How do you source the right TMC for your business?

The business travel market is a huge arena, filled with numerous firms, such as travel management companies or consultants, all specialising in offering expert advice and travel services. We’ve compiled a list of the best out there to help support assistants this year…

Whether it’s booking a visa, researching for the best budget hotel or choosing a private charter flight, a personal assistant is often the one left to manage the task. With factors such as Brexit, rising airfares and fluctuating hotel prices all coming into play, never has it been more imperative for a PA to ensure they have the right knowledge and tools to book business travel.

“In many companies, the role of managing business travel often falls to the PA, along with the many other roles they have,” Simon Rowland, head of sales at CT Business Travel, tells PA Life.

“It is big business and forecasts suggest business travel spend will continue to rise, despite the uncertainty of Brexit. PAs are expected to juggle travel policies, employees’ duty of care, invoice and cost reconciliation and negotiate the best rates at the same time. It is time-consuming and bosses often take this for granted.”

That’s where a travel consultant, agent or management company can come into play – their expertise can lend a helping hand to anyone looking to book a corporate trip, whether that is in the UK or abroad.

The business travel arena is an ever-changing beast, making it difficult for an assistant to keep on top of the constant adaptations to the market – an expert in the field is the best port of call, especially if pricing and budgets are a key focus point.

However, although pricing is often a priority, it is also worth thinking about an employees’ health and well-being when they are travelling long distances. By garnering forward-thinking knowledge from a TMC or consultant, assistants can ensure that employees will travel safely.

Neal Poole, director of marketing at Capita Travel and Events, shares: “When it comes to travelling on business, an employee’s health, well-being, safety and security should be high on the agenda for any organisation.

“The value of a forward-thinking travel management company can support with this. By providing access to powerful technology and insight-led data enables smarter decision-making (or nudges), helping avoid unnecessary travel. And when the need for travel arises, employees can do so with the comfort of knowing; health, well-being, safety and security are the priority, making a real difference for travellers.”

With all of this in mind, turning to the appropriate industry expert, whether that is a TMC or consultant, can make sense of this fast-paced market, making the job of a PA that little more manageable.

“When booking business travel isn’t your full-time job, it can feel like a bit of a minefield to navigate, but with the right guidance, it’s really not that difficult to start cutting costs, getting better deals and keeping your travellers safe, secure and happy,” adds David Chapple, event director for the Business Travel Show.