Whether you already have a travel management company (TMC) or are thinking of procuring one, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure they are the correct fit for your organisation especially when operating in a sector as complex as renewable energy.
Here are four questions that should be on your agenda when evaluating your current and potential business travel providers:
Question 1: Do they have experience of managing travel in the renewable energy industry? Can they demonstrate that they understand the needs of travellers in the sector?
Questioning a TMC on their experience and capabilities is paramount to establishing whether they are the correct fit for you. A TMC that understands the complexities and intricacies of the renewable energy industry and the travellers within it is vital if you’re to receive real value from your new supplier.
Whilst a TMC with a long history is important, one that can tailor it’s offering towards the energy industry is even more beneficial. Managing crew and business travel is complex, especially when the nature of the travel is mission critical, as it is in the renewables industry. There are also constant changes and a variety of suppliers, tools and processes involved and so it can’t be approached in the same way as traditional corporate travel. A specialist TMC will understand the drivers and challenges of the energy industry and the need for adaptable solutions and dynamic servicing specific to the sector.
With experience comes benefits such as marine and offshore fares. Read our expert insight on the specialist fares and why they are still relevant in today’s market.
Question 2: Where are they located globally?
It’s important to compare global office locations and to see if your key markets match with theirs, whether that’s on a global, regional or local level. Even if you are managing travel on a local country basis at present the parallels between locations means that should a time come for global consolidation then you are fully prepared with a supplier who can support you through this. The need to be future focussed is paramount to ensuring you do not outgrow the travel management company and as a result have to repeat the tender process sooner than you would like to.
The nature of the relationship between the TMC’s offices is also key. For example, many organisations present themselves as one unified company when in reality they are an amalgamation of different companies operating under the same name. This can signal issues in regard to compliance, consolidation and control.
However, it’s important that your organisation doesn’t become a small fish in a big pond, ask how the size of your account compares with their other clients to ensure your needs are not dwarfed by those of larger clients.
Question 3: Who will you be interacting with at the TMC?
Finding out who will be servicing your account on a day to day basis is crucial. Whether the staff are designated or dedicated, enquire regarding their sector experience and knowledge of servicing similar accounts. The team will need to be adept at managing fast paced accounts, where plans frequently change. This expertise must translate from front line travel consultants to the account manager and executive stakeholders.
Also investigate regarding training and investment in staff to ensure the people servicing your account are up to date with the industry.
Question 4: What is their approach to duty of care?
Duty of care might be a hot topic right now but more importantly it’s a legal obligation for all organisations, therefore finding a TMC that will fully support your company and travellers is paramount. You need to be confident that your people travel safely and securely.
The wide ranging locations that renewable energy companies operate in only further highlights the importance of traveller safety. Therefore enquire regarding the TMC’s approach to duty of care, do they offer in-house solutions or refer you to a third party provider? Should they have an in-house offering, is it flexible? Can it be tailored to your requirements and the level of support you need, whether that’s technology to easily track clients 24/7 or the backing of an incident support team.
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