Saturday 13 February 2016

GUEST BLOG: How should SMEs integrate suppliers into their business travel programmes?

There are an overwhelming range of options when it comes to business travel accommodation – particularly in London, where the latest figures predict that the volume of serviced apartments will increase by approximately 80% within the next two years.

Susan Cully

So what happens when a business traveller needs to book their stay? If you belong to a corporate company, you will more than likely either have an internal procurement team or a TMC (Travel Management Company) to take care of everything from the choice of accommodation to taxi and flight times.

But if you’re an SME, there is often a choice to be made – one which can ultimately impact a range of factors from significant cost differences to booking efficiency. Should you use an external TMC, or is there a larger benefit going direct to the accommodation supplier?

What many SMEs don’t realise is that Travel Management Companies often receive commissionable rates from suppliers and pass these on to the company. This can inflate rates by up to 15% in some cases – despite a more attractive package often available by going direct to the supplier.

And whilst some large corporations rely on TMCs to book frequent worldwide travel, business travel on a much smaller scale for SMEs will often mean that the client/supplier relationship is more than manageable. Communication is paramount to ensure that requirements are fully met – and who knows an SME’s accommodation requirements better than the company itself?

Interestingly, TMCs are being very mindful to treat SMEs differently from corporates. According to a recent survey by The Business Travel Show, 71% of buyers are nearly twice as likely to give SME travellers freedom to book independently. Rather than restricting choice and enforcing policy, employees are encouraged to make the right choices themselves.

But if this is the case, then what real merit do SMEs gain from working with a TMC? This necessary question should always be at the forefront of a company’s plans for developing its travel programme – and it is a subject that Marlin Apartments will be discussing further at the Business Travel Show 2016. Visit Marlin Apartments at Stand B262 to discover our serviced apartments and business solutions.

This post was written by Susan Cully, Managing Director of Marlin Apartments, London’s leading serviced apartment provider. Marlin Apartments will be exhibiting at the Business TravelShow on 24-25 February 2016.

1 comment:

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