What to look for in a Travel Management Company

When you’re thinking about choosing a travel management company for your small business it’s hard to find one that looks after your needs and will provide the personalized service you require. You have likely asked the question of what makes for a good or bad small business travel management company and we’re here answer that.

What makes for a good small business travel management company (TMC)?

There’s so many parts of what makes for a really great small business TMC and a lot to consider when choosing the right one. Creating or updating your company’s travel policy is the first step and one of the most important. A good TMC will sit down with you and discuss your travel policy to find out what loyalty programs are best, will figure out airline and hotel preferences and budgets, and will make sure the time is taken to go through each moving piece to guarantee that your travel policy looks after your company and staff. Travel policies shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all, and a good travel management company can help you put it together or discuss what points to address when you’re updating your current one.

Another quality to look for in a great TMC is their available technology and what that tech can do to keep your company secure and save you money. Are they using the best tools possible for online bookings and overall system management? Everything these days is digital and you need a company that looks to the future and embraces change, keeping ahead of the game.

A great TMC is prepared for all situations…

Should anything go wrong while one of your staff is travelling, an experienced travel management company will quickly resolve it with their extensive travel knowledge, quick & creative thinking, and leading technology to get things done in a timely manner. A reliable and local after-hours emergency assistance line is comforting and usually well-versed in your company’s account and policies.

Did you know that most TMCs outsource their after-hours emergency assistance? What this means is that if one of your staff requires immediate travel help, they might not be speaking with someone local who knows your company preferences and policies. These call centres are often lacking in compassion and customer service, staff are commonly overworked as they rush through calls and attention to detail is not a high priority so things can easily be missed. Make sure to choose a TMC which will efficiently look after your staff in an emergency situation.

Think about invoicing and areas to save money –

Choosing the best small business TMC will mean you’re going to be receiving one consolidated monthly invoice to save your accounting team headaches, and you’re not going to be waiting weeks for answers about your account, or updates to it. It’s really nice to have that personal touch and to speak with people you know. It also means things get done quickly rather than having to go through multiple departments to get a simple answer. TMCs will save your company long hold times with airlines, can make changes near instantly and effortlessly, and will fight for you to get refunds and travel credits when possible.

The right TMC will be saving your business time, money and further stress. They will source the best hotel chains with the best rewards programs (within budget) to get your staff great future travel perks and discounts on their stay where possible. Experienced TMCs will continually be on the lookout for other small business travel deals.

When not to choose a travel management company for your smaller business?

You might be thinking that your company is not big enough yet to justify the extra spend on a travel management company… and some of you might be right. If your employees are only travelling a handful of times a year and you’ve got the staff who can manage it for now, why would you need a TMC? Early investment in the right TMC is a huge asset to any growing business. It means you have the travel systems in place, ready for when your company grows. This will save you the future headaches of trying to look for a TMC when you should be focused on hiring more staff and all of the work that goes with it. A great travel management company doesn’t have monthly fees, so having one ready to go makes sense for when your company starts frequent travel in the future. You won’t be paying for a TMC unnecessarily as they will only charge per booking.

Of course, small business TMCs are not going to be the right fit for every company out there. For international businesses with offices located around the world, and staff travelling frequently outside of your TMCs opening hours, getting things booked and approved can take longer and might not make sense for your company when time is of the essence. In saying that, a good TMC will work with you to have policies in place so approval is instant for your VIP or frequent travellers, and this could alleviate many potential issues.

Make sure your TMC understands your business –

It’s crucial to understand if your TMC is fully equipped to handle your travel spend, and this will be discussed during your first conversation with them to see if they will be a fit for you. A bad travel management company won’t discuss your concerns fully and could dodge questions, so this is something to keep in mind. You need to fit together and that only comes with honesty from both parties and getting your questions answered. A transparent TMC is essential for small businesses to save time and money, and will allow a great relationship to form. One red flag for a possibly bad TMC would be if they accept your business without any discovery questions – make sure they know your company and your travel needs.

Emergency assistance is one of the most important things to consider!

As mentioned earlier, not all TMCs have local emergency assistance, and some don’t have after hours assistance at all. We believe that it’s incredibly important to have localized after hours assistance for the peace of mind it brings, and extensive knowledge of the clients travel policies. Should anything go wrong, you want your staff to be completely looked after. It is paramount. especially during a stressful situation, that your staff can trust that the TMC is working in their best interest.

How we’re structured to be the best small business travel agency in Canada –

Our Vancouver-based Worldgo Travel Management team provides 24/7 local emergency assistance and will look after your staff in line with your policies, quickly and efficiently. We’re completely transparent, have no hidden fees and we don’t charge for after hours or emergency assistance, changes or cancellations. Worldgo strives to reduce the cost, time and complexity of travel management with personal service and our innovative technology.

We don’t make any of our clients sign contracts. Yes, you read that right. Worldgo Travel Management aims to earn your business with every booking we make for you. With meticulous attention to detail, exceptional customer service, and always on the lookout for customer rewards programs for small businesses, we do everything we can to earn your trust and put your company first.

