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What is a travel management company (TMC)?

What is a travel management company (TMC)?

5 min
Posted: 20 February 2023
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What is a travel management company and why should you use one? Learn about what a TMC is and how it can help your business.

With corporate travel ramping up as we enter ‘post-pandemic’ times and an increased return to travel, the greater the need for travel management solutions. If you’ve noticed the uptick in corporate travel within your own business, you understand just how complicated it can be for you or your employees to coordinate itineraries. That’s where a travel management company, or TMC for short, can add great value to your business—regardless of size—and save you and your employees time, money and headaches.

What is a TMC and what do they do?

At the most basic level, a travel management company (TMC) is a travel agency that specialises in arranging corporate travel for businesses of all shapes, sizes and needs. TMCs can take care of all the details involved with business travel, including booking flights, handling hotel reservations, supporting with duty of care and looking after hire cars, among other services. Through advanced technology and online booking tools (OBT), travel management companies can help your employees find the best deals while also adhering to your company’s corporate travel policy. TMCs can even help your business create a travel expense policy if you don’t have one already.[1]

Is there a difference between an OBT and a TMC?[2]

Yes, there is a difference between an Online Booking Tool and a Travel Management Company. An online booking tool allows employees to track and manage their own business travel. Travel management companies offer more robust support on top of providing their own online booking tool. While OBTs allow your employees to individually search for their own corporate travel options and deals, TMCs typically offer support from experienced travel consultants who specialise in finding the best rates for business travel, while also allowing your employees the flexibility to choose their own flights, hotels and hire cars.

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TMCs like Egencia are experts in handling the ins and outs of corporate travel. They are equipped to handle everything from gathering all the necessary travel paperwork, to providing live support during unforeseen circumstances—like missed flights—to notifying travellers of last-minute updates of travel regulations. With the backing of a TMC, your employees are supported at every stage of their travel, while helping your business save money and offering deeper travel insights.

Are travel management companies and travel agencies the same thing?[3]

No. travel management companies and travel agencies are not the same thing, although they may share some similarities. While travel agencies can help clients book corporate travel, and occasionally offer lower rates through a limited number of vendors, TMCs focus on exclusively servicing businesses, helping to create and adhere to a company’s corporate travel programmes, and finding the best rates for maximum savings.

TMCs also provide a wider array of services than traditional travel agencies, like the centralisation and automation of the travel booking process, data-reporting options and travel policy creation. Additionally, TMCs have cultivated years-long relationships with vendors and can negotiate lower fares for maximum savings.

7 benefits of using a travel management company

As business travel continues to ramp up, TMCs can offer travel solutions for your employees while keeping the bottom line of your business goals top of mind. Some of the most significant benefits of utilising a TMC include:

1. TMCs help streamline your travel booking process

By automating different travel components—like lodging, flights and ground transportation—into one online booking platform, it makes the booking process more efficient and easier to manage, and saves your employees valuable time.

2. Facilitates gathering data for more informed decision-making

Through partner integrations and APIs, TMCs can offer real-time data gathering that can help analyse travel trends, assess risk management, as well as control budget spending. In turn, this data can help your organisation make better, more educated business decisions.

3. TMCs provide travel assistance 24/7

One of the biggest benefits of using a TMC is that you can rely on reaching a travel consultant any time—day or night. Instead of having to keep track of several different vendors, your employees enjoy one point of contact that is reachable through a variety of different channels.

4. Enjoy the perks of a concierge service

From handling the most minute details—that can range from seat preferences to making sure travel reward points are applied accordingly and everything in between—TMCs elevate the traveller experience of your employees by taking care of all their travel needs.

5. Can help reduce corporate travel costs

Because TMCs specialise in finding and negotiating the best travel deals with enterprise providers and partners, they have access to lower rates on flights, hotel rooms and transportation—cutting down on overall business travel costs while still offering competitive name-brand selections.

6. Provides traveller safety assistance

Whether unexpected security concerns arise, or travel regulations are updated at the last minute, TMCs keep travellers informed with real-time notifications.

7. Integrates your company’s corporate travel policy for greater compliance

TMCs bridge the gap between employee travel booking best practices and your company’s corporate travel policy. A TMC can filter an employee’s search results to be automatically compliant to your business’ travel policy guidelines, saving them time and providing ease of use. If for whatever reason an itinerary isn’t compliant, it’ll be flagged for further approval.

Choosing a TMC that’s right for your business

While there are a number of different travel management companies to choose from, the right TMC will depend on your business needs and goals. Some must-haves to take into consideration as you shop for a TMC to partner include:[4]

  • Experience
  • Technology
  • Security
  • Responsiveness
  • Comprehensiveness

Choose a TMC that is aligned with your company’s culture. Since you’ll work closely with them to create and organise your employees’ corporate travel, they should align with and uphold your company’s values.

Egencia provides you with corporate travel solutions

Whether you’re just starting a new corporate travel programme or are looking to make yours more robust, Egencia provides modern travel management with a single, global and highly configurable platform. You’ll have the power to build integrations that help you automate, connect and simplify your travel and expense management. From small and medium-sized businesses to global corporations, we connect you with over 290 global airlines and 650,000 lodging properties.

Ready to get started?

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