PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL IS PERSONAL

21 September 2017

Global corporate travel is on the rise with more and more businesspeople spending an increasing amount of time conducting business in foreign countries. The onus is on the travel booker to make the corporate traveller’s trip as comfortable and productive as possible; while still adhering to their company’s travel policy.

Partnering with an experienced, reputable travel management company (TMC) that’s focused on ways to increase cost saving and better reporting that assists companies ensure that their travellers are safe, that their travel policies are complied with and that they are getting value for money, makes good business sense.

“The relationship between the travel booker, the TMC and the corporate traveller is not cut-and-paste. It’s personal,” says Sharon Nash, Club Travel Corporate’s Travel Operations Director. “For example, a first time flyer’s needs are very different from a frequent traveller’s requirements; a conference delegation’s needs are not the same as those of a single traveller, and so on.”

Sharon points out that it is essential for traveller preferences to always be aligned with the company’s travel policy. When setting up a new account, the TMC must acquire comprehensive profiles for all employees who travel. This includes:

This vital information must then be uploaded into the TMC’s GDS booking system on which the consultants work. Once uploaded the information remains there. “So every time the consultant makes a booking, the traveller’s profile is automatically pulled through and inserted in the booking,” says Sharon. “In this way, no essential detail will be missed.”

The TMC should always appoint a dedicated consultant to each client, someone who, through collaboration with the organisation’s travel booker, has comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their corporate travellers’ needs and requirements. However, sometimes the dedicated consultant is not available. With the uploading of traveller information on the TMC’s booking system, any other consultant in the office will have access to the same essential information and successfully make the required travel arrangements.

“To be most effective, the relationship between travel booker, TMC and traveller must be dynamic,” says Sharon. “As the relationship evolves, the consultant gets to know the preferences, likes and dislikes of the traveller, details that may not be in the passenger profile.” These details often include:

The list goes on.

It may happen that corporate travellers experience unanticipated, on-the-ground realities which are not included in the company’s travel policy. It is then incumbent on the TMC to make the travel booker aware of these realities and encourage the company to work with it on mitigating tactics. In other words, to adapt the travel policy accordingly.