With business travel back on the rise, now is the time to look at securing a trusted and experienced travel management company for 2021.

What is the importance of business travel management for the Canadian small business sector?

So why are TMCs so important in this age of digital technology, where everything is just a few button clicks away? It is estimated that global business travel spend will reach $1.6 trillion within the next 5 years. Travel for meetings, conferences, team building events and on-site inspections have almost doubled in the past 10 years. This increase in travel means more time spent by employees researching their travel needs, putting together their expense reports and following up for approvals. Then the accounting department has to reconcile all of the transactions, reimbursements and forecast budgets. Not to mention the issues that arise should changes need to be made or alternative emergency travel be sorted, this quickly becomes a giant amount of work for all involved.

With employees trying to look after their own travel, it quickly becomes overwhelming for everyone and wastes valuable company time. As a small Canadian business, it makes sense to get help with the operations of your business travel program and hire a dedicated travel management company. A great TMCs services will provide transparent expenses, follow your agreed upon travel policies and simplify the process for all involved.

Business travel can actually help with employee retention!

As a perk, your business travel policy can actually help with employee retention and appeal to new hires. For many people, business travel is not just an obligation, but it’s actually an added work bonus. It’s good to consider not just the initial cost savings, but also how the policy can benefit your employees.

To summarize, the best TMC for smaller Canadian businesses has a focus on customer service, employs innovative and leading travel technology solutions, and provides 24/7 local support. With a great travel management company, you will never feel like just a number.

Is a small business travel management company sounding good for your business, or something you’d like to hear more about? Send us an email or give us a call to set up a free consultation.

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca. You can read our testimonials here.

Written By: Holly Atkins
January 20, 2021

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

Make Your Next Business Trip to Calgary a Bleisure Trip

How many times have you been to Calgary and not stepped foot out of the hotel to explore the city? It can be so easy to fall into the trap of not leaving your hotel. Meetings are often on hotel premises, and most have good onsite bars and restaurants too. I’m here to show you how to switch that up and give you some new ideas and insider tips for your next visit to try and turn your business trip into an enjoyable bleisure trip. (Bleisure travel is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”, and, it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”).

Okay, so a few of these you might turn your nose up at because you’re not one of “those” tourists. I get it! I often try to avoid the popular tourist stops on my travels as I don’t like large crowds of people. My idea of travelling is to just wander lesser known areas and stumble across hidden gems. In saying that, I’m a glutton for collecting kitsch souvenirs, eating delectable foods, and enjoying a good view… and most of the popular tourist destinations check those boxes! I promise you that these experiences will make you view Calgary in a new light. Keep reading and you’ll have all of the insider info to have the best bleisure trip possible.

Treat yourself to brunch

Okay, so Vancouver just got its first location of OEB Breakfast Co. which has been life changing, but OEB was actually established in Calgary in 2009. I have never before made the noises I made when I first ate at OEB. Their breakfast poutine will absolutely rock your world. If you’re in Calgary with a free morning, do yourself a favour and get over to one of their locations ASAP. I highly recommend the “Meat-less to Say” breakfast poutine (but make sure to get it with added bacon if you’re a meat eater like me!). Really though, you can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu. See my photo below for further proof of the worthiness of their brunch.

Stretch your legs

After sitting in meetings, you’re probably longing for a good stroll to stretch your legs. From downtown Calgary, the raging Bow River is a short walk away, flowing through the city with a mighty force from the glacial melts.  The southern bank of the Bow River heading east has a 2 kilometre (1.2 miles) pedestrian and cycle path from Centre Street Bridge all the way to East Village. This walk does not go unrewarded, as you arrive at the East Village you’ll find the Simmons Building. A former mattress factory, it is now home to an incredible bakery (Sidewalk Citizen), a craft coffee shop (Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters) and a phenomenal Argentinian restaurant (Charbar). Grab yourself a coffee from the experts and head to the bakery for their delectable almond cherry brown butter tart.

2kms not enough, or coffee not your thing? You could also head west along the Bow River (on the northern bank) and you’ll find yourself with the best views of the city at the top of McHugh Bluff. You will also be able to treat yourself extra for dinner after your calorie-burning adventures!

It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere

What better way to explore a city than to drink your way through it? If you’ve got a free afternoon or evening, make the most of it with a brewery tour by the beer geek experts. You can choose to visit 3 or 4 breweries and you’ll get a flight of beers at each stop. Calgary Craft Collection are the guys who will look after you. Don’t want to join a group? You can easily Uber to each brewery for your solo beer crawl.

Heart racing adventures with windswept hair

Ever been on a motorcycle? What about in the sidecar of a motorcycle? If you’ve answered no, now’s your chance. Tours departing daily from Calgary, and you can opt for a shorter city tour if you’re on a time crunch or do a full day tour into the Canadian Rockies. Check out Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 14 years now, and I still absolutely loved it. Trust me, being in a motorcycle sidecar is an unforgettable experience.

