Don’t give up control.

The Business Travel world has a huge array of suppliers and solutions on offer. The challenge is choosing the right partner and solution for your business. There are numerous areas to consider:

1.    Calls for tender for travel agencies
2.    Calls for tender for technological solutions enabling users to make online reservations and/or reimburse expenses, or to automate the processing of receipts for professional expenses
3.    Calls for tender for scanning and archiving expenses receipts
4.    Calls for tender for hotel reservation platforms
5.    Hotel programme selection
6.    Calls for tender for travel agencies that cover Nos. 1 and 2 or 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
7.    Calls for tender for payment methods (corporate cards, corporate accounts, virtual cards, purchasing cards, ‘smart memory’ cards, Bitcoin – wait, no, not just yet)
8.    Calls for tender for carriers
9.    Calls for tender for ground transport
10.    Calls for tender for consulting companies that manage the above bidding processes or help clients with their choice; travel agencies also sometimes perform this role

It’s a lengthy and time-consuming process – sourcing, drafting the call for tender, analysis of the results, the deliberations, the decision, the contract, then finally the signing, the implementation process and training so that the service can be used – it can take six months to two years. At the end of this long journey, you need to make a business decision weighing up immediate savings versus retaining more control. What do you choose? A solution chosen by the travel agency, or an independent solution?  We’ll leave aside the question of signing bonuses that are paid by some travel agencies — valuable for the buyer, but with strings attached.

Agencies provide:

  • A single point of contact
  • A single contract, with some variations depending on the services involved
  • A support service, from a user hotline to administrative support

On the other hand, your choice is definitely limited in:

  •  Solutions
  •  Direct connections with suppliers, in particular hotels
  •  Statistical information sources
  •  Software package configuration

Choosing to buy direct from the software provider can have limitations:

  •  Signing two contracts/sharing responsibilities
  •  Definition of responsibilities in after-sales support. It’s important to clarify the boundaries from the beginning so as to avoid a ‘ping-pong’ effect

On the other hand, you can:

  • Have more power to personalise your configuration with the software’s advanced functionalities
  • Activate direct connections of your choosing
  • Receive direct support from the software provider
  • Change agencies with very limited exposure or change for management

And, above all, choose among software providers. 
Over the last few years, various financial interests have become so closely intertwined with commercial agreements, back-end rebates and one another’s commercial positions that it has become difficult to get a reliable recommendation from anywhere.

For you to confidently choose a travel agent, technology solution, online booking tool, expenses receipt solution, or integration or selection project, you need to clearly identify your goals and certainly be more directly involved in order to stay objective.  Analysis and choice are returning to you. Compare, weigh up options, do testing, but don’t give up control.

 

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