If you have a large team of employees who travel frequently on business, it can be beneficial to use a corporate travel agency for efficiency, economies of scale and expert travel advice. Newer technologies are taking up the role of a corporate travel agent in today’s business world, so agile organisations can efficiently manage and book travel in house.
In the past, paper tickets meant that a corporate travel agent could save time by issuing and delivering tickets, booking confirmations and itineraries. Nowadays, online booking and e-tickets is the norm, so it’s much easier and quicker for employees to search and book directly. Modern travel and expense management systems offer trip search and direct booking, using analytics to locate the best options for a particular meeting or event to support employees and deliver value.
Most organisations have a corporate travel policy that sets out who employees can book with, how much they can spend and what kind of travel expenses are allowed. Rather than leaving employees to search the entire web, organisations frequently provide a portal or app with approved suppliers, routes and cost limits, to make it easier to search and book.
Here are five benefits of using a corporate travel agent, either by outsourcing to a third party or through an intelligent travel system that’s licensed to issue tickets for corporate travel.
1. A corporate travel agency can use their established relationships with airlines or hotels to negotiate better rates and discounts. Agencies with a large customer base may be able to achieve better savings, because of the volume of bookings they make.
2. A corporate travel agency or system saves employees time, compared to searching the web every time they need a flight, accommodation or meeting space.
3. An ARC or IATA licensed corporate travel agent can issue tickets directly to employees rather than involving a third party organisation.
4. A system-led corporate travel agent provides reports that show the most frequently used routes, hotels and travel services. Travel managers use this information to make sure they have the right preferred suppliers and can satisfy demand. As well as volume discounts from established suppliers, travel managers can explore other low cost or local options to suit employee needs.
5. In-house corporate travel management reports, available on demand, can help managers anticipate and manage expenses budgets. Leading systems can associate spending with projects and campaigns, so it’s clear how the expenses are contributing to business goals.
6. A corporate travel agency may provide traveller support, helping to solve issues when employees are travelling. For example, re-arranging cancelled flights, advising on safety in cases of civil unrest and severe weather, finding alternative routes or changing timings at the last minute. Organisations have a duty of care to employees travelling on business: a corporate travel system of record means they know where their people are and how to contact them with advice or assistance if needed.
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