Business travel agents are a lot like the travel agents you might use to book a holiday, with one important distinction: where holiday travel agents specialise in recreational getaways and popular holiday destinations, a business travel agent is an expert in the needs of business travellers, and the companies that best provide for them.
Understand Business Travel Needs
When we travel for relation or fun, we want certain things.
Maybe a big local attraction, luxury rooms and special services like massage and spa treatments.
We might be going away during peak holiday season or visiting a popular tourist destination.
When we travel for business, however, we have different needs. Business travel agents specialise in providing them.
Prioritise Proximity to Business Venues
We may want proximity to certain business venues. If the venue isn’t also a holiday destination – and most aren’t – then a holiday agent isn’t likely to be familiar. A business agent, on the other hand, will.
Know Hotel Facilities
We may need meeting rooms, or business centres that allow us to perform regular admin duties while at a hotel.
A business travel agent will have first-hand knowledge – and feedback from other clients – on the facilities available, their quality and reliability, and the overall suitability of hotel facilities for various business purposes and needs.
That’s valuable knowledge, especially when your travel purposes are important… and when aren’t they important?
Understand Off-Peak Travel
Some services, in some destination cities, are set up to deal with the increased flow of people during peak holiday times.
If you are travelling on off-peak dates, it is useful to know what to expect.
Likewise, if you are travelling to a tourist-heavy location, during a peak time, you’ll want an agent that can help you avoid the touristy things – like traffic, blocked streets, and noisy hotel neighbours.
Offer Discounts and Perks
Along with specialist knowledge on business needs and locations, a good business travel agent will receive sizeable discounts from travel and accommodation providers.
These are big enough to cover the agent’s fees and still wind up giving your company considerable savings.
This is because a business travel agent usually deals in very large volumes of regular, year-long travel arrangements.
This consistency and volume is attractive to travel providers, and so they reward an agent’s patronage with great deals.
Special consideration is also given to high-volume clients, so if your travel plans change, you can sometimes get your bookings modified free of charge.
Business travel agents also provide additional services, like emergency support, credit and delayed payment.
The best agencies also provide real-time updates on travel itineraries, flight status, and other conditions that may affect the traveller’s plans, safety, and/or comfort.
When problems occur, support is on hand.
Corporate Travel Policies
Another major responsibility of a business travel agent is assurance of compliance to the company’s travel policy.
For example, if an employee tries to book a first-class flight when the policy restriction is for economy-class, your agent will pick up on it and adjust accordingly.
Keeping track of travel practices for all of a medium or large company’s employees would be a mammoth task to take on, but a travel agent is in the perfect position to work as a gatekeeper on the company’s behalf, policing both maximum spending limits and minimum requirements, all according to your own company’s current policy.
A Great Value to Your Team
A business travel agent acts like a specialised employee for your company, finding you the best deals on the most appropriate services.
Best of all, since they receive excellent rates, you’ll save money on your travel, even after their fees are paid.
It’s like getting a free expert to save you money and increase your travel value.
If you haven’t already, add one of these valuable experts to your own team.
Need help organising your business travel? Get in touch with our travel experts