There are many reasons why you may take a business trip. You might be meeting a new client and will need to spend some time with them during the trip. It might be that you are taking a couple of members of the team for training in a new area. Perhaps you are going for a team-building corporate event or you are treating the team to a business trip due to great work. Whatever the case, this type of travel requires lots of planning and arranging before the trip. From arranging plane tickets to booking hotels, it needs to be arranged perfectly and can be quite demanding if there is a number of employees involved.
Therefore, a lot of businesses decide to go down the travel agent route to help them to arrange their trip. It means that all the arrangements are left to a professional, experienced company that know exactly what they are doing. Of course, this does mean you have to pay out money to a corporate travel agent which is something to consider. But while a lot of companies have heard of business travel agents, they don’t know exactly how they can help. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about corporate travel agents and how they can help your company with the next trip.
What are business travel agents?
These travel professionals work with companies to ensure their travel arrangements are all sorted in advance. They take over all the necessary travel requirements and ensure that the trip runs as smoothly as possible. You can also make preferences so that the business travel is exactly to your specifications. For instance, if you want a trip that is cost-effective yet ensures the team stays safe and happy, you can ensure they do this when booking the trip. Also, if there are specific places you want to go to (or not go to), you can ensure the business travel agent knows this before they make the plan.
The business travel agents will either be one consultant or you can work with a company that specialise in this type of business travel. You can read up online or ask around for recommendations of the best travel management companies with the most experience. These travel management companies are agencies that arrange an organisation’s business travel. When working with business travel agents, you can rest assured the arrangements are safe and secure and that they will stick to strict guidelines. Business travel agents work with the company to plan the business trip and ensure they know all the important details.
What is the GDS system used to book business travel?
A lot of business travel agents book via the GDS which is the Global Distribution System. This system helps bookers find the best short-term let and all the best suppliers. It will inform about the best prices and availability and then relays this information to the business travel agent.
It also lets guests book the property directly through the system. This is popular with business travel agents as they can book everything for the trip such as the hotel and flight all through the same system. This is less time-consuming and much easier for companies. Therefore, this is a popular booking system to use.
How can business travel agents help?
When you book a business travel agent, you need to make sure you know exactly what they will do for you so you can make any extra arrangements as necessary. All travel management companies are different so do clarify these details before making the booking. But most of the travel agents will do the following for you:
- Arrange any transportation
Whether you are looking to travel on the train, plane or boat, the business travel agents will arrange the transportation for the full team. This includes booking seats and luggage for the whole team and they will need to know all passport details in advance of booking. They will choose the most cost-effective prices and will relay all the information to you. This takes a lot of pressure from companies especially if they have to make multiple bookings.
- Arrange any car hire
It’s likely that once your team has arrived, they will have to travel by car to the specific destination. Therefore, the business travel agent will arrange this transportation with car rentals to ensure it’s all booked and ready for arrival. They will also sort the drop-off so the employee knows exactly where to go. They can also book transfers and arrange taxis to take them from airports or train stations to their hotel.
- Arrange travel visas
If any of the team require a travel visa to enter the country of the business trip, these can also be arranged by the business travel agent. These are very important to sort well in advance of the trip and the corporate travel agent will make all the necessary arrangements in good time so that you are legal to travel.
- Arrange itineraries for the trip
While you can make plans to get to the destination, you also need to have arrangements for what is going to happen when you are there. The travel management company will plan a full itinerary so that the trip is a rewarding, well-planned experience. They will put the needs of your staff at the fore and ensure there is enough planned for the trip, following your guidelines of what you want to achieve from the trip away.
- Making accommodation bookings
Whether you want the employee to stay in a short-term let or want to book a hotel for the trip, the business travel agent will work to ensure that appropriate accommodation is booked for the trip. They will ensure the correct amount of rooms is booked and can organise extras such as meals for the trip away.
- Sorting travel expenses
A time-consuming job is often sorting out travel expenses for the trip. After all, a lot of paperwork is necessary when it comes to sorting out the business accounts before and after the trip. Therefore, handing this duty over to a business travel agent means they will deal with all these payments.
- Getting the best deals
As the travel agent is experienced in working with certain brands and suppliers, they are likely to be able to get cheaper prices when working on your business trip. From significant discounts to free extras, they will be able to get the price down and will know who best to speak to when arranging the trip.
Any disadvantages to using a corporate travel agent?
These types of business travel agents are costly and you do have to keep this budget in mind when planning the business trip. Additionally, you are taking a backseat during the arrangements so if anything goes wrong, you will have to step in and sort last minute. These corporate travel agents are not always at the end of the phone if something does go amiss during the trip. You are also handing over control to a corporate travel agent.
TrustedStays works with travel management companies to provide higher quality alternative accommodation for corporate clients. We have a range of properties available to you and your clients.
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