How a Travel Management Company Can Reduce Your Travel Costs

Most companies have found that their business travel spend has increased in the past year, which means it is more important than ever to keep travel program costs down. Although cost control is critical, it also should not come at the expense of traveler satisfaction. To strike a successful balance between the two, those who manage travel for their organization can rely on a trusted travel partner.

Here are four ways a travel management company (TMC) can help lower travel expenses for a business, all while still embracing the needs of its travelers.

Competitive Rates

Well-meaning employees may try to book travel out of policy on their own, assuming they are saving the organization money by avoiding booking through the TMC for a fee. In actuality, the travel management company has negotiated supplier agreements that allow for discounted rates.

While an individual fare may appear higher, this cost does not take into account the full picture of negotiated rates, contractual obligations, and group purchasing power. Not only can a TMC offer competitive rates, but they can also help address traveler hesitation to book within policy.

Efficiency and Automation

Instead of handling every task themselves, travel managers can lean on their TMC to help lower costs and automate many of the processes that come with managing a travel program. For example, at Direct Travel, we offer price assurance technology to optimize hotel bookings and airfare, ensuring that travelers can lock in the best available rate no matter the price fluctuations in the marketplace.

Saving on tickets is only helpful if the tickets get used, so it is also important to ask a travel management company about their approach to unused tickets management. The TMC should automatically search for open tickets and advise on approaching deadlines so that savings don’t slip through the cracks.

No conversation about automation is complete without a mention of AI. Artificial Intelligence is ever advancing, and AI can quickly assist with many travel tasks that do not require a hands-on approach. For instance, Direct Travel deploys our virtual assistant Simon to help clients with rapid travel solutions and immediate service requests.

Leverage Deals Through Procurement

A TMC develops relationships with preferred travel suppliers to negotiate valuable deals that can be offered to customers. These deals might include car rental offers, personalized airline rewards, contractual discounts, or hotel promotions. Through automated tools, the TMC will track the company’s travel volume and spend, then use that data to ensure they have the best deals with the right suppliers.

Those who manage travel should also communicate their organization’s preferred supplier strategy to all employees. This will help reduce the number of travelers who book out of policy, which is key because self-booking is not as effective for travel purchases as an enforceable procurement policy.

Policy Enforcement and Approval

Travel policies can sometimes fall short in defining pricing thresholds for when travelers should consider alternate fares, such as a different departure time or another airline. This is a balancing act, because company culture should respect traveler convenience while still setting well-defined and reasonable limits for travel expenses.

A TMC can assist in reaching travel policy compliance goals by empowering travelers to make the right choice. They can help the business design and automate a pre-trip approval process to ensure the right data is available for management to make a timely and informed decision concerning travel authorizations. An effective trip authorization process will save the organization both time and money in the long run.

Savings and Satisfaction

It can feel like a juggling act to manage travel expenses and traveler care at the same time. Working with a travel management company can help busy travel managers identify any barriers in their organization’s existing travel policy, and implement changes to better control travel costs in the future.

If you’re ready to learn more about cost savings and transform your travel program, contact our team to get started.