If your team engages in a lot of travelling for business purposes, you might want to check out if a corporate travel agent is for you.

Both a corporate travel manager and a corporate travel agent are responsible for all your business travelling, travel policies and keeping track of your spending. However, the latter is usually an external liaison.

But what is a corporate travel agent or agency, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with one and should you hire one for your business? Read more in the article below.

What does a corporate travel agent do?

The role of a corporate travel consultant can be both outsourced via an agency or hired internally. In both cases, the hire needs to be on top of everything that’s happening regarding corporate travel at all times – from travel planning to travel policies and travel risk management.

The point of hiring a travel management agent is to have everything under control and to unload your organizational burden. A business travel agent should either be familiar with your travel policy or help your team create one. Also, they need to make sure your employees leave and return prepared and safely. That means taking care of:

  • Travel visas
  • Accommodation bookings and car rentals
  • Duty of care responsibilities
  • Travel itineraries
  • Travel expenses
  • Emergency situations
  • Securing proper insurance
  • Expense and spending management
  • Booking or changing flights

Travel management challenges

When dealing with corporate travelling, you never know when or if problems might arise. From unforeseen natural disasters to simply incorrectly budgeting for the trip, you can encounter a lot of challenges throughout the whole corporate travel experience.

When it comes to business travel, the most common challenges companies face are:

  1. Non-compliance with the travel policy – Supervising the correct interpretation and application of the travel policy is a task of its own.
  2. Overspending – Like in any business, the successful management of a budget can be an art not a lot of people master.
  3. Catering to diverse travelers’ needs – No two business travelers are alike, so juggling everyone’s needs can be a very difficult process.

The most common problems can be:

  1. Forgetting to apply for the appropriate visa and documents – No one wants to get stuck at customs or reach the airport realizing they weren’t prepared.
  2. Not packing the appropriate hardware – A travel adapter for different plugs or forgetting materials for a presentation can put a damper on your whole trip. You can avoid these mistakes by following this useful packing list.
  3. Inappropriate flights or lodging – A business trip can be stressful by itself, so booking a longer flight than necessary, picking a cheap accommodation without WiFi and so on can end up costing more in human resources than in money.
  4. Unfamiliarity with the destination and getting around there – A business trip can take you to places where you’re unfamiliar with the culture, emergency services, weather and even the correct side of driving on the road.
  5. Insufficient budget – Not knowing how to budget for a business trip can bring a lot of losses for a company: too much and employees might take advantage; too little and you can trigger employee unhappiness and people unwilling to take another business trip.
  6. Employees not knowing they should keep receipts and get reimbursed – Before your employees leave on a corporate trip, make sure they’re familiar with their rights and obligations. From making your travel policy accessible to everyone in your company to making sure you often ask for feedback – these are just some of the tips and tricks that will ensure your employees’ happiness.
  7. Inappropriate debriefing upon returning from the business trip – Improving your travel policy and corporate travel experience for your employees should be a never-ending improvement journey.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a corporate travel agent or agency

Travel agencies for businesses are a great solution for your company, especially if your employees go on corporate trips regularly. Some advantages are:

  • Leaving an expert to deal with the challenges that might come from corporate travel booking services
  • Having all points covered and not missing any important issues
  • Having a team of business travel consultants at your beck and call in case of an emergency

However, the other side of calling in help from a business travel agency can be:

  • High rates and hidden fees for the corporate travel company
  • Unfamiliarity with your travel policy and your company rules
  • Lack of control over the final decision

Opting for an in-house travel manager

As you might notice, all the disadvantages can stem from the fact that you’re outsourcing this type of help. Indeed, especially for smaller companies, opting for an in-house travel agent might be the winning decision.

From a considerably smaller fee and price to knowing you can count on someone familiar with your travel policy, an in-house travel manager might be the perfect solution for you.

With the Booking.com for Business tool, you can organize business trips and make sure that all aspects of the trip go as expected – all in one place. This free tool can help your employees worry less about the trip and simply focus on the business.

No matter the size of your business or your ambitions, your company and employees deserve the best. Take care of their travelling needs and ensure the success of their business trip by making sure all aspects are taken care of and covered. Whatever you choose for your company – internal travel manager, external corporate travel agent or a self-service tool, make sure you consider all advantages and disadvantages for your business

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