When managing your own business travel programme, there is a whole range of issues to consider which reach far beyond hidden costs. There’s the time taken to process the order, the payment system required, the duty of care available to business travellers booking independently and perhaps even the expense management processes incurred.
Below are some of the benefits a travel management company can bring to your business to help you achieve a balance between being cost-effective and productive:
1. Policy Management and Compliance
A business travel policy not only gives the traveller a guide on how you expect them to book, behave and act, it also outlines your responsibility as an employer. When you have many people booking travel, ensuring that they are aware of the policy and working within it is always a concern. A good travel management company should offer advice on forming a travel policy and give you the tools to enable greater adoption and compliance of that policy.
At Clarity, we support our clients’ policies both online and offline. Policies can be embedded within our technology, assisting bookers to stay compliant. For those instances where an out of policy booking is unavoidable, a bespoke authorisation process can help you monitor these requests and keep your budget on track.
2. Centralised Billing and Payments
Online purchasing through public websites usually involves instant card payments or immediate billing. Companies also find the supporting financial documentation, such as invoices and receipts, vary in quality and detail resulting in additional time spent chasing travel suppliers for the correct formats. A key benefit of enlisting a travel management company is having consolidated electronic billing, which can be designed specifically for your business. All that important information you need to process your accounts can be added in such as cost codes or department references and more importantly flexible credit terms to minimise delays.
3. MI and Intelligence
When it comes to analysing travel spend it’s the quality, not the quantity of data you have (although here at Clarity we can combine both to provide the ultimate MI package). Reports showing traveller spend, booking horizons and behaviours should all be at your disposal but analysing them is where the real benefit lies. When your travel is managed externally, you should be able to rely on your provider to present the data in a way that demonstrates how to make those slight changes in strategy to achieve important savings and improve efficiency.
4. Supplier Agreements
Hand in hand with good reporting and business intelligence, dedicated account managers can identify the right opportunities for commercial agreements with key suppliers. As an SME, you may not be booking often enough to receive the best rates and therefore benefit from the volume booking rates travel management companies receive. Here at Clarity, our clients have access to over one million hotels and over eighty preferred airline deals alongside a range of ancillary and ground services.
5. Duty of Care
As a responsible employer, the safety of your business travellers is paramount. With so much going in the wider world, it’s hard to keep on top of it all. All our clients, regardless of their size, benefit from round the clock service, Clarity TwentyFour are our in-house team that manages travel at all hours of the day. It doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is there will always be a member of staff at the end of the phone. Alongside the out of hours team, we also have a dedicated Travel Alerts department, again providing 24/7 surveillance on what’s going on around the world ready to alert travellers and companies should there be an emergency.
6. Content Consolidation
Using a TMC booking tool, like Clarity’s Go2Book you have access to great content from across the web, all in one place. Our technology takes feeds from all the major travel suppliers ensuring that you have access to the best deals without having to spend hours trawling different websites and comparing costs. This saves you both time and money and makes the whole experience a lot easier.
Alongside this, you can have access to specially negotiated fares and rates that simply are not available to the public. Leveraging the buying power of a TMC gives you the benefit of a big buyer, without the spend.
7. Hotel Programmes
Our in-house commercial team negotiate these rates, work on their relationships. Tailored and designed hotel programme, designed to the client for their needs incl all the soft benefits e.g wifi, breakfast parking, can save a substantial amount of money vs doing it yourself. We leverage the buying power of our business.
8. Missed Savings
Working alongside an account manager you can use management information on your existing travel spend to see areas where you have missed savings. From here your account manager will work with you to design an action plan to change behavioural patterns, allowing you to take advantage of the savings and drive your overall travel spend down.
You can also take advantage of VAT claim backs, saving up to 20% on hotel programmes. We will highlight when and where you can claim your VAT back, which is most likely being missed when booking outside of a TMC.
If you think that the DIY approach might no longer be for you and you’d like to discuss some of the ways in which we could save you time and money, and make your travel easier, you can call us on 0800 731 1627 for a free consultation.