If you’re a travel manager or are responsible for booking and managing business travel for your company, you’ve likely come up against many of the common business travel challenges — sluggish booking processes, expensive flight and hotel bills, and travel expense management woes just to name a few.
When companies come up against these challenges time and time again, many of them turn to outsourcing business travel management to specialized travel agencies. And, with the growing trend in the digitization of many corporate services, more and more companies are turning to technology that can automate the majority of their processes while saving them time and money.
This means that organizations have the choice between using an online corporate travel agency or a traditional travel agency to manage their business travel programs. Here, we look at the differences between these two options to help you decide which route is best for your business.
How do traditional travel agencies work?
Traditional travel agencies are made up of travel experts and travel consultants that operate out of a brick-and-mortar location and work with companies to manage their business travel needs.
Based on the company’s business travel plans and needs, they usually undertake the following tasks:
- Booking flights and other transportation (car rentals, trains, etc)
- Making hotel reservations
- Creating travel itineraries for business trips
- Arranging travel visas
- Ensuring duty of care responsibilities are met
- Working with finance departments to facilitate travel expense processes
- Providing assistance for business travelers
Companies use traditional agencies to access better travel deals and to reduce the frictions often involved in travel management. While traditional travel agencies often have years of experience in the travel industry and can relieve you of arduous booking processes, many can’t match the standards that modern businesses need.
For example, even though travel agents are tasked with managing the entire business travel process, many companies still find themselves in a loop of back and forth with agents trying to get every trip detail correct. Instead of saving time, businesses spend double the time trying to book just one trip.
Plus, you’re often required to call a hotline to book a trip — and each call will cost you if you can’t get the trip booked in one go. This is on top of the service fees and commission you’ll already be charged. And, since traditional travel management companies tend to operate between 9-5, they often charge for out-of-hours support — meaning that it might take longer than you need for your query to be addressed.
On top of this, while traditional agencies do often have access to negotiated rates with suppliers, these rates depend on the volume of sales they’re able to deliver. Often, you’ll be constrained to travel options that won’t be perfect for you, but do count towards the agent’s quota.
How do modern corporate travel agencies with online platforms work?
Online corporate travel agencies with online booking tools are much better suited to addressing your every business travel need.
Not only do they give you the power to manage and streamline every aspect of the business travel process yourself from within one platform, they give you instant access to large flight and accommodation inventories and negotiated rates, meaning you can access the best rates that suit you.
Travel management platforms, like TravelPerk, remove the corporate middle man from the equation and give you the tools and freedom to manage your own travel program on your own terms.
Here are just a few ways TravelPerk’s online travel management platform can benefit your business travel needs:
- Anyone in your organization can easily search, book, and manage all flights and accommodation reservations from within TravelPerk’s user-friendly platform
- You have access to the world’s largest inventory for booking corporate flights and accommodation with the best rates
- You can bake your travel policy and approval workflows into the platform to ensure compliance
- You can ensure the safety of your travelers at all times with our risk management solution that lets you know where they are at all times and what situations you need to manage
- You and your travelers can access 24/7 support 365 days of the year with a 15-second response time
Plus, online corporate travel agencies with online platforms grow with you. They’re easily scalable to accommodate business growth and, since all of your travel spend data is connected in one place, they also help you optimize your travel program by providing you with digestible, granular spend reports.
Online corporate travel agency vs traditional agency: Which is better?
The success of your corporate travel program relies on online corporate travel management.
The vast majority of corporate travel services are still stuck using traditional travel management processes in an increasingly digital world, which simply doesn’t suit the needs of modern organizations looking to save time and money.
By combining human services and state-of-the-art technology, online travel agencies and platforms can help you automate processes that usually take hours, save you money by presenting you with the best rates (that aren’t influenced by an agent’s quota!), and give you the flexibility and support you need to execute your business travel program efficiently.
Online corporate travel tools are the future of business travel management
Want to learn more about how TravelPerk streamlines business travel booking and management for your company? Reach out for a free demo with our team of experts, or get started by signing up to the platform today.