In the age of digital networks and do-it-yourself travel options, many people question the benefits of using a corporate travel agency for any kind of travel.
It seems like a cheaper option to have an assistant or admin employee do the bookings and be done with it.
But for most companies, this is not the cheapest, or the most reliable option.
Corporate travel agencies specialise in providing the services companies and corporate travellers need, and they do so while complying with the directives of the company.
What to look for in a corporate travel agency
Travel policy compliance
Your company will have certain rules and guidelines for travel.
The larger your company is, the more likely you’ll need some assistance in making sure that travel is arranged in compliance with this protocol, both for safety and for financial reasons.
A corporate travel service will be familiar with, and therefore able to ensure compliance with, your company’s wishes.
Such issues as security, the class of travel, type of accommodation, expenses chargeable to the company, and so on, will be monitored on your behalf by your travel specialist, and any issues or concerns brought to your attention should they occur.
Access to discounts and special considerations
Corporate travel agencies also deal with very large volumes of travellers.
Unlike holiday bookings, business bookings occur very frequently, throughout the year, and many tickets and bookings are requested from individual clients – such as your company.
The benefits of this large volume include considerable discounts.
Your agent will be able to take their fair fees and still arrive at a cost of travel considerably lower than what you could find from an online booking company for the same product.
You get the security of an expert securing the booking, and save money doing so.
Large-volume clients get more than just great deals, too; they also receive additional consideration in the event that changes need to be made.
A travel provider, such as an airline or train travel company, is far more likely to comp a change in itinerary or booking for a large-volume client than they are for an online booking from a travel search website.
They want to keep their major clients happy, and since their big client (your corporate agency) is working on your behalf, you gain the benefits.
Along with discounts on products, a corporate travel agency will have forged a relationship with your company.
This often means a degree of credit.
Lag time between bookings and due invoices can be beneficial to your company’s cash flow, and it’s also convenient.
Let the agent know what you need. It gets booked immediately.
Payment is made according to previously-agreed protocols. Plain and simple.
Perks that may be optional to the pleasure traveller are necessary when on business. Hassle-free and reliable Internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning services, meeting rooms, business centre access for printing or scanning…
The list can be long, and unless the person doing the booking is very familiar with both the needs of the traveller and the services available at the various hotel options, problems can occur.
At best, they are inconvenient, but at worst the lack of such services can harm the business.
You can also benefit from the feedback of your travel company’s other clients.
They will get feedback and recounted experience from all of their clients, so they are always aware of both positive and negative developments.
A hotel undergoes an extensive renovation; they know the details of it. Another one is under new management and service falters or improves; they know about that too.
Travel warnings and support
Along with information like that, they will also have access to warnings about events in your destination city.
Civil unrest, severe weather, infrastructure problems, even major sporting or entertainment events that may change the realities of local travel – any of these can profoundly impact a traveller’s experience and success in the purpose of the trip.
When problems are identified, a corporate travel agent can arrange alternate travel options, security measures, or even emergency expatriation, this is normally done via travel risk management apps.
You’ll not only have the most reliable arrangements for a trouble-free trip, you’ll also have back-up if things occur that are beyond your control or ability to predict.
When things are running smoothly – and you want to keep them that way – a good travel agency will provide full itineraries that update in real-time.
No more folded and crumpled papers, or emails buried among the thousands you receive.
You’ll have an agency that leverages current technology and quality design to give you information and tools that are easy to use, current in real-time, and loaded with intuitive features to help you make the travel experience free-flowing, trouble-free, and without the stress of wondering what might be going on.
Follow flight delays, cancellations and tracking.
Sign-in online, print your boarding passes, check in and out of hotels, use virtual company credit cards (fully monitored of course) and even get directions to the best lounges for a comfortable wait before flights and during layovers.
Business comes with worry…
Doing business is a dynamic thing. It often comes with difficult choices, many moving parts, and best guesses at the future direction of the economy, your competition, and managing employees, inventory, technology, security and – the list goes on.
Bearing the stress and worry of these things is part of what administrators, executives and managers are paid for.
But what you don’t need to worry about is your corporate travel.
By securing a high-quality corporate travel company or agent, you can reduce costs, increase reliability and decrease stress and workload for you and your employees.
And that’s just smart business.
Need help organising your business travel? Get in touch with our travel experts