If you’re considering partnering with a Travel Management Company (TMC) as you scale your business, keep in mind that this is not a decision to take lightly. There are key qualities to look for in a TMC, to meet your organization’s business travel needs and goals.
Here are the eight qualities to look for in a TMC for your small to mid-size business.
For best results, you’ll want a TMC that comes with a track record. How many years has the TMC that you’re considering working with been in business? How many clients has the company worked with in the past? What are the reviews like? Can you speak with any of the existing clients to learn more about their experiences?
Ideally, you’ll partner with a TMC that’s been in the industry for multiple years, allowing them time to encounter a wide range of issues — issues that you’ll want help with if they arise for your business. Think beyond just day-to-day business travel issues, but larger, global issues as well. During an event like a worldwide pandemic, wouldn’t you want someone on your side who’s been through similar events before, and helped businesses navigate the business travel world accordingly? Or someone who’s seen and helped clients go through economic shifts?
Experience is one quality that can’t be replaced in a TMC.
You never know what’s going to happen in travel, though, even with decades of experience. An agile TMC partner is always on their toes, ready to help you pivot and maneuver your way through tricky travel situations.
Whether it’s keeping travelers safe when unforeseen events arise, or helping team members travel under unexpected circumstances, an agile TMC partner won’t give you an excuse as to why they can’t help in the midst of those circumstances. Instead, they’ll find a way through, around or over your most complex travel hurdles.
But what good is an experienced or agile TMC if you don’t have a partner who’s available to you when, where and how you need them? If your team is frequently traveling across time zones, or if your team works remotely and asynchronously, you may need to work with a TMC who’s available at odd hours.
Thankfully, many TMCs offer 24/7 support in a variety of ways, whether your team prefers to talk to a live person, chat, or communicate via text or email. However, while this is an amenity that many TMCs offer, it’s not one that every single TMC offers — which is why this is one of the qualities to look for in a TMC that you’ll want to ask about before signing on the dotted line.
As technology advances, so does business travel. Do you really want to work with a TMC that’s stuck in the dinosaur age, especially when there’s so much travel-related tech coming onto the market at the moment, that can make your team members’ travel easier, more efficient and automated, more affordable and more eco-friendly?
Earlier this year, Amadeus released a list of travel tech startups to watch in 2023, and the travel tech coming onto the scene at the moment is astounding. From software to help companies achieve climate goals while simultaneously reducing costs, to airport digital concierge services, the future of business travel is fascinating — and you’ll want a TMC that’s moving into that future with you.
Travel certainly is never set in stone, so why should your TMC be? Look for a partner who’ll be flexible enough to meet your individual needs and help you reach your individual goals. Travel services are never one-size-fits-all, and your TMC should be willing to help you with services that fit your needs, both now and later.
6. A good cultural fit
Of course, you’ll want a TMC that’s a good cultural fit for your team. Take a look at how your team uniquely works and travels, as well as your existing travel policies. How easily will this TMC fit into what’s currently working for you? Are they going to make what’s currently working even better? Or will they potentially shake up the status quo — and not in a good way? Do they understand the needs of a smaller business, or do they only have experience working with large corporations?
Consider the needs of your team first and foremost, and then pick a TMC that will fit those needs.
Just like you want your TMC to be cognizant of the latest tech that can make your travelers’ lives easier, you also probably want a TMC who is up to date on all the latest ways to use data to your advantage. How do they track your data, and what data points do they pay attention to?
If they’re gathering robust data on your company’s travel habits, they’ll be more likely to help you adjust your travel according to that data in order to help you better meet your travel, policy and budgetary goals.
Add all of the above qualities to look for in a TMC together and what do you have? Comprehensive service that will keep you covered, from the time of travel planning to booking to the travel itself and afterward, with expense reporting and data compilation and analysis.
But you don’t just want a TMC who covers every part of the travel process. That comprehensiveness can be stretched further to cover every member of your team who’s even remotely involved in the business travel process, from Travel Managers and the travelers themselves, to executives and other decision-makers.
Discover JTB Business Travel’s Comprehensive Care
This kind of comprehensive attention is exactly what you can expect when you partner with JTB Business Travel as your trusted TMC. No matter your company size, no matter your travel habits, we can help with every step of the way with our modern, tech-savvy, agile and experienced approach to all things business travel.