Travel Counsellors is an award-winning independent travel company that’s seeing increasing growth in its corporate travel division due to clients recognising the benefits of having their own personal travel manager available to them 24/7 when required. The company’s Global Sales Director Jim Eastwood responds to emerging trends in corporate travel and explores what matters to travel bookers today.
What are travel bookers looking for in a travel management company these days?
Simply put, travel management companies should help to make their clients lives easier, through genuine personalisation, complementary technology solutions and identifying opportunities to make savings. Whether they’re hopping across the UK by train to catch a meeting or taking a long-haul flight to the USA for a business conference, clients, and particularly the people who book travel for their colleagues, need to know that every detail will be taken care of, and that their people will travel safely and seamlessly.
To truly take care of every detail travel management companies need to nurture strong relationships with travel partners. It not only ensures seamless journeys for travelling clients, but close relationships with travel suppliers such as airlines and hotels offer a direct point of contact if things happen to go wrong. Travel Counsellors bespoke-built ‘Phenix’ platform gives bookers access to the best travel partners, carefully selected to ensure they reflect the highest levels of service we expect for our clients.
As technology advances at a pace, travel management companies must also adapt to, and meet client expectations in the digital era. Travel Counsellors ‘myTC’ app supports the client relationship, and has 14,000 users who take advantage of travel documentation and travel alerts on-the-go. The technology maintains the human touch, acting as a tool to stay in constant contact with the traveller at the ‘tap’ of a button, and reinforces the duty of care we have for our clients.
All this combined allows Travel Counsellors and bookers to identify process improvements, maximise efficiencies and make cost savings for clients.
How important is round the clock support and how can this be provided in practice?
They say time is money, especially in business, and travel managers can play their part in ensuring business travel clients enjoy seamless, hand-crafted journeys no matter the time zone. A travel management company that has an international presence, like Travel Counsellors, provides essential 24-hour support. We provide a world-class service based in seven markets and serving global clients across all time zones. Our Travel Counsellor colleagues and support team in Australia, for example, ensures that we can be available for our clients 24 hours a day.
Why do face-to-face meetings still matter in the digital age?
Travel Counsellors supports nearly 300,000 passengers per year taking 120,000 business trips, sourced by over 1,800 expert Travel Counsellors. While video conferencing is becoming more and more prevalent and is the norm at companies like Travel Counsellors that operate globally, some business transactions call for face-to-face communication.
Where possible, our Travel Counsellors will regularly meet their clients to understand their wants and needs, keep up-to-date with the latest company developments and ensure that the travel service they’re providing meets, and exceeds, all expectations. In many cultures around the world few things build trust like a face-to-face meeting, and for travel bookers, being able to trust their travel manager to deliver their business travel requirements is essential. This ‘one point of contact’, concierge-style service is unparalleled amongst travel management companies who operate in an increasingly crowded and complex corporate travel space.
What’s the difference between a good travel management company and a great travel management company?
A great travel management company becomes a natural extension of the existing client business. Quite simply, they show they care on a daily basis, by building trusted relationships and consistently adding measurable value. It’s the personal touch that really sets companies apart – It could be 2am and a client is stuck at an airport half way across the world, but they’re only ever one phone call away from finding an alternative route home or a hotel bed for the night. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is, great travel management companies must show they care, be proactive, and anticipate any eventuality.
They must also care about their clients’ businesses as much as they do their own, taking on a consultant role to help work out the best ways to meet both their business travel needs and company budgets. As as a matter of course, we provide management insights, health and safety compliance, plus access to leisure travel services and MICE expertise via the company’s specialist groups and events teams, providing a comprehensive, full-service solution.
The use of AI (Artificial intelligence) should be used to support the booking journey and complement the service provided by travel managers. Travel Counsellors is continuing to invest in new technology that adds value to our clients’ travel experiences, investing £6m in new developments throughout 2018 alone.
We’ve also noticed an increase in leisure bookings from corporate clients, whether that’s increasing the length of stay to accommodate ‘Bleisure’ time, or booking holidays for regular business travel clients. As an independent travel company, companies like Travel Counsellors are well placed to offer a 360° travel experience for clients, that includes any form of travel they need.
Travel Counsellors is a top 20 corporate travel management company in the UK.
Travel Counsellors Ashleigh Mayger and Lizanne Bosman offer a host of corporate travel services and manage a range of client accounts, from SME’s to large companies with overseas offices.
For all travel enquiries contact Ashleigh on 0845 058 7657 / firstname.lastname@example.org and Lizanne on 020 3603 5280 / Lizanne.email@example.com, or visit Travel Counsellors for Business at https://business.travelcounsellors.com/en/home-en/