The myth around traditional travel management companies presents them as having high online penetration, meaning most of their operations are conducted online. However, one might argue that the KPIs used to measure this penetration tend to be rather reductive.
In fact, TMCs measure online penetration based mostly, if not solely, on the booking process. However, travel management in corporate settings is seldom limited to the aforementioned operation. Other services to look into when considering a travel management solution are configuration, aftersales, and post trip operations.
While a truly modern solution will take a few days to set up, traditional players' configuration tends to drag on for weeks. This slows down the whole onboarding process, pushing access to the company's value offer further in time, consequently resulting in reduced cost efficiency.
Furthermore, aftersales processes are even more representative of how low online penetration can be in traditional travel agencies. Almost the entirety of trip modifications and cancellations go through travel agents rather than a do-it-yourself platform, resulting in wasted time on both ends of the bargain, and often encompassing additional fees for each operation which could otherwise be free of charge in digital travel management tools.
Finally, while TMCs might gather a client organization's invoices, the post trip reporting process can prove highly tedious for travel managers and accountants who an average of 20 minutes processing one report, that is after travellers pain to find their business travel invoices. Of these travel reports, 19% end up containing errors due to manual input, resulting here again in excess hidden fees going towards employee time. This, needless to say, is not the case in smart travel solutions.
In sum, online penetration goes far beyond the simple booking process, making automation the real challenge at stake. This criterion, which transcends digitization, pushes a company's travel management a step further towards cost efficiency and overall productivity.
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