What going ‘Above and Beyond’ really means at Business First Partnership

Posted: 9th Aug 2018

A Travel Management Company (TMC) who promises to go ‘above and beyond’ isn’t unusual.  But how many TMCs detail what that actually means? As business travellers are faced with booking, travelling, getting prepped and ready for their trip, whilst ensuring every decision they make is within budget and conforms to company regulation, they most often assign a TMC to take over the time-consuming aspects for less complication, but what else does a TMC do that isn’t so obvious?

 At Business First Partnership, we understand that each client wants to maximise their time, streamline processes, and have a lot more to manage than budgets alone. This is why we always caution that using traditional benchmarking methods will rarely present you with all the information you need about a TMC – it’s much better to look beneath the surface to uncover the hidden services they provide.

 Our dedicated consultants who are proficient in exploring a range of fares and giving the best alternatives are just a phone call or quick email away. This will give you peace of mind that your travel choices are being taken care of, but the key for us is to ensure our clients feel like we are part of their own organisation, leaving them safe in the knowledge that their travel has been enhanced to maximise the value of their travel spend – because we treat their money as if it was our own.

From this type of personable service, comes bespoke solutions. We not only save our clients time and money, but will integrate seamlessly with their travel policy, booking preferences and even go as far as to cater to their individual travel styles. For example, certain travellers like to be checked in for their flights and a recent client asked if we could check-in all passengers online and send their PAs the boarding passes directly – this was something we implemented without hesitation.

Personal Assistants and travel bookers are just as important as the traveller, and we like to do everything we can to support them and make their lives easier. Do you have an internal communication style that you need your itineraries to reflect? Not a problem. Do you want a report that can be used for HMRC? We can do that. Would you like your insurance reports to arrive before you even request them? Consider it done.

The best TMCs will combine personal service with innovative technologies to assist with all business travel needs. Whether that be a mobile application for travellers to view details of their current, future and past itineraries, traveller tracking solutions, or instant notifications of delays or disruption. These smart travel tech provisions ensure travellers have access to all information whenever and wherever they may be. But what if ‘out of the box’ technology solutions aren’t enough? We had a traveller that was stranded at the airport because the airline did not notify us or them that the flight was cancelled. We quickly realised that relying on airline information alone wasn’t enough, so invested in software and custom-built a solution that notifies us of any cancellations or delays to travellers’ flights or connectio

Many TMCs will provide companies with a standard online booking tool that does not align to their company policy and is not bespoke. Our Head of Technology recently integrated a tailor-made booking tool for a client to ensure that only certain classes of travel appeared in their search and bolted on an approval tool to ensure that sign-off was obtained at the point of booking. We met with another client who liked to look at schedules through Skyscanner as they had always done this before working with us. To save them time and streamline their processes, we built our 360 Timetable product which allows clients to search all flight schedules, and then made it available through their online booking tool as well.

Our advice, whether you decide to work with us or not, is to research customer case studies.  Reading through customer case studies (which should be made easily available by any TMC worth its salt) is the best place to start if you’re looking to get a comprehensive overview of the kinds of service that a TMC offers, whether that’s in terms of the savings they can achieve or the behavioural change that they can drive. Customer case studies can tell you so much more than a list of ‘available’ rates. It all depends on what your organisation’s goals for the future are, and how well-equipped a TMC is to cater to them.