In the last blog, we talked about the advantages of booking with a TMC rather than booking independently online. In this piece, I’ll write about what you should be looking for in a good TMC.
- Personal Account Manager
A decent TMC will dedicate a travel account manager to look after your company’s needs. This means that when you are booking travel for your CEO, boss, employees or even yourself you can be confident that you will be dealing with the same person. The benefit of this is that they will quickly get to know your business’ requirements, including itineraries and preferred routes, airlines and hotels. This might seem like a small win but if you are used to having to explain your itinerary repeatedly to a human conveyor belt of call-centre operatives this could prove to be an invaluable service.
When choosing a TMC make sure that you are guaranteed to be assigned a dedicated account manager. This will save you time (which equates to money) and a whole world of stress and frustration.
- Experience and Expertise
When looking for a travel management company ask about their policy regarding account managers. Do they only employ people with a certain level of experience? Ideally you don’t want someone who is very new to the role as they’ll lack the expertise, knowledge and insight required to handle a demanding account effectively. An experienced account manager can save you a lot of time, helping you to get the best routes and rates, and can advise you quickly on itineraries when you need guidance.
Some global travel management companies still tie businesses to binding annual contracts. However a good TMC will have an agreement based on trust and will be more than happy to provide a fluid, no-obligation service. This ensures that the standards of service will be consistently high and the prices provided will remain competitive throughout your business relationship. The TMC knows that any shortfall in expectations will be detrimental to your business relationship. So be wary of contracts. Choose a TMC which has the confidence that you will want to continue booking with them based on their levels of service and value, not out of a contractual obligation.
- Turnaround time
It’s all very well having great fares and offering a personal account manager, but if your TMC is taking a day or more to get back to you with quotes, then you’ll miss the best fares. Airfares fluctuate as availability changes, and hotel rooms sell out. Time really is money in travel. Find out if the TMC you plan to use has a turnaround time they can commit to, so you can be sure you are getting the best prices.
- Responsiveness to changes
You need to be informed of any changes made to your travel arrangements by airlines. This could be changes made to the times of your flights or cancellations. A competent and attentive TMC should be proactively informing you of any changes and tracking your travel from departure to return, ensuring that your arrangements are not disrupted unnecessarily.
- Leisure travel
Many corporate travellers use a travel agent to organise their personal, leisure trips, due to time constraints. Yet most agencies deal exclusively with either corporate or leisure travel. Some TMCs though have account managers who have the experience and expertise to assist with all your travel requirements, be it a business trip to the States or a luxury family holiday in the Caribbean. It’s worth checking whether your dedicated account manager provides this level of scope.
- Data protection
With the advent of GDPR and some airlines being hit with data leaks, it is more important than ever that the TMC that you are using is data-savvy and has the right precautions in place to protect your company and personal data.
A&G is an independent TMC, employing only Account Managers with a minimum 10 years experience and provide both corporate and leisure travel services. All quotes are given on a no-obligation basis and no contracts need to be signed to start an account. All bookings are handled by a dedicated account manager from quote to completion of the trip. A&G is fully GDPR compliant.
By Micala Sansom.