While travel planning for corporate travelers has become an in-house assignment in some business organizations, there are still many who prefer to hire a professional service or specifically a corporate travel agent. Hiring a professional allows to save big on business travels while also mitigating potential risks and helping people travel with ease and zero disruptions. Signing up with a corporate travel agent is not a simple process because there might be constant travel needs and you need a reliable partner to make sure all your business requirements are met. You might not have the time to do a trial-and-error method each time as that will bear a derogatory effect on your business as well.
Here are some tips to guide you in your quest to find the right corporate travel agent.
Keep your business objectives clear
Given that your business travels should bear fruitful returns; it is important that you lay down your business objectives up front. This will help to analyze and evaluate which of the corporate travel agents can fit your exact needs. Once you internally collaborate with your stakeholders and your frequent business travelers, you would be able to determine what aspects are to be critically noted by the agent designing your travel needs. Some of the common facts that quite a lot of business travelers look for are reduction in overall travel spends, savings on travel time with minimized or zero disruptions, and implementation of travel policy compliance and risk management policies. Having an RFP document in place will help you evaluate your corporate travel agent on a logical platform and eliminate unfocussed agents. Look for corporate travel services that have the right portfolio in cost management, and has the tools for supporting your business travelers around the clock. Finding a comprehensive solution is advisable as it will help align with your business objectives.
Pay close attention to the footprint
Each business has its own travel designs and the corporate travel agent you pick should be one who is effective in that spectrum as opposed to a clueless one. For example, your business travels maybe predominantly foreign trips, or domestic trips, or even just regional specific trips. In this case, it is important to pick an agent who has sufficient connects and expertise in that region to make sure you are getting the best corporate travel services. In the same way, when its foreign-trip specific, then the agent should have the right channel connects to ensure that your business travelers have the necessary help at just an arm’s length and not left clueless or stranded on a foreign land because your agent messed up.
Check the agent’s specialization
Each business traveler is unique and based on the business industry, the needs and objectives vary. There are even sector-specific corporate travel agents who can deliver better services for your sector as compared to a generalized agent who has little or no expertise in your sector. There are standalone corporate travel agents who offer these specialized sector services, and setting up a simple sit-down with them can help you understand if your business objectives would be better met through such a business travel agency or a more generalized one. Look for agents who are willing to partner with your business on a contract or regular basis so that they act as an extension of your in-house team. This way they will gel with the teams in your organization and deliver better as compared to a person who works simply by orders.
While the above three factors are critical for a business to closely pay attention to when picking a corporate travel agent, there are a few more tips that can help you narrow down on your choices.
- Make sure you set high standards on service excellence expectations of your corporate travel agent. One priority should be to have periodic meetings for plan reviews and assessment of services so that the corporate travel agent works on par with your objectives and not the other way around.
- Assess the use of technology employed by the corporate travel agent as that would be the critical factor in terms of money and time saver in today’s world. This will help with swifter booking and ticket management as well as generate cost reports and provide statistics on the business’s travel trends.
- At the end of the day, it all breaks down to one important criteria for selecting a corporate travel agent and that is the savings that they bring to the table in terms of money or time. As a business, you can never compromise on the value and ROI, and therefore ask as many questions as you can before you sign up with a corporate travel agent.