Are you an SME using a TMC?

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  SimonS1 2 Dec 2012
at 13:33
.

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  • Anonymous

    The pros and cons of using a travel management company (TMC) have been discussed on the forum many times. Business Traveller is now researching for a feature on how SMEs use TMCs.

    Do you work for/ manages an SME?
    What are your thoughts on/experiences of using a TMC?
    It’s often said that using a TMC can save the time it takes to research and book your own travel, but do you really find this process that time-consuming?
    And in terms of saving money, how much cheaper have you found TMC rates for hotels and flights compared with when booking independently?
    Finally, are there any TMC packages that you’ve found work particularly well for SMEs?
    Your insights would be much appreciated, thank you.


    FormerlyDoS
    Participant

    Running a micro business (2 of us and 5 associates) I book mine and they book theirs.

    It can be time consuming, but I have not yet found a TMC who can put together some of the trips I need, even with access to better systems, without a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, so I prefer to look after myself.

    We may (or may not) pay more for our travel than a TMC could offer, but the main differentiator in our business is excellence of what we do, followed by availability. I have never had a client complain about our travel costs.

    Occasionally, a client has asked us to use their TMC and in every instance, their rates were the same or higher than we could find using commonly available internet tools, possibly because of year end retro payments. If we are engaged on a time and materials basis, we are happy use their TMC, as it is their money. If it is on fixed price, we will ask for a quote (it is good client management), but then reject it if higher.


    Tim2sms
    Participant

    My business is a SME and books all travel direct. We are highly focussed on value for money, taking the best but not the cheapest price.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Business Traveller

    I look after many SME Business (in fact all 20+ clients are all SME’s). If you contact me on my information in my profile that you should have – I can ask if they would be happy to talk to you. Let me know if this of benefit to you.

    I’m not going to go into the usual agent rant about some of the points made as other agents have done this in other forums (sometimes wrongly and I don’t agree with there tone or points) and I respect the points by Tim2sms / FDOS even if I feel they may sometimes be missing out. Comes to down to good people at the end of the day.

    Hope that helps

    Tim


    FormerlyDoS
    Participant

    Tim

    Different travellers, different needs 🙂

    There is a market for good agents.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    FDOS

    Couldn’t agree with you more!


    Tim2sms
    Participant

    FormerlyDoS – I don’t doubt it. I simply have never been approached by a TMC since I left Corporate life 13 years ago to set my own businesses up.

    TimFitzgeraldTC – I am certainly open to any well presented offer, where Value = Benefits / Price can quickly be established.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Hi Tim2sms

    Thanks for popping your email on below. Queens Award was before my time – I have only been there 2 years but I was nominated for Best Business Increase at last weekends conference. To be in top 4 out of 750 UK TC’s is still good (about 120 of us are BT specialists).

    Tim


    Tim2sms
    Participant

    <a href="mailto:tim@2sms.com“>tim@2sms.com !

    Thanks!

    Congratulations on the Queen’s Award by the way.


    Capetonian
    Participant

    I did an analysis for a small company whose annual spend on international travel was about GBP 500 k per annum.

    By employing someone in house who had previous travel agency and GDS experience, and training that person on how and where to source the most appropriate – which is not always the cheapest – arrangements, they probably saved about 10% of their travel budget, and also ended up with a greater degree of satisfaction amongst employees, who were often given the flexibilty to choose preferred providers or routings.

    There certainly is a place for good travel agents, there is no doubt of that. The problem is that there are very few around.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Yes, a 10 person business.

    We have a travel management arrangement with a major UK operator, however most point to point travel and hotels are booked directly by the traveller. We mostly use economy on the basis that business class is really unwarranted for most of the journeys we do. Various tests indicated that the TMC was not cost effective as more often than not they came up with the same fares as we did with a fee on top.

    For the occasional complex trips, and any business class travel, we do use the TMC. Sometimes they save money, sometimes not, however it does provide some back up if we need to make changes along the way.

    Overall though I would echo what Capetonian says, difficult to find a really good one.

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