The complexity of managing a travel program today requires a team approach. Gone are the days that a corporate travel manager can monitor everything from seat assignments to supplier negotiations and everything else in between. Corporate alliances with TMCs have continually grown based on their expertise, knowledge and guidance to optimize a company’s travel program effectively. According to The Global Business Travel Association, a properly managed program can see a 10-12% savings in overall costs to the enterprise. TMCs can build a successful and profitable business intelligence strategy based on four core principles; Foundation of service automation, subject matter experts, communication and most significantly, cost savings.
Foundation of Service and Automation
TMCs have cultivated solid relationships with technology providers who have developed the latest technical programs designed for travel. This has become imperative with the growth of mobile applications in travel. The amount of time and money saved by working with a TMC who has already vetted out the appropriate players have produced proven systems to support business policies and procedures that drive value to the bottom line. Through their partnerships, TMCs bring to the corporate environment an infrastructure to support such elements in a travel program as:
- Negotiating and optimizing supplier agreements
- Managing trip disruption – Both the Traveler and TMC are usually aware of trip disruption at the same time, however solving the problem in stress- free, real-time actionable way is best suited for the use of technology that a TMC brings to the relationship
- Implement policies and procedures – they help implement more than just develop
- The ability to slice, dice, customize and proactively use the analysis of big data
- Use of current technology including mobile apps
Subject Matter Experts
TMCs have extensive access to both human and technical resources. When it comes to travel, expecting the unexpected has become the norm. Trips are in a constant state of change affected by various contributing factors. Weather, updates in bookings, cancellations, and delays are a common mantra for today’s road warriors. The ability to have access to 24/7 support that also serves up viable solutions is an advantage TMCs have in their role in travel management.
Throughout a traveler’s journey, a TMC knows the itinerary, can reach out in real-time and can often predict what may happen before it happens. This access and expertise can be used to administer practical solutions promptly. An individual Corporate Manager with hundreds of travelers on the road at any given time cannot possibly monitor and assist with each trip.
With smart phones and tablets in nearly every consumer’s hands today, travel company’s need to think strategically about developing a highly effective omni-channel strategy. Mobile devices are ideal companions for travelers, allowing them to access information, services, and booking while en route and mobile technology has quickly become a standard resource for travel assistance. The new event-driven Cornerstone 4site™ provides real-time and contextual trip data directly to the corporate traveler’s mobile device. 4Site™ assists travelers with such challenges as trip disruption and provides direct real-time communication with their TMC.
Make a plan and work the plan! Every company wants to be in control, but it can be challenging with today’s complex travel arrangements. Travelers also want control and sometimes feel they can do a better job by self-managing their trips. Communication is the key.
Compliance is one of the toughest parts of a travel program to handle, and the recent consensus is that the one size fits all policy does not work in today’s environment. What does work, be able to capture data booked outside of the expected order of business and use technology to examine the impact noncompliance.
A solution like TravelOptix™ solves that problem by incorporating travel statistics into a rich visualization that highlights actionable data that can be used by the TMC or company travel manager. Through data management, a TMC can eliminate productivity drain, invigorate travel confidence and oversee policy control while balancing flexibility that may be better for the traveler or the company.
Cost savings is the number one priority for most any company. TMCs have access through supplier agreements to the right tools to help make this a reality. Organizations using a TMC to obtain useful technology benefit from considerable savings from the start, with the ability to negotiate volume discounts.
A TMC can benchmark successful tactics and programs that reduce expenses through measurement across similar companies in their management. Simply put, the ability to see what works and what does not is clearer for a TMC than and individual company. Working in partnership with a TMC, solutions such as Cornerstone’s Fare Checker modules optimize trip costs by monitoring best available fares as they open up.
It takes a village to raise a child and a team to manage and optimize a corporate travel program. The modern TMC can create a foundation of service, expertise, communication and savings that benefit both the traveler and the corporation.