Business travel needs and programmes can vary drastically among the small to medium enterprise (SME) market and sometimes it’s hard to know what the right solutions might be.
Here we look at the specific needs of an SME customer, and how you can optimise your business travel programme.
What is an SME?
An SME is any organisation that has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million or a balance sheet total less than €43 million. In business travel, this sector can include High Net Worth Individuals, start-ups and businesses in growth stage.
What makes SME business travel needs different?
Business travel can present some unique challenges for the SME market. These include;
- Budgets are tighter putting pressure on costs, negotiations and ability to leverage
- Internal resource is limited meaning technology must deliver
- Less travellers who often have high demands
- Policies need to be flexible and travellers kept safe
How could a Travel Management Company help your SME?
Controlling costs and maximising ROI
Travel Management Companies (TMCs) can access many exclusive fares and rates. Using technology, travel software and supplier networks, they have more opportunities to save. You should look for a TMC with buying power – this could be as part of a network. This will give them greater leverage with the most popular suppliers in securing favourable prices.
As part of the service, a TMC will negotiate corporate rates on your behalf. With a better understanding of value and benchmarking, your TMC can maximise your supplier programme, from hotels to airlines and ground transportation.
Technology that benefits the SME
It’s important to decide how hands on you want to be with your travel bookings. You might want to research, secure and manage your travel completely by yourself via an Online Booking Tool. Or, you may find it quicker and easier to hand everything over to your TMC. There can be cost benefits to both. Depending on factors such as internal resource, how often your travel plans change, and if you’re managing complex, multi-sector journeys or simple A to B trips.
There’s no one size fits all with SMEs. So it’s a good idea to consider your preferences when it comes to technology. Needless to say, internally the TMC will be adopting a number of systems, but it’s up to you how much of that you want to get involved in.
Personalisation for travellers
Travelling on business is different for everyone. Experiences, needs and comfort varies across the board. And for SMEs with often smaller workforces, those travellers can be very valuable assets. Meaning their time is precious, their productivity and comfort are paramount, and keeping them happy is top of your list.
Your TMC should be an extension of your team, knowing your travellers and becoming familiar with their travel requirements and preferences. The more confidence your travellers have in your TMC, the less intervention your travel manager will have to do, saving valuable time and resource.
Flexibility and duty of care in services
One of the many benefits to being an SME is agility and flexibility. This is also key to your business travel programme. You may need to adapt your travel policy to suit your growing needs. Or you may have different types of travel requests, such as leisure bolted on to business (bleisure) or requests to manage personal or family travel. Your TMC should be able to assist with your requirements to help keep your travel in the same place.
You’ll want reassurance from your TMC that your travellers are well looked after, especially if you’re visiting new destinations. Services such as chauffeurs, meet and greet, airport lounges, and hotel vetting, ensures your most vulnerable travellers can go from door to door in complete safety. And, being able to get in touch with your TMC, and hear a friendly voice, at any time of the day provides reassurance when there is disruption or unexpected incidents occur.
There are many Travel Management Companies that can assist your SME with your travel programme. But it’s important that you find the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions;
- Do they service clients in my sector and/or of similar size?
- Can they deliver on my requirements and needs?
- Are my business and my people important to them?
MIDAS Travel specialise in business travel management for the SME sector. We manage travel for financial, professional and consultative sectors. Our portfolio includes High Net Worth Individuals, family offices and VIPs. If you’re looking for a travel management company to maximise your programme and prioritise service, then why not book a free consultation today.
- What is a TMC and why do you need one? – MIDAS Travel Blog
- Small to medium sized enterprise (SME) action plan – Government Website
- What we do – MIDAS Travel Website