grown to such an extent that you want to move from a regional programme to a globally-managed programme.
Whatever the reason, the implementation of a new travel programme presents the ideal opportunity to review the entire travel process: from travel policies and procedures to new technologies and even a new TMC.
As your travel programme changes, it’s important to consider a provider that offers a proactive and innovative approach to your travel management needs. A good TMC will, for example, suggest technology that allows your travellers much-needed freedom within framework. Not only will this reduce traveller friction, but it will also curb the number of out-of-policy bookings.
2. Your business has changed
Whether your business has grown through mergers or acquisitions or is expanding across the borders, a changing business equals new business strategies. As your business evolves, it’s important to be on the lookout for a travel partner who is agile enough to adapt. A dynamic TMC will come up with innovative ideas to suit your changing business and will fit in with your changing company culture.
Companies that are starting to expand across the borders often feel they have insufficient knowledge of international markets, and might be concerned about building relationships with foreign partners. By teaming up with a global TMC like FCM, your company has access to invaluable local know-how.
If your company’s strategy has changed as a result of acquisitions or mergers, you’re unlikely to want to settle for an off-the-shelf travel solution. Be on the lookout for a TMC that moulds its approach to your dynamic travel requirements. Have you seen your meetings and events spend increase as a result of the changes? Your TMC could suggest consolidating this spend for a greater ROI on your travel budget.
3. Your current travel technology is not meeting your needs
Travel technology moves at a fast pace. If your TMC is not keeping up with innovations in online and mobile technology, automation and travel technology, they are behind the times.... and by extension, so is your travel programme.
Business travellers today have come to expect intuitive technology that allows them to search the deals that interest them, access their itinerary at the touch of a button and communicate instantly.
Tech-driven service automation and personalisation of interactions are among the most effective ways TMCs can drive higher customer satisfaction and agency productivity.
Looking for solid innovation that works within an established framework is a low-risk way to improve your travel programme. So, make sure your TMC is offering you the tech you need.
4. Cost cutting has led to travel friction
In tough economic times, companies are often tempted to tighten travel policies by setting a hard cap on allowable expenses for flights and hotels, or by requiring use of certain vendors.
However, it’s important to also consider the non-monetary costs of business travel. An increasing number of organisations are becoming more conscious of travel friction; the toll that business travel can take on individual travellers.
The senior sales executive who was once flying the night before in business class now flies the red-eye in the economy. Put the traveller in that position too many times and he/she may object to having to travel for business, or worse not perform to the best of their ability and jeopardise the company’s goals.
If your TMC doesn’t have measures in place to reduce traveller friction in your company, the cost of your corporate travel could be much higher than you think.
5. Your TMC is not offering you the value you require
Has your TMC provided you with data insights about your company and your travellers’ behaviour? Have they kept you up-to-date on important market trends such as the NDC? If the answer to these questions is no, it might be time to look for a TMC that offers you the value in some cases you didn’t even know you needed.
No one is better placed than your TMC to know what’s going on in the world of corporate travel and advise you on how to plan accordingly for your business. With NDC (New Distribution Capability) in its early stages of adoption, TMCs, for example, will be able to tailor products to your specific requirements and offer you a more personalised, Amazon-style, service.
Meanwhile, your TMC is also ideally placed to interpret your company’s and your travellers’ data. Modern data technology should be your secret weapon to delivering greater savings and efficiencies. It can reveal patterns and trends that will enable you to drive improved business travel programme performance.
The right TMC has the insight and knowledge to guide you to make the right choices because they have a holistic view of your company, as well as the market at large.
If you're not getting this value from your TMC, it may be time to move on.
For more insights into the process of finding a TMC download our step-by-step guide to structuring an effective travel RFP today.