The technology TMCs are spending their budgets on this year
In 2019 The New York Business Journal reported that companies were spending 10% or more of their annual expenditure on employee travel expenses. According to Travelex, staff want to explore when they travel on business. Three in five people like to visit local attractions while just under half make a point of exploring the local cuisine. Many taking clients with them and paying for their expenses on the company’s corporate credit card.
Agents are buying solutions that optimize expense report processes and budget monitoring so that businesses can easily control their expenses and ensure compliance measures are in place when their staff start travelling again.
While this pandemic has forced a scaling back of efforts in certain areas, many TMCs are prioritizing their tech needs. There is an increased demand to self-manage the commercials, suppliers, back-office, and management information while corporates are able to configure the travel policies, approvals, and reporting. TMCs are looking for systems that provide New Distribution Capability (NDC) with direct airline connects and hotel consolidators and aggregators. These platforms give TMCs, travel agencies, and consolidators an option to generate bookings outside of many global distribution system processes and related fees.
Trust and duty of care
Unique travel restrictions imposed by each country and the subsequent effect on business travel have placed an even greater emphasis on duty of care within TMCs. Roles and responsibilities have changed for travel managers in businesses and agents. Managers now have to review all trips, conduct risk assessments and create internal guidelines and policies on travel. New platforms such as the Egencia COVID-19 travel reporting hub help them mitigate the financial impact to their business by providing downloadable data for air and hotel bookings.
TMCs spending on technology that configure the policy for each client around the allowed countries, cities, airlines and hotels. These new applications close the entire loop of sufficient information and immediate decision making and will drive the next duty of care level for TMCs when the “return to travel” policies and processes are in place.
Technology is playing a critical role in the recovery of the travel industry and this year we are seeing new deals being struck and partnerships happening. Recently, Flight Centre Travel Group acquired tech company WhereTo for its AI platform that recommends hotels, flights and transportation to employees. Sabre integrated Mindsay technology to enable automated customer service for TMCs and airlines. At Element we partnered with tech company Zenmer to provide its booking solutions for TMCs.
Similarly, businesses are sharing complementary data to better understand their clients’ travel needs, concerns and behaviour in order to provide greater client personalisation.
The industry is getting ready for when travel is high on the agenda and it points toward innovation and technology. TMCs are investing in tech to improve or change the way they do business and helping people stay safe. Those that offer improved processes and greater duty of care will stand out. Don’t get left behind.