22 Mar 2017

It’s an indisputable fact that the adage, ‘time is money’ applies across all industries. This is especially applicable to entrepreneurs and SMMEs where people multi-task, with many of their working hours taken up by non-core, non-profitable administrative activities.

A pertinent example of this type of activity is the planning and management of corporate travel. There’s a growing perception that corporate travellers save on travel management company (TMC) fees by going online and arranging the trip themselves. The reality is that the TMC fee is the smallest part of the transaction.

“Partnering with a TMC invariably improves productivity and time management,” says Wally Gaynor, Managing Director of Club Travel Corporate.

“Consider the huge amount of time small business owners or their assistants spend searching multiple travel sites for the best deals on flights, accommodation, car hire, etc. Then, when returning to the original site, say for flight bookings, discovering that the fare has gone up. It happens! Many travel sites are good at tracking behaviour and changing prices. The answer is to use a reputable, expert and professional TMC that knows all the so-called tricks of the trade.”

Using a TMC is as if the SMME or entrepreneur has a virtual travel assistant/PA. In today’s technology-driven world, the most favourable results are more-often-than-not achieved by using technology backed up by a real, live, expert human being.

“Increasingly, travellers want access to a system that enables them to get their basic bookings done easily online,” says Wally. “But for optimum effectiveness the basics must happen in combination with a human behind the system who assists with the more complicated issues. This is particularly relevant when unforeseen events occur, for example, an airport ground staff strike causing serious delays.”

In addition, the system alone cannot always give travellers the specifics they want or need. Say they’re travelling to Paris and have heard of an especially good boutique hotel or guest house that’s not on the system. The reality is that there’s no system in the world which has everything. That’s when the traveller contacts the TMC’s travel assistant who listens, understands, finds the facility, books it, puts it in the system and fulfils the traveller’s need.

“Besides saving time with the resultant financial reward, a good TMC also saves the corporate traveller money via bulk discount deals the TMC team has negotiated with all relevant suppliers,” says Wally. “Often the saving on these deals more than makes up for the TMC’s service fees.”

A good TMC forges true partnerships with SMMEs or entrepreneurs during their travels – both in the air and on the ground. Proactive and reactive assistance is very real and happens 24/7, wherever it is required. “The days of airlines paying commission to agents are long gone,” says Wally. “Today the TMCs are agents of their clients. The corporate traveller’s safety, comfort and peace of mind take precedence over everything else.”