While technology makes remote meetings easier than ever, the value of an in-person meet-up is undeniable. Research has shown that a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than one sent by email.
It’s no wonder then that business travel is so popular. The latest data shows that UK professionals took 6.6 million business trips abroad in 2018, costing a total of £4.7 billion. For many businesses, the logistics of these trips is too much to handle in-house, so they turn to a third-party management company to take care of all aspects of their corporate travel.
In this article, we’ll look at what a travel management company does and whether using one could benefit your business.
What is a travel management company?
One estimate said it takes 43 minutes of in-house effort to make a booking for one employee’s business trip. Now imagine multiplying that across dozens or hundreds of employees for trips of varying durations to multiple countries throughout the year.
A travel management company removes this complexity by taking care of all aspects of a business’s corporate travel, including:
- Flight and hotel reservations
- Aircraft charter and access to airport lounges
- Car hire, parking, and transfers
- Foreign exchange
- Group travel
- Travel insurance
- Meal requests
- Passport and visa procurement
- Meeting rooms and venues
- Cost and expense management
- Traveller tracking and security
- Adherence to the corporate travel policy
The main reason to use a travel management company is to save time and money, as employees’ travel and expenses (T&E) are typically the second-largest controllable cost in most businesses, after salaries.
Without an effective expense management system, costs to employers and employees can spiral. A 2019 survey showed that 38% of SME employees didn’t bother claiming back expenses because the process was too long or complicated.
How a travel management company could reduce your costs
A travel management company (TMC) reduces costs and lowers the chance of excess spending by:
- Finding the lowest-priced tickets and reservations. Because they make a lot of bookings, TMCs can often get better deals on hotel rooms, flights, and other travel items than if you booked independently.
- Taking the pressure off the traveller. Instead of juggling reservations, checking timetables and making calls to hotels and car hire firms, the corporate traveller can instead focus on the reason they’re travelling, whether it’s to strengthen an existing relationship, broaden their network, negotiate a deal, or lead a remote team.
- Gain insights from analytics. Arranging travel as and when it’s needed in a disorganised way means you could overlook important patterns in how your team travels and the costs involved. The best TMCs offer travel analytics that let you compare your company’s spending to similar organisations, predict savings by making adjustments and even lower the environmental impact of your team’s trips.
- Sticking to your travel policy. A clear travel policy is a vital part of controlling travel costs. It details preferred airlines and seat types, which hotels and room rates are allowed, whether to use rental cars, ride services (e.g. Uber) or public transport, how much to spend on meals, entertainment and phone bills, and more. A TMC makes all arrangements with your travel policy in mind, so you can be sure nothing slips through the cracks.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you may want to consider the American Express® Business Platinum Card. In addition to points that can be redeemed with our flight and hotel partners, the Card gives you access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across the world. Find out more about how the Business Platinum Card could help you get more from your business travel expenses.