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GUEST COLUMN


CHOOSE A SMALL COMPANY CHAMPION


UK SMEs represent a large sector – but TMCs mustn’t lose sight of the people behind the business


It’s a sector that undeniably packs a big punch, but while the impressive statistics group SMEs into pools of (emotionless) data, TMCs need to keep in mind the people behind the numbers. In delivering corporate travel management for all variety of businesses, the values and nuances unique to each organisa- tion mean that one size never fits all. Great TMCs not only recognise this, they


T


celebrate it. They champion the unique requirements of the people in those organ- isations, support travel bookers, and treat clients as individuals.


The term SME is broad enough to incorpo-


rate a business run by one entrepreneur, or an organisation with up to 250 employees or more, each with their own dreams and goals to achieve. And any SME has a right to expect their TMC to take time to get to know them personally, and create a trusted relationship, no matter their size and scope. Only then can a TMC support their strategy to achieve those goals. A TMC should also help to identify process improvements, management reporting and increase the productivity of the SME’s in- house team, many of whom will have taken on travel booking as an extension to their core roles.


UNLOCKING VALUE


One of the key advantages for an SME out- sourcing their corporate travel requirements is the opportunity this brings to unlock access to hundreds of travel partners, accommodation options, air fares, meeting


HERE ARE SOME 5.6 MILLION small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, employing 16 million people, with a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion.


STEVE BYRNE


chief executive of Travel Counsellors


NUMBERS DON’T


ALWAYS TELL THE TRUE STORY, BUT FINDING THE BEST-SUITED TMC IS SOMETHING THAT ALWAYS ADDS UP


buyingbusinesstravel.com


rooms, away day venues and conference spaces, leveraging the relationships that a TMC has earned with supplier partners, while maintaining the corporate and per- sonal loyalty schemes held by clients. On top of away days, a supportive TMC should also factor in event management support. From small, external meetings to annual conferences featuring thousands of delegates; dedicated MICE management can form a useful and natural extension to a TMC’s offering for SMEs. While global business travel spend is fore- cast to grow 7 per cent in 2019, rather than making a decision on whether total financial spend on corporate travel merits external support, it pays for SMEs to review the time spent on looking after all aspects of their employees’ travel experiences in-house. Not only should a TMC save time and money for SMEs, they should create enjoyable, personalised travel experiences for the company’s frequent travellers, making personal recommendations based on experience, and building bespoke travel itineraries to suit. Finally, TMCs need to remember smaller companies can grow into bigger companies, so they must be agile and reactive enough to grow alongside their corporate travel clients, providing the appropriate level of operational support. Numbers don’t always tell the true story, but finding the best-suited TMC is some- thing that always adds up.


2019 JULY/AUGUST 93


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