Today with the busy schedule and with a growing number of new responsibilities of managers it is interesting to see how many companies are choosing to outsource management of their travel programs. The trend is the skills required to do the job is moving away from internal ownership and shifting to outsourcing with introduction of new technologies and mobile internet. Cornerstone website reveals,  according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation, “Travel managers report that mobility, virtual payments, and data are helping to transform their roles and responsibilities”. For some companies managing this aspect is a full-time job on their own, so it is not surprising that outsourcing to a third party is attractive.

Scenario

The improving economic climate in the world has made a way to industries that have not traditionally been in BPO services. Professional Outsourcing Resources states that with this in mind, contact center vendors should pay attention to the travel and tourism sector, which holds significant potential for third-party front-office BPO services. Vendors can also benefit from lessons learned  when formulating plans to find prospects in this industry.

It is apparent that traditionally, travel management (TM) companies booked three things for corporations: plane flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals. TM services like Expedia perform these tasks online and offer virtual service 24/7. Nevertheless, TM outsourcing providers do a lot more than above such as outsourcing personnel and continually expanding their service offerings.

A solution

On Outsourcing Centre website, Robert Goodman says, Travel Industry Analyst, Gartner, standard TM services are becoming low cost, while TM competition is intensifying. Mid-range service companies tend to offer similar services at lower prices and online consumer services are blooming. Therefore, value-added services are becoming the key competitive differentiator in outsourced TM for suppliers.

Generally, these services fall into the categories below:

  • Consulting;
  • Business intelligence (BI) tools;
  • Integrating TM applications with customers’ back-end ones;
  • Security;
  • Meeting scheduling;
  • Full service programs;
  • Global reach;
  • Point services via hosted solutions;
  • Complementary procurement services.

Obviously, business travel program has to be financially responsible and consist with a review process and not just the businessperson taking the trip. Many larger companies employ travel managers to perform these task and they always have to ensure that it meets all of the company’s needs. For some companies it may be difficult for a finance manager oversee travel plans and still maintain the business needs. Only solution is to request various travel providers for help. But what is the best way to mange?

Fortunately according to Travel Technology and Solutions, outsourcing business travel arrangements is easy and smart. There are some drawbacks, which have to be considered but for many companies outsourcing travel management would be the right business option.

Advantages

  • Travel management companies(TMCs), can take over the stress of travel bookings;
  • Handled by a TMC that has the expertise to understand the language and has the ability to negotiate with the providers for the best rates possible;
  • Using an outsourced company would make Travel programs fixed cost without adding any additional costs;
  • Cost-effective to outsource as one travel agency can handle the full account.

Disadvantages

  • It can be a bit harder to do a review of the quality of the work of a TMC because it is not an employee subject to regular reviews and feedback;
  • Makes things more culturally difficult to handle keeping company goals and values in mind;
  • Companies that have multiple offices across the country and around the world would not need to take suggestions or directions from someone outside the organisation.

Conclusion

As the global demand for travel and leisure services grows the industry must keep up with customer expectations. In view of this, companies are being compelled to create new business models to improve customer satisfaction while lowering costs. So it is apparent, TMCs are able to relieve a considerable amount of stress from corporations and their employees who travel for business.  Outsourcing travel management is a smart way for the right companies to serve the competing business travelers and corporate executives without a doubt.

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