If there is something to be analyzed, captured, simplified, booked, or secured, there’s a technology company available to assist your travel program in doing so. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to choose travel management software and services for optimal coverage and efficiency.
Understanding the Travel Management Software and Services Available
Organizations are faced with several consolidation efforts each year, including re-evaluating what tools are useful to serve the broader organization and how to reduce costs by cutting out redundancies.
Within a corporate travel program, the most common providers to work with are travel management companies (TMCs), duty of care providers, price assurance providers, and data partners. So, let’s review each service type to see how they serve the needs of your organization and your travelers.
Travel Management Companies (TMCs)
TMCs are the core of any medium to large-scale business with traveling employees. Some of a TMC’s main responsibilities are to be a policy-guided booking agency and provide customer service and reporting on bookings made through their platform. Depending on the size and scale of your selected TMCs, they may offer discounts to their customers made possible through their amalgamated spend across all their customers. The ability to offer volume-based discounts gives larger TMCs an edge over smaller TMCs, as they can offer proprietary discounts other TMCs can’t.
Some TMCs will offer meeting and event planning services that you can leverage and keep your travel coordination within one company. Some also offer consulting services for program analysis and recommendations on ways to improve your travel program and/or reduce costs.
When you’re choosing a TMC for your organization, it’s important to consider which TMCs offer the best service for your company size, travel volume, and travel footprint (E.g. domestic or global, and in which regions). Some of the TMCs that Traxo trusts and partners with include American Express Global Business Travel, TripActions, CTM, Christopherson, Fox World Travel and others, which are listed on our partnerships page.
Duty of Care Providers
Duty of Care (DOC) providers are essential to any well-established corporate travel program and commonly work in conjunction with your chosen TMC. A duty of care provider is your company’s risk management service, which is provided booking data from your TMC and a travel data aggregation solution (like Traxo). Duty of Care providers offer expertise for around-the-globe security and travel risk management — They are the ones to call when an incident unfolds during business travel and are the “boots-on-the-ground” support your travelers depend on when faced with a crisis situation or medical emergency.
Many DOC providers offer dashboards to help travel management teams understand the risks their business travelers face, among other tools. For example, International SOS developed a COVID-19 trip planner during the pandemic's peak to help travelers understand the travel restrictions and rules wherever their travels led them.
Traxo partners with International SOS, Global Guardian, JESI, Crisis 24 and other duty of care suppliers. Our real-time data aggregation service complements duty of care services because we capture rogue bookings that would otherwise miss out on duty of care coverage — which is a highly-dangerous and unnecessary risk to today’s corporate travel programs.
Each travel program includes four key spending areas including airfare, lodging, transportation, meals and entertainment. Within each category, there is an opportunity to consolidate and shift spending to commonly used providers that can offer your company incentives or discounts when reaching key spending milestones. Oftentimes, these are called “for business” programs, like Uber for Business and Delta for Business.
Some “for business” programs with travel providers are free to enroll and come without any minimum spend requirements or contractual obligations. These programs are typically an opportunity for smaller businesses to start collecting data on their travel with a specific vendor and accrue points. Whereas other programs that offer more enticing incentives will have a minimum spend eligibility (that needs to be proven spend, typically through TMC or business intelligence reporting), are bound by contract, and are often revisited throughout the year to ensure you are bringing the vendor enough percentage of your quarterly or annual spend.
Business programs are beneficial for small-mid market-size companies—ones that may not have a ton of business travel on the horizon or ones that may not even have an established travel program. On the flip side, they can also complement large-scale travel programs and assist travel managers in reducing spend by offering discounts, upgrades, and point-based reward programs that can offset trip costs.
Price Assurance Providers
Price assurance providers are the magicians behind corporate travel savings! These companies typically fall into three categories; rate auditing, re-shopping and/or supplier negotiations. Gone are the days of book it and forget it! With these tools in the mix, you can instill confidence that your travelers will always get the best rate available within the guidelines your company has established. Armed with data, price assurance providers can also help companies make the most of their RFP process and supplier negotiations (usually based on volume).
To learn more about the price assurance landscape in corporate travel, download our price assurance eBook. It explains the components of a powerful price assurance strategy and the major players in the price assurance space, including TRIPBAM, BTP Automation, SmartHotelRate and others.
Data Aggregation Tools
Data aggregators like Traxo capture and normalize all travel data regardless of the booking source. In fact, with two patents under our belt, we’re the only data solution that offers comprehensive data aggregation from ALL booking channels in real-time—including 100,000+ airline, hotel and car rental companies.
We give travel managers the ability to report on all travel data without manually and painstakingly gathering data, attempting to consolidate varied data into cohesive reports, and then analyzing booking trends and spending.
Traxo is necessary for any travel program that wants to eliminate travel data blind spots, capture its entire data set, understand its travelers’ preferences and behavior, and supply travel management partners with the data needed for optimal service.
Data Analysis Services
Data analysis can come from your TMC or independent data analysis firms, like DVI and Goldspring Consulting. It can also be performed internally using business intelligence and data visualization tools like PowerBI and Tableau. For example, our ZS Associates case study explains how Suzanne Boyan and her team partnered with Goldspring Consulting to analyze ZS’s travel program and decide on policy changes. Now, Suzanne’s team uses Traxo and its TMC to bring a comprehensive dataset into ZS Connections—the company’s custom business intelligence platform. There are dozens of ways to handle data analysis, but the underlying need is the same: complete data.
Get Started with Traxo
If you’re assembling or revamping your company’s travel program, make sure you’re partnered with today’s most innovative companies in corporate travel. In addition to a service-oriented TMC and reputable duty of care provider, a data aggregation provider like Traxo is essential. Contact us with the form below to connect with a travel data expert today.
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