Unless you work with a travel management company, you probably don’t know what they do. Nowadays working with a travel management company (or TMC) is often commonplace at larger businesses. So why would an SME need one?
What is a Travel Management Company?
A Travel Management Company (TMC) is an agency which manages organisations’ corporate or business travel programmes. They often provide an end-user online booking tool, programme management, duty of care, a mobile app, meetings and events support, reporting, VIP or executive services, sustainability guidance and more…
Finding the right travel management company can add great value to your business, saving you time, money and valuable resource.
What is a Travel Management Company and what do they do?
Simply put, a travel management company (TMC) is a travel agency that specialises in arranging corporate travel for businesses. Needs can vary vastly dependent on the size of your company and it’s travel requirements. TMC’s will manage the entire booking process from initial consultation through to ticketing and final invoicing. They take care of all the detail involved in booking flights, managing hotel reservations, ensuring duty of care in ground transportation and much more.
Technologies such as Online Booking Tools (OBT’s) and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) ensure that both your TMC and travel bookers can source the most competitive deals. Importantly, you create your travel policy and the team ensure your programme remains compliant.
Is there a difference between a TMC and an OBT?
Yes, there is a difference between a Travel Management Company and an Online Booking Tool. An OBT enables a traveller or travel booker to complete searches, select and book flights, hotels and sometimes ground transportation.
A Travel Management Company offers consultant expertise on top. Senior level travel experts can source even more competitive deals, they know the best stop overs, make sure your paperwork is all correct and up to date and as a bonus can secure upgrades and enhancements.
Where a TMC can offer even more value though, is when things don’t go to plan. Travel delays, cancellations, missed flights. TMC’s know about potential travel impacts early, so your travellers can be notified, redirected and avoid any disruption or risk.
Note that a TMC can also have an OBT as part of its service – available either just for their agents or also for your travellers. This is called online booking.
Is a travel management company the same as a travel agency?
No, travel management companies are different to travel agencies. Although there are similarities in what they can offer and their customer base, a travel management company is a specialist in corporate travel services. This means they operate with a focus on the creation and compliance of a corporate travel programme as well as a commitment to cost savings.
Additionally, TMC’s offer a wider range of services including a central, automated booking process, travel policy creation and maintenance, and detailed management reporting information. Not only that, but years of working closely with suppliers means that TMC’s can maximise savings, as well as resolve issues promptly and effectively.
What are the key benefits of using a TMC?
Reduce travel costs
A TMC has access to a wider range of fares and rates, so can find you the same deal but for less. Strong relationships with suppliers and economies of scale mean more scope for negotiation, enabling business of all sizes to benefit. Also, big savings can be made on group bookings and meetings and events.
24/7 in house support
Business travel by its nature requires flexibility, changes and often last-minute requests. Having an agent available any time of day is an invaluable service for your travellers and bookers. Knowing the person on the end of the phone, and that they know you, is worth its weight in gold.
Efficiency and flexibility
A TMC can be the real home of all your travel. Consolidating all travel components such as flights, hotels, ground transportation into one tool and itinerary saves you valuable time and resource. Managing travel becomes a lot smoother from the booking process, to reporting, managing invoices and taking care of your team.
Businesses often reach a point where their travel programme needs properly managing. A travel management company can offer access to corporate rates, partnership benefits, benchmarking exercises, expense management, analytics and account management. These can save businesses a significant amount of time and money.
Traveller wellbeing and safety
When team members are travelling on behalf of your business, you have a duty of care to keep them safe and supported. Travel management companies offer risk management services including traveller tracking, instant messaging, travel alerts to name a few.
Data to understand, learn and improve
A travel management company has access to a wealth of data including your business specific data, global booking data and travel trends. Working with an account manager, you can analyse behaviours, identify opportunities to save and implement changes to optimise your programme for travellers, bookers, HR Managers, Sustainability Directors and CFO’s.
Travel policy compliance
A TMC can help you build an effective travel policy that is accessible, easy to scale and importantly that your team can work with. It should be aligned with your company goals and used throughout your service from offline consultancy to online booking. TMC travel technology will house your policy so it can easily be maintained, updated and adhered to. Approval tools also help control travel leakage and/or bookings outside of your policy.
Whether you’re at the start of your sustainability journey or you’re well on your way, business travel is likely to play a role here. A travel management company can help you manage your carbon impact, from C02 reporting to net zero strategies.
Now you know what a travel management company is, could your company benefit?
Whilst there is a variety of services available, you will want to choose a travel management company that suits your business needs and goals. Cultural fit is important and you should seek alignment with your company values and ethos.
MIDAS Travel provides premium business travel service
Whether this is your first time using a Travel Management Company, or you would like to sharpen up your programme, MIDAS Travel can ‘take care of the journey’. With us, you will receive a personalised service with the opportunity to tailor make your programme uniquely for you. Through our networks you’ll have access to partners in over 70 countries, preferential rates in over 50,000 hotels worldwide and access to market leading technology.
We’re on a mission to become the ‘leading business travel partner for SME’s, and we’d love to hear from you.
Ready for a new Travel Management Company?
- What we do – MIDAS Travel Website
- Why us? – MIDAS Travel Website
- How to make your business travel programme more sustainable – MIDAS Travel Blog
- Investment Firm – Case Study – MIDAS Travel Blog