The 7 Benefits of a Corporate Travel AgencyBy Mike Baker
Many growing businesses outsource the management of their travel programs to travel agents. Here’s why.
The more your employees travel, the more complicated it becomes for the company to keep track of employees’ comings and goings — and the travel expenses incurred by all that back and forth.
And the more employees travel, the more time they must spend organizing travel plans and submitting expense reports.
If all this time is starting to add up, it may be time to look into enlisting a corporate travel agency.
In the last post, we dove into the basics of corporate travel agencies — who they are, what they do, and how they help growing businesses.
In this post, we’ll go one step further: What are the benefits of using a corporate travel agency?
There are always pros and cons to outsourcing, so the question is whether the benefits you gain will make it a smart move for you.
Here are some of the benefits of a corporate travel agency you’ll want to consider before making a decision:
If your company doesn’t have a process in place to manage business travel , you are missing two critical puzzle pieces: ability to control spending, and visibility into your travel and expense numbers.
Your lack of a managed travel program virtually assures over-spending, and having no visibility stymies your ability to improve by analyzing data. A corporate travel agency can bring order and consistency to your travel program, in ways that benefit both your bottom line and your traveling employees.
As your working partner for travel, the agency serves as a one-stop resource.
One of the primary reasons to outsource is access to expertise from travel professionals.
Corporate travel planning and execution can be very complex, so agencies hire experienced corporate travel agents who understand the needs and challenges of your traveling employees.
They know which amenities are most desirable, plus innumerable other “inside” travel industry details that can improve travel convenience, comfort, and safety.
An agency can assemble a list of preferred providers based on your company’s travel policy guidelines and budget. That streamlines the booking process for employees.
An agency can also handle bookings on your behalf, saving your corporate travelers even more time. Taking the arrangements out of employees’ hands assures compliance to your company's corporate travel policy.
That helps financially, but you also risk losing flexibility and sense of independence, both of which can be distinct benefits for your travelers.
Unpredictability is a hallmark of travel these days.
Inevitably, something will go wrong with an employee's business travel plans. Knowing they can get access customer service, day or night, brings peace of mind to everyone connected to your corporate travel program.
Duty of Care
A corporate travel agency can provide risk management advice and service that ensure communication and support for business travelers.
It’s all about economies of scale. Agencies use their established relationships and collective bargaining power (the combined spend of all their clients) to negotiate discounted rates and/or more favorable traveler amenities than you might get on your own. They can help you develop a reasonable-yet-lean travel budget.
A corporate travel agency can help analyze travel and expense patterns. By knowing what you’re spending and where the dollars are going, you can make better forecasts for budgeting and see where you can save without sacrificing the comfort level and convenience you want for your employees.
Refining your approach to corporate travel helps you reallocate financial capital to spend on business growth – R&D, client development, advertising, etc. It also frees up that all-important asset – human capital – because the less time your people have to spend fussing around with travel arrangements the more time they can spend on things that matter — like acquiring new customers. Or kicking back with their feet up to contemplate the Next Big Thing for your company.
But must you hire a corporate travel agency to get these benefits? Not necessarily. An in-house travel manager can accomplish the same thing, especially if you use a travel management platform (like Lola.com) as part of your team.
With Lola at your team’s fingertips, travel planning and tracking are a snap. Travelers can easily book travel that meet policy guidelines for price and quality. Tracking expenses is merely a matter of capture and send, putting T&E data right at your travel and finance managers’ fingertips, in real time.
Lola can do it all, all without sacrificing flexibility or individual choice. What’s more, Lola users have 24/7 access to live, expert travel consultants for assistance with anything from last-minute itinerary changes to emergency situations. In fact Lola is so valuable, your small business may not need an outside agency after all.
Want to see if Lola.com’s super simple travel management platform is right for you? Schedule a FREE Corporate Travel Assessment with one of our travel experts today.