Your company or startup can expand its customer base and increase sales revenue by investing in both domestic and international business travel. But internal business travel, unlike domestic business travel, creates opportunities for your business to expand into global markets.
You can streamline a complex and cost-intensive process like international corporate travel management by partnering with a reputable travel management company. Your travel partner will keep your employees safe and stress-free when they travel to various international destinations for business purposes.
At the same time, he will create opportunities for your company to reduce international business travel costs in several ways. But you must consider several factors while outsourcing corporate travel management to a company. Here are some of the key capabilities that you can use as criteria to find the perfect travel partner for global travel management.
12 Capabilities to Consider While Choosing Travel Partner for Global Travel Management
- Travel Policy Communication and Compliance
Employees can minimize business travel risks and control costs by complying with organizational travel and expense (T&E) policy. Your travel partner needs to ensure that each employee understands the rules and guidelines governing international business travel clearly.
At the same time, he needs to ensure that employees do not book any out-of-policy travel products and incur non-reimbursable travel expenses. Hence, you should check if the company has a robust strategy to ensure T&E policy compliance.
- Pre-Trip Assistance
Some employees will travel to various regions regularly to assess global market opportunities. Likewise, some employees will engage in international business travel for the first time. Hence, your employees will need assistance and information to plan business trips.
Your travel partner must help each employee prepare travel itineraries and travel checklists according to the travel destination. At the same time, he must assist employees in procuring or updating essential travel documents like passports, visas, work permits, and foreign currencies.
- Travel Choices and Booking Options
The travel products chosen by international work travelers these days differ according to demographic characteristics. For instance, millennial employees prefer homestays and other alternative accommodations to hotels. But older employees still opt for hotels to enjoy various facilities and amenities.
At the same time, most employees prefer direct flights to connecting flights to remain stress-free and reduce carbon footprints. Hence, you should outsource corporate travel management to a company that allows each employee to book his choice of flights, accommodations, car rentals, and other travel products.
- Global Supplier Network
Many airlines fly flights to specific international destinations. Likewise, many international hotel chains do not operate in specific countries. But your employees will travel regularly to different international destinations. That is why; your company needs a partner who has an extensive global network of airlines, hotel chains, and other travel suppliers.
- Seamless Travel Booking
Self-booking is currently one of the hottest trends in international business travel. Each employee wants to book his preferred travel products in minutes. Your company can boost employees’ business travel experiences by choosing a partner that provides a corporate booking tool.
The tool will enable employees to access destination-specific travel inventory according to preset organizational T&E policies. Also, employees can use the same tool to book their choice of travel products using the desired payment methods.
- Personalized Recommendations
Modern leisure travelers and business travelers love to receive personalized recommendations. You can meet this expectation of international work travelers by choosing a partner who recommends the right travel products to frequent business travelers based on booking history and travel preferences. You should prioritize companies that make personalized recommendations using AI-powered corporate booking tools.
- Real-Time Information Delivery
It becomes easier for employees to manage travel risks when they receive crucial information in real-time. For instance, employees can stay safe during international business trips by accessing the latest travel alerts. Likewise, they can stay stress-free before the trip by getting real-time flight status. Hence, you should check how the global travel partner delivers real-time information to employees across destinations.
- 24/7 Travel Support
Employees need assistance or support to solve various issues and manage various challenges. You should choose a travel partner that offers 24/7 travel support to work travelers. In addition to deploying human support executives and AI-powered chatbots, your choice of partner must deliver support across popular communication channels like telephone, instant chat, and emails.
- Emergency Assistance
Your company must meet its duty of care obligations by ensuring the safety and security of international business travelers. In addition to providing 24/7 travel support, your partner must help employees manage unforeseen situations and emergencies by providing emergency assistance. You can ensure real-time emergency assistance to employees across destinations by choosing a partner that uses global health and security risk management firms.
- Clear and Custom Reporting
Travel expense tracking and reporting are essential to keep international business travel costs in control. Your travel partner must streamline travel expense management by submitting consolidated expense reports. At the same time, he must help your finance team make budgets and forecast costs by submitting custom reports according to varying requirements. It is also important to ensure that the partner submits the required reports to the finance team according to predefined schedules.
- Data Management
Data analytics solutions create opportunities for companies to increase the ROI of international business travel consistently. In addition to detecting patterns and trends, the tech tools share actionable insights gained by analyzing travel and expense data. While comparing companies, you must check if they analyze data and share data-driven insights. However, it is also important to evaluate the partner’s data collection, unification, and security strategy.
- Cost Saving
It becomes easier for your companies to increase the ROI of global business travel when your partner facilitates cost savings. Travel management companies reduce the average business trip costs in several ways – getting negotiated rates, booking fully-flexible tickets, ensuring policy compliance, and using the best deals. While shortlisting global travel partners, you should check the strategies they use to reduce costs. Also, you should prioritize companies that facilitate cost savings by leveraging real-time data.
While looking for a travel partner, you must keep in mind a vital trend in corporate travel management – automation. You should compare and shortlist travel partners based on the services, solutions, and options provided by them. But you must prioritize companies that help you automate global travel management by providing travel management software.
The software will help you automate several crucial steps in global business travel management, including business travel bookings, travel expense management, and travel data analysis. You can implement the travel management system to reduce ongoing costs while leveraging the resources provided by the travel partner.