Dynamics and requirements change as businesses grow, can TMCs keep up?
Businesses with operations in more than one country can have complex travel requirements that vary from country to country. In the same way, companies with requirements that exceed the ‘one-size-fits-all countries’ approach in their travel programmes can find working with the traditional TMC model challenging. But what are the service requirements from companies that are expanding internationally and how can global TMCs meet these?
As companies expand into additional countries or markets, they start to realise the need for a managed travel programme that can grow and adapt with them, and offers the agility to act quickly. A lack of flexibility in a travel programme can create problems and frustrations that put this huge business segment at risk of falling out of love with the travel management profession.
Entrepreneurial businesses demand both adaptability and efficiency. A constantly changing business means travel plans are often last minute and can add extra pressure when it comes to rescheduling itineraries and bookings. As a result, a fully flexible offer is often a key part of the travel brief. This is where a TMC can add value, expertise and insight to deliver travel programmes that can support growth and scale up or down as required.
What can a global TMC offer a growing company?
Companies working to grow require maximum productivity. Time spent by employees on planning, booking travel and negotiating prices with travel suppliers is time spent away from the business – not the most efficient way to grow.
For those companies travelling between countries there will be a need to strike the right balance between a globally managed programme that can offer consistency in terms of technology platforms, data and reporting and support around duty of care against having their travel needs met at a local level.
Truly global TMCs have the advantage of being able to maintain delivery around local content, market insight and knowledge against the backdrop of a larger network. For growing companies this is imperative. Operations should be scalable to aid those thriving and mature regions, and to also provide support to emerging regions where the business may have small scale travel management requirements. It is only really businesses like this that see this level of diversity in their portfolio, and it takes care and attention with a 24/7 approach for a TMC to service this properly.
When appointing a TMC, companies should ensure they have a clear understanding of the scale of their network and global footprint and the level of support that is available should their brief change. One distinct advantage is the global buying and fare sourcing capability that leads to the best value fares for clients. Within this context, visibility and analysis of a company’s total travel spend is just as important to management, and is another area where TMCs can consolidate data, show savings and identify new opportunities to support a client’s wider operations and profitability. When deciding on who to appoint, companies should ensure they have a TMC partner on-board that can flex and enhance their service offer and capabilities as they grow. Insight and access to innovative technology that give a forensic view on spend and travel performance, as well as a global network that can support changing needs, should be the guiding principles of any appointment decision.
By working as a true partner, global TMCs can then become key facilitators in enabling growing enterprises to realise their ambitions for growth on a global scale.
By Gary Pearce, chief commercial officer, ATPI.
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