Business travel management is a complex business process. You can make business trips successful only by boosting employees’ business travel experiences. Likewise, you have to focus on reducing average business trip costs to get higher returns on business travel spending.
You can streamline business travel management by outsourcing the process to the right travel management company. The company will help your employees accomplish business travel goals by providing travel management services and solutions.
Also, it will help your business control the average cost of business trips by beating global inflation. But you must remember that many companies and startups find it challenging to build good working relationships with their travel management companies. Here are some tips and best practices you should follow to work with your travel management company (TMC) more effectively.
9 Tips for Working with Your Travel Management Company Effectively
1. Define TMC’s Role and Responsibilities
You can outsource the business travel management process to a TMC fully or partially. For instance, you can partner with the TMC to manage specific steps in the process, like business travel booking. At the same time, you can make the TMC manage your business travel program fully.
You can build a good working relationship with the TMC by defining its role and responsibilities. Also, you should make the TMC understand the reporting and service-level requirements clearly. The understanding will help you eliminate the chances of misunderstanding and conflicts once the TMC starts managing your business travel programs.
2. Communicate Travel and Expense Policies
You cannot streamline business travel management without defining travel and expense policies clearly. These policies help employees distinguish between reimbursable and non-reimbursable travel expenses. Likewise, your TMC will refer to these preset policies to book only in-policy travel products.
That is why; you must communicate your organization’s travel and expense policies to the TMC clearly. The communication will help the TMC control the average business travel costs by eliminating policy violations.
3. Centralize Business Travel Booking
Your organization can centralize business travel booking by using the TMC. The centralization will make the TMC book business travel products like flights, hotels, and car rentals for your employees. The TMC will book travel products according to each employee’s travel itinerary and travel preferences.
At the same time, it will save money on completing business travel booking early and ensuring policy compliance. The TMC will further book fully-flexible tickets that your employees can modify and cancel such tickets without paying extra fees and penalties.
4. Leverage Tech Solutions
Your organization can automate key steps in business travel management using tech solutions provided by the TMC. For instance, the travel booking solution provided by TMC enables your employees to book their choice of business travel products without violating organizational policies.
Likewise, the expense management solution provided by the TMC helps your finance team track, review, and reimburse business travel expenses incurred by employees. You should encourage your employees to save time and effort using the tech solutions provided by the TMC.
5. Provide Traveler Information Early and Accurately
When you centralize business travel booking, the TMC will book business travel products for your employees. It will need a variety of traveler information while booking business trips. The TMC will need more time to complete the business travel booking when employees share incomplete or inaccurate information.
Your organization must make it easier for the TMC to make business travel bookings by making employees share accurate personal information. Also, you need to ensure that they share the required information, like travel dates, travel itineraries, and travel preferences, with the TMC as early as possible.
6. Ensure Seamless Communication
Many organizations fail to build a good working relationship with TMCs due to the absence of clear communication. You must remember that the TMC will need a variety of information to manage your business travel programs efficiently.
Likewise, you can improve business travel management by sharing policy changes and travel-related issues with the TMC. Hence, you must keep in place a clear communication plan while outsourcing business travel management.
The plan will help the TMC refine travel management services and resolve travel-related issues through seamless communication. Also, it will make the TMC respond to you early and regularly.
7. Get and Leverage Data-Driven Insights
A single TMC these days manages business travel programs of multiple enterprises. Likewise, most TMCs these days analyze clients’ travel and expense data using data analytics. Hence, they can help your organization get higher returns on business travel by sharing actionable insights.
Your organization must focus on leveraging the TMC’s experience and expertise. You should request the TMC to give advice and share insights regularly. However, you must implement data-driven insights to make changes to organizational policies and refine business travel programs.
8. Share Feedback Regularly
Despite outsourcing business travel management, you must not forget to assess employees’ business travel expenses regularly. The assessment will help you determine if the TMC improves the business travel experience of each employee. Also, you can detect the issues affecting employees’ business travel experiences.
You should share the feedback with the TMC to make it easier for employees to accomplish business travel goals. The feedback will help the TMC customize travel management services and solutions according to the needs and expectations of your employees. Also, the feedback will make the TMC meet your organization’s business travel goals.
9. Discuss Emerging Business Travel Trends
You can boost business travel programs by adopting emerging trends early. For instance, your organization can motivate employees to travel for work by supporting bleisure travel. Likewise, you can make business travel sustainable by making employees book eco-friendly business travel products.
The advice and insights shared by TMC will help you detect emerging business travel trends. But you can adopt the emerging trends most effectively by discussing ideas with the TMC. It is always important to adopt new trends by forming a working partnership with the TMC.
You can work with the right travel management company to accomplish business travel goals without escalating average business trip costs. But you can increase the ROI of business travel consistently only by working with the travel management company more effectively. You can implement these tips to work with your travel management company more efficiently.