Corporate travel agencies can be a way to make tasks related to travel easier, including travel expense management.The range of services offered is usually broad and may contain key elements related to planning, such as searching for, comparing and contracting services, as well as auxiliary issues, such as dealing with cancellations or modifications.
The statistics reveal that 70% of large companies in Spain make the majority of their bookings through an agency.
This should come as no surprise, seeing that agencies have traditionally focused their activity on the needs of their large accounts. However, there has been progressive adaptations to an increasingly varied sector. Thanks to the agencies becoming more flexible and optimizing costs, they have been able to incorporate services for smaller companies.
The role they play in travel management can vary in terms of importance, with the agency perhaps being involved in the organization, review and supervision of the trip, or even taking part in the company’s negotiation with suppliers.
If requested, they may even have a role to play in the supervision and management of travel expenses. It is possible, for instance, to develop the company’s expense policy jointly, so that the agency itself takes a regulatory role in contracting services related to travel. Meanwhile, the agency has a centralizing role, collating all of the information related to travel expenses, thereby facilitating its subsequent analysis. These aspects directly related to expense management can make the workflow more efficient as the agency becomes a part of the process itself. Operating as an independent control point, the agency centralizes and ‘digests’ information related to expenses before transferring it to the management flow of the company itself.
Although the travel management process may be outsourced to a large extent, it is highly advisable to have a manager who is heavily involved in the process at an internal level. Apart from acting as an intermediary with the agency, the manager must perform duties directly related to employees, such as ensuring their safety and comfort throughout the trip, and supervising and incorporating data that results from the agency’s process into the rest of the organization’s workflows.