How to Choose an Appropriate Business Travel Agency?
Traveling is an integral part of businesses with an international presence – it is essential to maintain the business flow despite online methods or tools. The travel expenses come from the company’s budget – and one cannot spend indiscriminately on the comfort some think they need – even if they reside at the top of the company chain. That’s why policies about business travel exist, and the company places immense importance on it. Moreover, it is one of the reasons established businesses opt to acquire the services of a skilled business travel agency.
Some people have questioned the utility of hiring a separate company to handle the traveling of corporate employees. They should for two main reasons – firstly, the corporate employees cannot spend time looking for rooms or hotels, and secondly – to decrease the number of rogue bookings. Booking accommodations outside of the company policy is a problem. According to available data, about 46% of business travelers do it. So one needs to handle these problems by combining technology with human service help and trip support.
What is a business travel agency?
A service provider that looks after the smooth travel experience for its customers can be called a business travel agency. They help business travelers book the right travel plan and optimize the costs to align with the applicable company policies.
Moreover, these agencies can streamline travel costs by booking the right flights, accommodation, and itinerary. Such smooth travel management for a company representative or stakeholder not only enhances the traveler’s overall experience but also helps ensure that all travel-related needs are met at the right time and with 100% satisfaction.
Business travel agencies differ in types and services provided – and it’s tough to summarize them. For example, large agencies may have support in different languages but charge for every call. On the other hand, smaller businesses may provide all the required services for a monthly premium fee – but they may not cover all languages. They may also not be available at a specific time outside their hours of operations.
However, some standard services a business travel agency can provide are the following:
• Reserve tours for personnel
• Provide tourism clarifications and provisions for terminations, reorganizing, etc
• Discuss group rates and corporate rates for their clients
The advantages of using a business travel agency
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are several reasons why you should hire a business travel agency to handle the corporate travel for your business. As different companies have their reasons to travel; the most familiar reasons of these are mentioned below:
• Complement the absence of a specific manager
The office staff may have significant work and cannot give their full attention to buying the tickets, hotels, or other travel arrangements. Moreover, the size of your company negates the employment of another worker to manage these points. So, in these cases, the business travel agencies may pick up the slack. They have travel experts in their staff who will know about the requirements and details of necessary travel arrangements so that you wouldn’t have to create another unnecessary employee payroll.
• Travel cost reports
Budget optimization by the business requires they know about the expenses each department requires for traveling and the details of their spending. It is often embarrassing or degrading to ask your colleague about their costs. A business travel agency can relieve the business from such unpleasantness – they can report on the stakeholders according to their team, department, or project – and help the firm keep a comprehensive track of all their expenses.
• Providing travel support
Although one may like it to become a reality – there is nothing such as perfect travel arrangements. During travels, the employee will face some troubles, and it might be challenging for the office manager to help them from far away. Often, travelers cannot get help at night or on weekends, while the office manager feels the strain of working overtime. Travel agencies mainly have employed individuals on location – and get results within a shorter time than the office manager. So, in these cases, hiring a travel manager is the more appropriate option.
• Providing group and corporate rates
Due to their business and contact with the hospitality centers of a location, a business travel firm will get more reasonable rates for their clients. Moreover, they can negotiate more effectively with these centers and get better rates for group travels and sustained business journeys.
• Enforcing compliance with travel policy
All businesses have rules – mainly about the permissible cost limits and the travel arrangements – that make up their travel policy. However, an office employee may not remember these while making arrangements, or the worker traveling can intentionally deviate from the travel policy. With an agent overseeing business travels, a firm will not have to worry about travel policy compliance. The travel agent will automatically enforce these guidelines while booking the trip.
Factors that make up a great business travel agency
When looking for a suitable business travel agency for your company, your primary goals should be to make the employee’s travel as easy as possible and control the trip’s cost. A good business travel firm will have to provide more wide-ranging services. Here are some of the critical factors you will need to consider before choosing a travel agency to handle your business trip planning:
• Purchaser-grade travel record
The firm should provide every possible option for flight carriers and hotel brands. They can use lower-cost airlines to reduce their airfare cost. In one sentence – the client shouldn’t have to search for another consumer tool for getting their required services. The business travel agent needs to provide every possible option for business without having to use another service.
• Stress-free reservation capability
Some deals often require more secrecy than other trips, including the travel plans and destination. So, the chosen business travel agent should allow the chance for the travelers to book their travel themselves. However, they need to successfully book for others also. The business should have real-time tracking tech to know the location of the employee on a business trip.
• Exceptional trip sustenance
One of the reasons why you should have a business travel agent for your company is to get conscious assistance for your trip issues. AI and automation can get you a booking or a hotel room – but it may not help you when your flight’s canceled and you have to get to an event. It would help if you had the human element at your disposal.
So, your chosen travel agency for your company travels must employ human assistance for these situations. The travel executives should quickly find you an alternate route and provide the support that encompasses all your travel needs. The service should be available all the time, in multiple languages, and must have great reviews from the clients.
• No concealed charges
A travel management company should have reasonable and transparent service charges and price mark-ups. Understandably, bookings out of the decided norm will be more costly – but if the travel company invoices payments for a simple booking or support calls – it is a big red flag. You should understand the fee structure of the business travel agency properly and clearly before signing on with them.
Relatedly, a “lower-cost” travel agent may cost more in the long run if they start to charge for every small, generic, and expected service. It is better to go for a company with a transparent, albeit slightly higher, fee structure than these less reliable companies.
• In-built travel guidelines and supports
The best way to ensure that the company employees obey the travel policy is to create a booking platform with the policies in-built and get the travelers and the administrators to use that particular online booking tool. However, your selected travel agent should ensure that their platform integrates these travel policies and approved workflows – and the employees should experience great travel. Your company employees should be on board with the platform – resulting in a practical business travel management system.
• Advanced and simply scalable
Your company will grow and spread into uncharted territories. Your chosen business travel company should strive to keep up with your progress and changing tourism requirements. Global business is evolving – so before you give the green light to a business travel agency to handle your company’s travel, it pays to ensure that the travel agent is innovative, flexible, and able to provide scalable solutions.
Big companies hire business travel agents for their employee journeys – the final cost is much less than a DIY effort. So, if your company requires efficient business travel management – choose a company like ALTOUR for the necessary services. They will answer all the questions you may have.