What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

full business itinerary details
up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

How To Pack For a New-To-You Summer Vacation Destination

Most families that take vacations are used to knowing what to pack for the various vacation destinations to which they are traveling. In some ways, though the “same old, same old” may seem a bit dull to others, it does make for knowing what you actually need to take on your trip with you & what you are better off leaving at home.

The one rogue variable that can cause issues for families is having to pack for a trip to a destination to which they’ve never traveled. Not only are you not aware of what you may encounter, but you have to keep track of so many other variables. If you travel with kids, though, you may find that the newness of the destination and the preparation for it can be enough to throw them off, and this can be a nightmare for parents. What do you do?

Well, if you’re traveling somewhere this summer that’s new for the whole family, here are a few steps to take prior to leaving home that may make the transition a little easier:

1. Have A Family Meeting – Sure, this idea seems a little “sitcom”, but there is value in setting the whole family down for a meeting to discuss what your vacation will be like this time around. This means that a little research has to be done regarding the destination and what it has to offer, plus it never hurts to have some info on where you’ll be staying.

2. Put Together A Plan – Once you’ve established that everyone is on the same page, it’s time to get a plan together. You could make a general plan for the family, or you could make it specific to each member of the family. Make a packing schedule and, if possible, try to have another family meeting to discuss progress on the trip preparation.

3. Check the Weather – Don’t hesitate in checking the weather ahead of time so that you know what to pack for your trip. You can either check the local town’s chamber of commerce for a weather update (i.e., Red River, NM is a perfect example). If you’re still unclear on weather, plan for light layers so that you can either maintain layers if cold or shed layers if things get warm.

4. Have A Packing Checklist – Nothing will throw your trip into a whirlwind like getting to your destination and seeing that one of your kids packed only toys and candy for the trip. Each person should have a checklist as to what items to pack & should check them off as they go. You could even make it a game for kids if they need some extra motivation.

5. Relax – Travel experts often cite one thing to keep in mind for new vacation destinations – have fun & relax. Even with all the planning you have in place, things will fall through the cracks. Luckily, if you need it, there’s usually a place for you to replace it when you get to your destination.

A vacation should be a relaxing time, and even with a bit of a curve-ball with a new destination, always remember that summer vacations are the trips that are the most memorable. Make this new adventure be the best!

Planning An Awesome Adventure Travel Trip On A Budget

Is 2007 the year that you will break out from that tired vacation spot and embrace an adventure? While adventure travel is an extremely fast growth category within the travel industry and bargains might appear to be scarce, there are good and relatively inexpensive ways to take an adventure vacation providing you are prepared to do much of the planning and research yourself. The key to affordable adventure travel is to find providers in the adventure locale and negotiate your package yourself.

Apart from saving a bundle, booking adventure travel directly is a great deal of fun, you will run across some of the most interesting people on the globe and you will get to experience and see a lot of local culture and hidden you probably will not find on the run of the mill travel sites. Much of a good adventure can be planned out by one or two of the party who have the resources and time to spend on investigating the adventure first hand. You may want to think of assembling the adventure in steps or stages and this might be done in a matter of months or spread over two or more visits to the region you are contemplating over a year or two. U.S. currency goes a long way in many of the more undeveloped locations in Africa and Asia and working with local tour guides is a way to stretch your adventure travel dollars.

Looking for reputable tour operators will depend on the type of adventure you are looking for. If you’re planning extreme skiing for instance you need to find the well known skiers in the locale you have picked. If they are ski experts who don’t have tour operator knowledge you may need to get from them the most you can as to type of terrain, accessibility, lodgings, and outfitters who are in the area and then go to those looking for reliable tour guides. In some cases there are individuals who offer both expertise in the adventure mode and also offer tour guiding and tour packages as part of their livelihood.

Don’t neglect doing some on the ground research about the local tour operators. Make sure you’re not asking the best bud or brother-in-law when you ask questions.

Check the guidebooks. When you use one of the better ones, you normally will find some evaluations of the tour operator offerings in the vicinity.

Talk to staff and guests at hotels, hostels and the local B & B’s. They all will have a good deal of data on the tour people and rely on them for their livelihood. Make sure you cross reference such evaluations as the proprietors may be financially linked. There are also Internet message boards that concentrate on travel matters that can be helpful. Don’t be afraid to join in the discussions on forums to find out first hand what to expect. Who knows you may be able to link with other adventure travel aficionados and form a bond for more sharing as your adventure travel experience grows.

When you get the opportunity to talk with potential trip leaders, be sure to get in to all the salient details about the terrain , equipment needed, accommodations and the numbers the tour will be limited to. This stage is crucial to the success of your adventure. Once begun it’s too late to start a negotiation about any aspect of the trip. One last thing, remember to ask in advance the anticipated rewards for the best guides. Follow the suggested guidelines for tipping and maintain a good relationship with the experts to whom you will entrust your safety and enjoyment.