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March 3, 2020

5 Things that Travel Buyers Value Most from TMCs

The relationship between travel buyers and travel management companies is considered one of the most critical and complicated relationships in corporate travel. So we were excited to dive into The Beat’s latest research report on TMC structure, sourcing, and satisfaction.

The research set out to understand how TMCs and travel buyers structure their commercial relationships, how frequently and through what means buyers source TMC partners, and which TMC services buyers value most. In order to do that, The Beat surveyed 177 corporate travel buyers with at least $500K in 2018 US-booked air volume.

Given what we know at TripActions about our customers and the future of business travel, we were not surprised to learn what buyers value most. We know there’s a better way.

When asked what is most important that TMCs deliver, the top 5 answers were:

  • Professional and responsive travel agents with the human touch.
  • Traveler satisfaction. Travel buyers are looking for higher adoption and leaning on their TMC to make that happen.
  • Accurate, timely, qualitative, and quantitative travel data, because “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
  • Effective account managers, or CSMs, who help them work on travel program goals and implement a strategy.
  • Comprehensive air, ground, and hotel content.

“Among service drivers most valued by buyers, two that crack the top five, including the No. 1 rated, relate to a TMC’s human touch: professional and responsive agents who face the traveler as well as effective account managers who interact with the travel manager,” the report explains.

The report also found that 83% of travel managers compensate their TMC on a per-transaction basis. The average TMC transaction fee is $25.20 on the phone, $18.01 online with agent assistance, and $7.84 online without agent assistance.

At TripActions, we charge a one-time trip fee that includes all and unlimited transactions, changes, and support.

Nearly half of the travel buyer respondents (45%) indicated their TMC deal lasts for three years, which is the most common term length. One-third of respondents (34%) bid for TMC services every 3 years -- the most common interval.

The majority of travel managers (92%) said that they are very involved in assisting with the selection of their organization’s TMC, but it is not travel managers alone. The survey found that 78% of procurement are very or somewhat involved and 74% of finance are somewhat or very involved in the process.

Given that many of these companies still rely on outdated corporate travel management tools, it is not surprising to find that only 26% of travel managers are very satisfied. Almost a third are not satisfied at all.

Based on the report, TMCs will soon be in the position of coordinating more diverse channels and varied content. Technology will drive this change with business travelers’ expectations and demands matching a new reality.

The good news is that travel managers and finance leaders can today move to a model that’s purpose-built for today, delivering unrivaled inventory choice, powerful personalization and 24/7 global travel agents that delight travelers and drive adoption. And as a result, gives us the spend visibility, control, data and insights we need to optimize our travel programs and policies, save money and fulfill our duty of care. And that finally gives us the tools to adjust the dials to optimize for a great traveler experience and cost savings.

Join Tripactions in exploring a whole new era of corporate travel management that brings the best of the TMC together with a state-of-the-art online booking tool to deliver the ultimate win-win-win: A win for travelers with a best-in-class business travel experience. A win for finance leaders with complete spend visibility and control. And a win for you, the travel manager, now empowered to build the corporate travel program of your dreams.

We at TripActions look forward to helping you seize travel as a strategic lever for culture and growth. Schedule a demo today.

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