Motorcycles not your thing? There’s mountain biking tours with Alberta 66 Mountain Biking, hot air ballooning with Sundance Balloons, white water rafting tours with Wild Water Adventures and Calgary even has Segway tours with River Valley Adventure Co!

Delight your appetite in Calgary

Had a long day of meetings, but all you’ve been thinking about for hours now is what you’d like for dinner? Say no more, we have you covered. Few things are as satisfying after a long day as tacos and a cold beer. Moose and Poncho is a small restaurant with communal style seating (we love their no frills approach!), and they will satisfy this craving for you and have you thinking of it for months to come. If you’re still hungry, they do some of the best churros outside of Mexico.

Want a meal without the meat? Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House is a small vegetarian and vegan joint that uses old authentic family recipes that are also gluten and MSG-free. How about something a little “extra”? Get dressed up and enjoy a nice evening out with a little mystery added – Betty Lous Library is a speakeasy that requires a phone reservation to get the password for entry! Cocktail dress encouraged, but not mandatory. However, baseball caps and jerseys will need to be checked, so don’t dress too casual.

Views for days

The amount of people I’ve talked to who have been to Calgary and not visited the Calgary Tower is too high! The Calgary Tower is a must-see in my opinion, whether you’re a tourist, local or a frequent visitor to the area. If you can get up there on a clear day, the views out to the Canadian Rockies are out-of-this-world stunning. Seeing the Rockies from such a height while the rest of the land lays flat and quiet really is something else. At 190 meters (623 feet) it’s less than half the size of the CN Tower in Toronto, but out here such a height isn’t necessary because of the flat landscape beneath you.

Get your culture on

Studio Bell is set inside one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture and spans across five floors. The exhibitions are hands on and you can play some amazing instruments (with video tutorials), try out some karaoke, and have a museum experience like no other. Studio Bell is fun, creative and won’t make you yawn or want to tap out early.

If music isn’t your thing, how about a sports museum? Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is located at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park and has been around for 65 years. They’ve got 12 galleries to stroll through with lots of interactive exhibits and you’ll find your inner kid coming out to play.

Extend your stay a little while

For boutique hotels, I absolutely adore Hotel Arts. It’s modestly priced and it’s a really funky little spot with well furnished rooms, excellent dining options and centrally located. Got a larger budget to play with? The Hotel Arts Kensington is the place for you with only 19 large sized rooms and impeccable service. Their onsite restaurant is a must-visit too. Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire is a popular choice for our business travellers, along with Le Germain Hotel. Both offer great service, comfortable rooms and bit more luxury. For something no-frills the Best Western Plus Suites Downtown is a great option with stunning Calgary skyline views and an included hot breakfast.

We hope that next time you head to Calgary for business travel, you will be able to fit some of these great stops and eats in to upgrade it to a bleisure trip worth remembering!

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

We would love to plan your next Calgary trip for you.

Written By: Holly Atkins
July 29th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

Why You Need a Travel Management Company (NOW!)

Travel restrictions are starting to lift and your staff have important meetings they need to travel for. You don’t want to miss a mandatory quarantine requirement and be turned around at the airport if your travel dates don’t add up. This wastes a lot of time, money and resources. How do you ensure your staff are safe while travelling, and where are you getting the up-to-date information required?

That’s where Travel Management Companies (TMC’s) come in. Not only do TMC’s have access to and knowledge of the most recent travel restrictions, we work hard to look for cost saving measures to improve our clients ability to survive over the short and long term.

The Boston Globe writes that “Travel advisors will be more important than ever.” in a recent article. Why? Because we’re on your side to get you home and re-book your travel, or fight for refunds and future credits when necessary. We’re up to date on travel restrictions, and do everything in our power to ensure you’ve got the information you need so your staff can travel safely.

TMC’s have fought hard for refunds and travel credits since the start of COVID-19. We work tirelessly to save our clients money because we know how important this is to them. TMC’s fight for you and endure the long hold times with the airlines as we know this matters to you.

Every day there are new changes to airline procedures and policies, and it’s a TMC’s job to incorporate these up-to-the-minute developments into the travel quoting and booking process. We strive to protect your employees as they commence travel, so there’s less stress and worry for all involved. Safety is key in these times and we aim to stay informed to reduce risk and increase your time to focus on more important things.

So what are the biggest benefits of using a Travel Management Company?

  • Round the clock, 24/7 support for all travellers in case of an emergency or last minute travel.
  • Saves your company long hold times with Airlines. We fight for you to get refunds and travel credits.
  • Flight changes take us just minutes instead of hours as we have direct access to the booking system.
  • Educate and inform your clients on the latest travel restrictions and updates.

Here at Worldgo Travel Management, we have over 90 years of collective experience, and we offer complete transparency with personal service. On top of this, we have industry leading technology to provide a faster and more efficient booking process. Our innovative technology gives us the ability to save your company money and help out quickly in a crisis. We know each business has different travel needs, and we will sit down with you to hash out the details to implement the best travel plan for your company and staff. Give us a call to see how we can help your company survive long term.

We’re here for you.

Read our article on what to look for in a travel management company, and how to choose the right one for your business – click here.

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
July 19th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!