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Pick the best online corporate travel agency with these seven tips

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That’s a wrap on finding the best travel agency for your corporate travel program. Hopefully, you’ve found this article insightful and continue on your quest to find a travel agency with more vigor and a better understanding of what you need.

Picking an online travel agency is not easy. There are so many options out there, and it can get pretty overwhelming. Not to fear. In this article, we’re guiding you through the top things to consider when you’re conducting your search. You should walk away from this article with a much clearer mindset of what you need from your corporate travel agency. 

Seven tips to help you pick a corporate travel agency that’s perfect for your business 
Before the crisis, U.S. travelers alone were expected to take 499.4 million domestic business trips by 2022. Although there’s a high chance we won’t see the same predictions in 2022, corporate travel is rapidly on the rise once more. 

During this breathing period, it’s the perfect moment to take your time in selecting a corporate travel agency that can ramp up travel with your team and provide your program a wealth of benefits.

Why your business needs an online travel agency 
Travel is not what it used to be. It’s ever-changing, and with that, company travel policies need to be ever-changing too. It’s near impossible to expect employees to keep up with this change. 

For this reason, more companies than ever before are looking towards travel agencies to help them lead the way, look after their travelers, and give employees the autonomy they need to book their trips in their own time. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. TravelPerk’s travel management system is an excellent example of why you need a travel management agency—and the systems they have in place—to help your travel program succeed. As well as taking care of travel policies, and approval workflows, a travel management booking system can give you the booking options and prices you deserve. 

Now we know the why behind needing a travel agency and their system, let’s explore seven top tips to help you select the right one. 

1. Flexible travel policies 
Tip number one, and something we mentioned earlier, is to look for a travel agency that can be as flexible as you need them to be with your travel policies. 

There’s a high chance your policy will change, perhaps quite a lot over the space of a year. You need an agency that will update your changes in policy as quickly as they come. This will help ensure no employee books travel out of policy and management or finance don’t get any surprises. 


Photo credit: https://www.travelperk.com/press/

2. A massive booking inventory 
We need options when we’re traveling, and sometimes a plane is not always the way to go. Perhaps a train or private hire car is more efficient. At the same time, it can be infuriating for your travelers to not have options for hotels they love, or to be able to stay in the areas they need to be. 

It’s so important that your online travel agency provides you with an unchallenged booking inventory so your travelers can be efficient with their travel, as well as enjoy the process of traveling for business. Plus, if your employees have a great experience, they’ll want to go again. 

3. Unparalleled customer support 
Customer support is crucial for travelers on the go, especially with the world we now live in. No traveler wants to be stuck in an airport on a Friday night, with nowhere to go; and being put on hold or being passed from one phone operator to another. 

Ideally, you’ll want your corporate travel agency to have a rapid response time to customer calls. You’ll also want your business travelers to have a choice of ways to contact them: via email, chatbot, or phone, for example. Plus, you’ll also want customer support to be reachable across time zones and every day of the year. 

Lastly, it’s best if your travel agency handles all of their customer service operations in-house. This means your potential agency will have a better overview of what’s going on with your specific case and will handle everything for you. For example, you should never have to speak directly with the airline or hotel. 


Photo credit: https://www.travelperk.com/press/

4. Works with private loyalty programs 
Loyalty programs are a big thing, and rightly so! If your business travelers are frequent flyers and loyal members of specific hotel chains, they’re probably contributing toward some kind of loyalty scheme or air miles membership. 

In an ideal world, you’ll want your corporate travel agency to be able to include your traveler’s private loyalty programs into their business travel movements. It will inspire your employees to want to travel more, knowing they’re adding towards their own holidays in the future. 

5. A savvy mobile app 
Travelers are on the go—the hint’s in the name. It means they don’t always have their laptop to hand when they need to make changes to their bookings. Things happen last minute, and your travel agency needs to have a mobile-friendly app that will help get your travelers through any situation. 

Firstly, you’ll want an app with great UX. It’s something your travelers will be using a lot so it needs to be an enjoyable experience. 

Secondly, your app needs all of the features that the travel agency’s desktop website has. There’s no reason why your travelers should be limited in their options because they’re using their phones. 


Photo credit: https://www.travelperk.com/press/

6. Reporting functionality 
Look for a travel agency or travel software that provides insights into your business travel program. There’s so much you can report on that can help you to optimize your program’s efficiency and essentially your business’s travel spend. 

Businesses that allow their travelers to book on third-party platforms like booking.com are losing out on data that can go a long way. When you have the right data in hand you can identify which departments are remaining in the budget, who are traveling the most, which airlines or hotel chains your company are consistently relying on, and identify the most visited destinations for your business. 

Find an agency that can provide this data and also help your team read and act on it.  

7. Manager overview
Lastly, giving managers a total overview of their team, their bookings, and where they are in the world. It can get a little overwhelming for managers to fully understand where all their teams are if they travel a lot or have a non-desk workforce like a sales team. 

This is especially the case when plans change, flights get canceled, or things happen that were not accounted for. 

Try to find an agency and travel management software that can give managers a one-page overview of employees. It’s crucial to know where they are, what timezone they’re in, and if their trip is going smoothly. In knowing this, managers will be able to identify how they can better support their team. 

Those are our top seven things you need to look out for in an agency you’re considering.

Questions to ask a potential online corporate travel agency 
Before we close out, let’s condense all of these tips to help you pick the perfect travel agency into questions you can ask during your demo or to your sales rep. 

Seven questions to ask a potential travel agency 
1. How do you integrate and ensure our company’s booking policy? 
2. What does your booking inventory look like? Do you aggregate any third-party platforms?
3. What’s the availability of your customer support and is it managed in-house?
4. Are you able to accommodate private loyalty programs for our travelers? 
5. Can you give me a demo of your mobile app? 
6. What are you able to report on, and what do those reports look like?
7. What does your interface look like for managers?  

Get these questions answered early on in your quest for a travel agency and you’ll have a much clearer understanding of whether it’s the right fit for you or not. Don’t forget to add any specific questions, relevant to your business or industry niche, to this list. Consider things like: 

- If you can add people outside of your organization (vendors, event hosts, freelancers) 
- If the agency can help you reclaim on travel VAT
- What expense tools the agency’s platform can integrate with

Go and find your perfect travel agency
That’s a wrap on finding the best travel agency for your corporate travel program. Hopefully, you’ve found this article insightful and continue on your quest to find a travel agency with more vigor and a better understanding of what you need. 

Don’t forget to keep these questions nearby when you run with a product demo or talk with a sales rep. There’s no harm in being bold with your questions. This product or agency can, and should, save your business a lot of time and money while making employees happier. 

Get it right the first time around you’ll be thankful for it. Happy traveling!

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