BUSINESS

How to find a travel provider that ticks all the boxes

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Travel plays an essential role in any modern business. In today’s society, we’re connected more than ever, but the importance of face-to-face communication will never die out.

Meeting in-person is an activity that helps build deeper professional business relationships. We can read non-verbal cues; we can form more informal bonds – travelling to meet clients or employees in-person is essential. And that’s why choosing the right travel supplier is important.

When you’re looking for a partner, you want a cost-effective solution, saves you money, fits your business objectives, mitigates risk and keeps your employees travelling seamlessly between meetings – no matter the destination.

But how do you go about finding the best-fit travel supplier for your business?

We all know that businesses work differently. We all want different things from our suppliers, so finding a travel supplier that caters to your specific business requirements is essential. 

First, go on a fact-finding mission

Before picking your travel partner, you should go on a fact-finding mission. You need to research what’s out there currently and what features would benefit you best.

This is not a process you should take lightly. After all, travel partners are there to help you streamline your travel programme, save money, and generally make life a lot easier for the travel manager and the travelling employees, so picking the right one is crucial. 

Here are some factors you could consider when choosing a travel supplier:

Make sure they align with your business objectives 

Sounds pretty basic, right? But not every travel provider will be a good fit for your business, so you should prioritise this.

Take a moment to understand which companies are currently using their services, are they in a similar industry to your business? What kind of company does the provider usually work with, and how do they help them achieve their goals?

Take some time to sit and listen to your internal teams, too. Internal meetings about problems they’d like to see the travel supplier solve are critical. Why? Well, these are the people who have a first-hand experience with your current travel programme—their opinions matter. You need a travel partner that solves your travelling team’s problems otherwise, who are they helping?

Once you’ve outlined your business objectives, you can prioritise them and start gathering information about each travel supplier. 

For example:

  • If your company has a social responsibility programme with a focus on green initiatives or accessibility, consider working with a provider that prioritises these too.
  • If you’ve outlined cost-saving as the main priority, for example, you can look at the suppliers who boast cost-effective solutions.
  • If you’ve instead identified your priorities lie more in ease of transport booking, search for suppliers who are known for their rapid booking solution. 

Without knowing what you’re looking for, you stand to waste your time and money looking in the wrong places for a comprehensive travel solution.

Work with providers who are innovative and implement cutting-edge technology

It would help if you had a provider who is forward-thinking and acts on those progressive thoughts. You don’t want a travel partner who just thinks progressive stuff; you want them to act on it also. 

Focus on looking for a supplier who is continuously looking to innovate and make their solution the best it can be for its customers. 

Without innovation, the boundaries are never pushed, and the industry never evolves. You need a partner who has innovation at its heart, a company who invests in innovation is a company that will continue to deliver exceptional customer experience, and specific solutions to common problems within the corporate travel space. 

You should be looking for a solution instead of just another supplier.

24/7 customer chat support 

Customers now expect access to support around the clock. Wouldn’t you if you were travelling between time zones? Imagine trying to work out when you could and couldn’t call them. Who could be bothered?

Working with a travel supplier who has 24/7 customer chat support is essential. And we don’t just mean an AI chat assistant, we’re talking about real human conversations. (Actually, 65% prefer online chat conversations to be with a human agent rather than an AI.) 

Knowing your travelling employees can chat with a real customer service agent whenever they have issues with their booking gives both the traveller and the travel manager peace of mind.

Chat support is now more convenient than phone call support. You don’t have to exert much energy as the traveller, you just text your query, and it’s responded to quickly. That’s the high level of customer service you should want for your company.

Read next: Utilising mobile for better business travel management

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