Businesses that work with travel management companies know the key to a great partnership starts with the travel agent. They’re the ones managing the day-to-day service delivery, they know your travellers and they’re at the end of phone when you need them. But what does a travel agent do, and how can they add real value to your business travel programme?
What is a travel agent?
Within corporate travel, the term ‘agents’ refers to the individuals who manage your business travel on a daily basis. Sometimes also called consultants, supervisors or team leaders. Travel agents take care of the entire trip from booking to managing, and post trip support. But what is it exactly that they do?
The process of booking business trips with travel management companies is different to that of leisure travel. Business travel agents use resources such as a Global Distribution System (GDS) to book individual items, including flights, hotels, trains etc, effectively building your trip.
This is where the expertise of a travel agent starts to provide some real value. With their knowledge of destinations, routes and travel modes, you’ll get options you wouldn’t even have considered. Saving you time and money, but also putting traveller comfort first.
Great travel agents know their travellers. They’re in tune with how they like to travel. Proactively booking special requirements and preferences, such as dietary needs or seating requests.
Underlying all of that, they also make sure bookings are compliant with your company travel policy. Taking care of the approval if required. And, they’re aware of your company’s preferred suppliers, so can secure further cost savings as well as the lowest fares.
Business trips are much more likely to change than leisure bookings. And, often last minute. Travel agents take care of this for you. They consider patterns and behaviours at time of booking, and often suggest more flexible fares and rates to ensure maximum flexibility and cost control. They also take on the burden of changes; re-issuing tickets, requesting refunds and securing last minute availability.
Additionally, business trips can take place any time, so great travel management companies offer a 24/7 service. They have an out of hours team, where travel agents cover nights, weekends and public holidays. This means companies can meet their duty of care needs, last minute requests can be dealt with effectively, and travellers always have the support they need.
Post trip support
Travel agents manage issues that arise during the trip, direct with the suppliers. This includes unexpected changes or services not fulfilled. This forms part of the 360 service that travel management companies provide.
And, the travel agents work isn’t done once the trip is complete. The aftercare mostly consists of expense claims, finance reconciliation and invoice queries. However, great travel agents check in on their travellers as well – How was the trip? How can we make it better for next time? What’s next?
A travel agents impact and input goes well beyond the booking of travel. Their knowledge of their travellers means they have invaluable insight into behaviours, trends and customisations. This assists with;
- Building & shaping business travel programmes
- Identifying key suppliers and ensuring corporate rates are available and utilised
- Spot-checking fares and rates to assist with budgeting
MIDAS Travel specialises in premium business travel for SME’s. We manage travel for financial, professional and consultative sectors. Our primary ethos is centred around service delivery, and as such our travel agents are the very best. If you’re looking for a travel management company that puts you first and delivers on your business goals, then why not book a free consultation today.
- What is a TMC and do I need one? – MIDAS Travel Blog
- What Businesses Can Learn From The Six Different Types Of Travel Agencies – Forbes
- Does your SME need a travel management company? – MIDAS Travel Blog