Does your business travel provider really have your back?
If your organisation is already partnered with a business travel provider, then you are probably familiar with the type of travel management services that are available. You may have a business card in your wallet with their phone number on it and know you have a travel policy in place that should be followed.
But how do you know if you’re really getting the most out of your travel partnership? Are you receiving value from your provider and when was the last time you spoke about what the future of business travel looked like for your company.
With many industry sectors considering travel again and more airlines looking to return to normal scheduling in the near future, what should your company be thinking about to enable safe and secure travel?
As specialists in business travel for small to medium-sized organisations, we have put together a list of 8 critical questions you need to be asking your travel provider now.
Who is my dedicated Travel Consultant or support agent?
The first port of call for you and your travellers for any issue or emergency is your dedicated Travel Consultant. If you don’t know the name of your Travel Consultant or don’t speak to the same person each time you call, how can you be assured of receiving high quality service from someone you know and trust?
A Travel Consultant will get to know you and your business. Every time you or one of your employees calls for assistance, they are familiar with your program, your policy, people, preferences and even your travel culture.
By having a dedicated Travel Consultant your business has a single point of contact, one number, one name and will receive knowledgeable service on every call. A good Travel Consultant will anticipate your needs, solving problems before they even show up.
Do you have service level agreements (SLA)?
Ask your travel provider if they have minimum standards for call waiting, ring times or if they have standards in place for turnaround times on both domestic and international travel requests when they are sent through to your Travel Manager. You should also be looking for SLA standards for non-transactional requests such as reporting and issue resolution.
Ensuring your travel provider is providing prompt and professional service is critical for keeping traveller satisfaction levels high and a positive travel culture within your organisation.
Who is my after-hours team and where is it located?
Many business travel providers operate international call centres, but a locally owned and operated 24/7 Assist Team ensures your people receive local advice from travel professionals that know what it takes to get you home quickly and safely in an emergency. A New Zealand-based team will have easy access to your company policy, risk management plan as well as stronger relationships with local airline, hotel and ground transport suppliers to liaise and negotiate with when the situation calls for it.
Having an after-hours team isn’t just a logistical lifesaver, it’s also a major part of your travel risk management plan and helps you to meet your duty of care obligations.
What functionality does your online travel booking tool have to:
a) Save travellers and Travel Bookers time?
Ask your travel provider what features their travel booking tool has to reduce the time it takes to make bookings. Advancements in travel booking technology is seeing market-leading tools like Corporate Traveller’s Savi online booking tool use artificial intelligence (AI) to dramatically cut down booking times.
Savi can make a standard booking in just 25 clicks compared to other online booking tools, which usually take around 41. Add in functionality for express check out and single-sign in and user time continues to fall.
b) Manage air credits on hold?
Your business should not be missing out on any air credits that are on hold. Savi has a unique credits on hold dashboard to ensure credit expiry dates are managed efficiently. Credits are flagged and colour-coded for usage and released to other travellers depending on their expiration date.
c) Ensure policy compliant bookings?
Does your travel booking tool ensure bookings are policy compliant at every stage of the booking process? Policy control becomes less of an issue for everyone if the tool has auto-policy selection so travellers don’t need to physically choose which is the approved option.
d) Support COVID-safe travel?
As travel volumes continue to increase domestically and internationally, having easy access to COVID-safe information at the time of booking will give travellers confidence they are travelling safely, while also supporting your organisation's duty of care.
Travel booking tools play an important role in supporting and informing travellers. For airlines that partner with Routehappy’s parent company ATPCO, advanced travel tools like Savi display up-to-date airline policies for COVID-19 at the time of booking.
Your booking tool should support passenger contact tracing requirements and also have some type of indicator or information on each hotel’s health and hygiene practices.
e) When was the last time your travel booking tool was updated with new functionality?
If it’s been a while since your travel provider has told you of a major update or enhancement being made to your travel booking tool, your business could well be missing out on time and cost savings that can only be realised with the support of modern technology.
What other technology do you have to streamline my travel processes?
There’s more to managing travel than an online booking tool and an app. Ask specifically for technology that offers the following:
- Tools that automate reconciliation.
- Flexible payment options.
- Capability to collate and present travel data in a variety of reports.
- Online location reporting.
- Technology that incorporates all of the above plus your booking tool within a single sign-in portal.
Once you have a big picture view of what tools your provider offers and how the tools integrate, it’s easier to determine which tools will add value and streamline your program.
How did you support clients in 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic?
If you were left high and dry by your business travel provider when the height of the coronavirus pandemic hit – this is even more reason to discuss travel support for your business. While very few people were travelling during this period, it is important to know your travel company has your back, even during the tough times. Keeping the communications lines open with information and advice to help businesses continue to grow should always be a priority for your business suppliers.
The points raised in this article are what Corporate Traveller believes are essential for cost and time efficient travel as well as safe travel. Put your business, travellers and your bottom line first with better service and travel technology.
Make the switch to Corporate Traveller
Request a demo today to:
✓ Explore our online booking and expensing platform.
✓ See how your current process can be improved.
✓ Find out how you can save money and time.
✓ See how easy reporting and expensing becomes.