Since the dawn of the Internet made it easy for travellers to book their own travel, “the end of travel agents” has been predicted. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, 43% of travellers still choose to use a Travel Management Company (TMC) when booking flights.*
This may seem old-fashioned, but while technology helps make routine travel tasks easier – which modern travellers expect – even the most tech-savvy user can find it a challenge to navigate the slippery post-Covid travel rules. In short, when travel gets more complicated, people still turn to trusted travel professionals for their expert guidance.
Why? A TMC’s greatest asset is the peace of mind it offers travellers in a world where travel requirements and rules change almost daily. Travel consultants are informed professionals who can explain travel insurance, recommend the best accommodation options, manage visa requirements, and use highly complex and integrated systems to access up-to-date information to keep travellers safe.
Why Travel Professionals are still relevant:
Expert advice: Let’s face it, navigating travel today has become tricky. Are you in a position to know what the rules are and when they change? For example, some countries are limiting the time you can spend in transit. What if you must quarantine? Can you rebook?
That is the job of the travel consultant, and their expertise is at a premium right now. You’ll want the inside scoop on which hotels are fully functioning and which airlines are back in the skies as a starting point. And when you arrive, what transport can you use as there are fewer rental cars in service, which means prices have skyrocketed? A knowledgeable advocate can help ease the stress associated with booking travel.
Emergency assistance: Travellers need support when the unexpected happens. Disruptions to travel plans are becoming more commonplace, be it extreme weather events, civil unrest, or disease outbreaks like COVID, which shut down borders and stranded passengers across the globe. Ultimately, those who book via a TMC have someone to call for support in times of crisis.
24/7 emergency support to travellers and direct access to suppliers’ reservation systems means that changes to travel plans can happen quickly. An often forgotten part of the change process is the knock-on effect a flight change or cancellation has on accommodation, transfer, or car hire reservations. TMC’s have their eye on the big picture and ensure that changes are end-to-end, especially in times of crisis. We can even meet clients at the plane door and whisk them through customs, either on to their tight connecting flight or simply faster to baggage claim. No waiting in long queues to be helped!
Digital Technology: Digital services provide multiple ways for travellers to interact with TMC’s and allow travellers to self-serve or speak to a consultant. Travel APP’s makes it easier for business travellers to stay up to date with changing regulations and proactively alerts travellers when changes impact their trip. Travel software automates document generation, communication with customers, invoicing, reporting, and other processes. This automation gives travellers the consumer experience they want, reduces time spent on day-to-day transactional activities, and frees up our employees to provide added value.
Ultimately, the collective expertise and knowledge base offered by a TMC cannot be beaten. They know more than you do, they are better connected, they have access to benefits you can’t get yourself, and they can match and often beat any prices you find. They plan a better trip, offer support at every part of your journey, and provide a safety net.
*International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) newly released 2018 Global Passenger Survey.