As Small Business Saturday approaches in the United States, you may find yourself wondering how you can best boost your SME’s performance in the coming year. One way? Invest in managed travel.
Yes, managed travel requires an up-front and recurring cost. However, even if you’re an SME or any business small enough to participate in events like Small Business Saturday, you still need it. In fact, not investing in managed travel could be costing you money in the long run. Your small business not only likely can afford to invest in managed travel. Instead, it can’t afford not to make that investment.
Here’s what you need to know.
Unmanaged Travel Means Every Trip Costs More
If your small business currently allows business Travelers to book travel on their own, with little in the way of management, you’re spending more on business travel than you have to.
Business Travelers have no reason to look for the best deal possible when booking a trip on their own. Instead, they’re likely booking whatever is most convenient. In contrast, with managed travel, Travel Arrangers will balance both convenience and cost. They’ll ensure both your business and your business Travelers get what they need.
Likewise, business Travelers do not have the same connections and partnerships that managed travel offers. When you work with a Travel Management Company (TMC), you benefit from their overall spending. This means you get great rates on hotels, flights and other travel that you simply can’t get elsewhere. (No, not even if your business Travelers are booking through a travel deal aggregator site.)
If you’re thinking of ways to save your SME some money, switching from unmanaged travel to managed travel will very likely give you the results you want.
Unmanaged Travel Means Uninformed Decision-Making
Not only does unmanaged travel mean that every trip costs more presently, but it also leads to uninformed decision-making later.
Once Small Business Saturday has come and gone, and you and your Executive team are looking at the year’s performance and making decisions for the year ahead, you’ll need data. You likely already look at data regarding performance across a broad spectrum. However, do you have the data you need to make informed decisions? Particularly decisions regarding your team’s business travel in the year ahead?
With unmanaged travel, data regarding business travel, including details like who’s traveling when and where, how much they’re spending, ROI on business trips, etc., is either scattered across a million different platforms and places or completely non-existent.
With managed travel, compiling that data is incredibly easy. It’s often possible with just a few clicks. You’ll have all the information you need to easily and wisely make decisions regarding your team’s business travel.
Unmanaged Travel Means Frustrated Employees
Business Travelers face a range of frustrations when they’re on the road, and those frustrations have only grown post-pandemic. According to one Fortune article from July 2023, the majority of business Travelers report dissatisfaction with recent business travel. They report mounting worries, including health and well-being, stress, safety and anxiety.
A TMC helps alleviate many of these issues. They can help provide proper duty of care, so as to ensure Traveler safety. They can take care of the many anxiety-inducing and stress-causing elements of business travel, too. For example, they can make arrangements when there’s a travel disruption or delay.
And if you think this is not a large enough worry to convince you to invest in managed travel, think again. With issues like the “Great Resignation” in recent memory, dissatisfied employees aren’t afraid to jump ship, and the costs to replace talent are significant. The Society for Human Resource Management published an article in 2022 that noted that the cost of hiring new talent can be three to four times the cost of that talent’s salary.
So What Does Managed Travel Mean?
Managed travel means working with a Travel Manager or Travel Management Company to ensure that your travel policies are being adhered to and that you’re getting the largest ROI possible from your business travel.
A TMC will often help you…
- Develop a travel policy that fits your SME’s needs, as well as those of your business Travelers.
- Ensure that everyone on the team is adhering to that travel policy when they book trips, saving you money and also keeping Travelers safe.
- Take advantage of the TMCs partnerships and brand collaborations so you can access travel deals you won’t find elsewhere.
- Fulfill your duty of care, keeping your Travelers safe with extra features and services such as Traveler tracking and evacuation services.
- Uncover data regarding every aspect of the business travel process so you can make informed decisions regarding your business travel moving forward.
- Offer 24/7 support for your Travelers while they’re on the road so they always have assistance in the event of a delay, cancelation or emergency.
Still Not Convinced? Give Managed Travel a Closer Look This Small Business Saturday
Still think that your SME doesn’t need managed travel? We’ve heard all the standard reasons as to why you might not.
You think managed travel won’t fit into your company culture. You think your employees won’t adhere to a new managed travel policy. You’re not large enough to need managed travel. And, of course, the biggest reason of all — you just can’t afford it.
However, all of the above misconceptions are just that: misconceptions. Your SME can afford managed travel and, honestly, probably can’t afford not to have managed travel.
Learn more about what a TMC can do for your SME when you speak with someone from JTB Business Travel to learn more about our expansive suite of offerings. We can help you put together a managed travel solution that works for your SME’s unique individual needs.