The people behind the people

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Managing business travellers is becoming more and more complex every day. They used to be unidentified spokes in the wheel of a corporate travel policy, but now they are becoming more demanding and want to make the most of their time whilst travelling. Productivity, security, comfort and cost savings used to be the main goals for the TMCs with their business travellers. But new challenges have arisen. Unique and personalized experiences have long been in demand for holiday makers, but somehow in the world of business travel we’ve forgotten that behind every business traveller there is a person with preferences and needs, interests and hobbies. And this is where the TMC has an important role to play. Besides the obvious cost-saving and efficiencies, the TMC should be thinking about the ‘people’ behind that corporate travel account. A company may be saving a wad of cash by shuffling you through the airport at 04h00, but if you’re too tired to string a sentence together, never mind seal the deal, the company’s bottom line will be far more affected than if a little more money had been spent on booking the next flight. The value of TMCs is exactly to keep these things in mind. Modern travellers expect their TMC to take charge of the entire travel experience. They want their TMC partner to pre-empt the ancillary services they know their customer will appreciate – airport lounge access, a meeting room in the hotel, or even onboard wi-fi. They want their travel managers to ensure their loyalty points are not lost, and support when it comes to submitting those cumbersome expense claims. Technology is one of the ways in which TMCs can improve their customers’ booking and travel experience. Glued to their phones and tablets, most travellers would welcome a message from their TMC with information and travel suggestions accompanying them every step of the way, provided that the information is relevant of course, hence the importance of contextualisation. The modern traveller wants their travel consultant to show they genuinely care about them by guiding them throughout the whole travel experience. The TMC that shows and delivers this personalised service will no doubt earn a place in their customer’s heart. Paul de Villiers Vice-President, Africa Amadeus