Do Your Research!
The internet has made it so easy to do your research on a variety of topics so naturally, it is also a great way to find a potential TMC (Travel Management Company). A great way to begin the research process is to do a general search for questions that are related to your objectives. If, for example, one of your organization’s priorities is consolidation of all your travel bookings under one TMC, a good search would be “what are the benefits of managed travel?” Starting with this approach will help ensure you find articles, blogs, and posts that are relevant to your organization’s top priorities.
Another great way to get a feel for TMC is to look online at reviews from their employees. Negative reviews and high employee attrition rates often say a lot about an organization and its culture. Depending on the type of service offered (ex. dedicated agent vs call center environments), your travelers or travel managers could be spending a lot of time working with your TMC, so it is important that your TMC’s culture is a good fit for your organization. However, it is also important to take negative reviews with a grain of salt! Every organization is prone to having a few disgruntled employees.
If you can’t find answers to certain questions you might have, or just want to get some insight from industry experts, LinkedIn is a great source for starting group discussions. Some of the most active groups on the topic of TMCs are:
By conducting some research on potential TMCs, you should be able to start building a shortlist. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down to a select few that can best meet your needs. So, we’ve created a list of some tips on how to best assemble your shortlist:
- “Must haves” should be top of mind and top of list when eliminating potential TMCs. If a TMC can’t deliver on an area that you are unwilling to compromise on, then its best to say goodbye.
- Supplier content will make or break your efforts to reduce your overall travel spend. Ensure that you understand what each TMC on your shortlist can bring to the table vis-à-vis content.
- If you already have contracts with air, hotel, or car suppliers, ensure that your shortlisted TMCs will be able to support and maintain them. If you don’t, find out how each TMC will support your goal of securing corporate contracts with preferred suppliers.
- Size isn’t the be all and end all. Depending on the type of service offering you wish to procure, your organization may be better suited for a smaller, more boutique agency as opposed to a large multinational TMC, or vice versa.
- Technology is key to the success of travel management. It’s important that the shortlisted TMCs take advantage of the industry’s best online booking tools, traveler apps, billing and reporting tools. Ensure that your shortlisted incumbents have it and have the in-house expertise to support it! Through your reporting, you will start to notice trends and may want to adjust the way policy is applied to your travelers/traveler groups. If this expertise is not in-house, you could be waiting a long time for a simple change.
- Accurate reporting and actionable insights are essential in your efforts to reduce your overall travel spend. Anyone can run a report, but where the true value stems from is whether or not your TMC can provide account management services that deliver actionable insights. Make sure that the TMCs on your shortlist have Account Managers that have a strong background in this area.
And there you have it! With these tips to assembling a shortlist, you’re on the road to success. Check back regularly for more travel tips and Chapter 3 in our Tips for Selecting the Right Travel Management Company series!