TMCs 101 – If, Why, and How to Use TMCs

What value can a travel management company (TMC) bring to your program? How do you find a TMC that fits your programmatic and organizational needs? What’s a reasonable agreement? These are just some of the many questions that individuals in the managed travel space may have.

Regardless of size or spend, bringing on a TMC can be an arduous process. To assist with the process, the GBTA Foundation recently partnered with U.S. Bank to outline the “Top 5 TMC Questions Asked and Answered.” The one-pager outlines useful tips for professionals just starting out in travel management, like how to decide when to bring on a TMC or how much savings to expect.

GBTA also held a live Q&A webinar featuring veteran travel managers, enabling participants to walk away with a better understanding of how their travel program could benefit from a TMC. While there is certainly no one-size-fits all approach to finding and choosing a TMC, individuals can benefit by hearing the experiences and advice of industry veterans.

Kate Vasiloff led the webinar, during which Rackspace’s Eddie Martinez and Finastra’s Mauro Ruggiero provided invaluable insights. Here are a couple key takeaways:

Be picky and know what your non-negotiables are. Stick to your wishlist items and don’t compromise. If a TMC can’t fulfill an important need, it’s okay to move on. If something doesn’t sound right or feel right for your program, there’s someone else out there who will fit better, be more flexible, and have a suite of offerings better suited for your organization. A partnership that doesn’t mutually benefit everyone doesn’t have staying power.

Bringing on a TMC will help you reclaim the value of unused tickets. When TMCs manage booking channels, agents are in the know when tickets are booked and reservations are made. TMCs have good relationships with airlines and their vendors, meaning they can help recoup some of the lost money from changed tickets or missed tickets.

Don’t be shy about asking TMCs to get creative. There are a variety of models available, and you should reach an agreement that will benefit both your program and theirs. If you drain them at the negotiating table, they won’t be willing to work with you in the future.

During the negotiating process, ask for free features like customized reporting. Some TMCs will attempt to charge you per transaction, so ask for tangible benefits that will improve your travel program in advance.

TMCs are an extension of your company. When you bring on a TMC, there is an immediate impact. You now have a full team of subject-matter experts behind you who you don’t have to train – you can simply bring them on, and they’re ready to go.

Ask the tough questions. There’s no question too small or too niche. TMCs have heard it all, and they’re happy to have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential to you.

Reserve the right to keep asking questions and keep changing. At the end of the day, the TMC that works is the TMC that changes and grows with you.

GBTA members may view the webinar in full through the Hub. These sessions are just around the corner:

  • The Great Debate: Choosing Between a “Managed” or “Open Booking” Travel Program (Tuesday, October 24 – 2:00 PM ET)
  • What’s next in Corporate Travel Innovation? Hear from several stars from Innovation Row (Thursday, October 26 – 2:00 PM ET)
  • GBTA ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) (Tuesday, October 31 – 2:00 PM ET)
    Creating a Frictionless Travel Experience- Europe Region (Monday, November 6 – 9:00 AM ET)

The full schedule of webinars is available here.