Corporate Travel Agent

Corporate Travel Agent

 

Our corporate travel agents are not only the front line of our organization but a huge part of our success –hands down. Our corporate travel agents expertly book our travellers’ trips, and continuously make updates and changes to reservations (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!), all while keeping a smile on their faces.

And though it took much coordination due to her busy schedule, we were able to sit down with Leanne, one of our senior agents. Find out what it’s like being a corporate travel agent and how travellers can simplify the booking process.

 


 

Encore Travel: I know you’re really busy helping our travellers –so let’s jump right into it! How many years have you been working in the travel industry?

Leanne: I’ve been working in this industry for 26 years now.

 

Encore: And have you always worked as a corporate travel agent?

Leanne: Yes, I’ve always been an agent –and more specifically, always a corporate travel agent.

 

 

Encore: What’s a typical day like for you?

Leanne: Right away when I come in, I begin taking phone calls and answering travellers’ emails. I get their travel requests, and I begin putting together a few itinerary options for them. Each itinerary will differ in terms of travel time and pricing, among other factors. Once the traveller has approved an itinerary, I begin booking the preferred option and finalizing everything with them.

As well, I check to see if there are any outstanding special requests. Travellers will sometimes make certain requests based on their travel preferences, such as a specific flight seat or hotel room. If they’re unable to get their request themselves, I oversee this and ensure that they end up receiving their preference. This way their trip is more convenient and comfortable.

 

                                                                                                                                                         

I also spend a good portion of my time modifying and exchanging reservations. So, if a traveller needs to change their returning flight, I assist them with this.

Finally, I take time during the day to advise every traveller that I serve about the necessary travel documents they may require, such as travel visas. I’ll also make sure that their passport is up-to-date and let them know if it will be expiring soon.

 

 

TIP: If you’d like to find out how your organization can improve its employees’ travel experience, check out this article, 5 Ways to Improve your Corporate Travellers’ Experience.

 

 

Encore: On that note, what’s a common mistake that travellers make when booking their travel arrangements? And what can they do to make the travel booking process as easy as possible for themselves?

Leanne: The most common mistake travellers make is they confuse their travel dates. To make the process as simple as possible, travellers should attempt to get organized before they call. By this I mean, know the general travel dates of their trip, their preferred times of travel, the destination, their price range, and their preferred airline. Knowing these few things beforehand will really make the booking process smoother and more efficient. 

 

Encore: How can travellers save money on their travel arrangements, without sacrificing comfort?

Leanne: I would say by booking far in advance. When travellers book in advance, they receive a much better price. They’re also guaranteed to have more options and are more likely to end up with their desired travel arrangements. If they wait until the last minute, there will be fewer flights and hotel accommodations available, losing out on comfort.

 

TIP: Waiting until the last minute to book travel in order to score a deal is actually a common misconception. To discover even more travel myths, read our article, The Top 8 Travel Myths, Busted!

 

 

Encore: Do you feel that it’s important to build a relationship with your clients?

Leanne: It’s extremely important. It’s basically at the core of everything that we do, not only as corporate travel agents but as an organization as a whole. By building and nurturing those relationships, we’re able to know the traveller’s needs and preferences. We establish trust with the traveller. This allows us to book their travel with ease and ensures that the individual can travel with confidence.

 

 

Encore: In your opinion, which is better: booking travel over the phone or using the online booking tool?

Leanne: This answer might come as a surprise, but I would have to say using their online booking tool (OBT) is the best way. Especially for booking simple travel arrangements by themselves. However, when it comes to more complex travel bookings, calling an agent is the best option. This way the travel agent can get a better understanding of the client’s needs

And even though a traveller may book their trip using their OBT, we’re still there to help! If a traveller has a question, we’re there to answer and provide them with the assistance they need.  

 

 

Encore: How important is it for business travellers to book their travel arrangements through their Travel Management Company (TMC)?

Leanne: It’s extremely important that they book through their TMC –for many reasons!

Firstly, booking their travel through their TMC gives their organization an idea of what they’re doing. Their organization is able to accumulate its travellers’ data. They can access travel spend, out of policy bookings, top travel destinations, and more. The organization is then able to better manage their travel program.

Secondly, by booking through their TMC, they’re better able to modify or cancel their reservations. Let’s say a traveller were to book their flight through their TMC, but their hotel accommodations directly with the hotel, or through a public online booking tool. Should they need to cancel their trip, the corporate travel agent would only be able to cancel their flight, and not their hotel reservation. It would then be the traveller’s responsibility to cancel their hotel, and many organizations will hold the traveller accountable for any fees incurred, should they forget to cancel a reservation made outside of the TMC.

 

When travellers book through their TMC, as opposed to a public online booking tool, they benefit from immediate service.

 

Thirdly, when travellers book through their TMC, as opposed to a public online booking tool, they benefit from immediate service. When an individual uses a public OBT, they become one of thousands. And if their flight were to be cancelled, they would be in line with hundreds of other people, trying to reschedule their flight. However, with their TMC, they would move straight to the head of the line and benefit from their TMC’s industry contacts to resolve the situation quickly.

Lastly, and most importantly, it’s a question of safety. By making their reservations through their TMC, the traveller’s organization is able to know where they are, should a crisis arise. Also, in the event of an emergency, the crisis team pull a manifest to see all the travellers who are currently in that location. We can then individually contact them to remove them from the affected area. On the other hand, if travellers were to book their arrangements on their own, the organization would have a much harder time locating them in a crisis. And with the number of natural and manmade disasters we’ve seen this year, it’s incredibly important that an organization know where its travellers are at all times.

 

 

TIP: To find out more about the benefits of using a Travel Management Company, check out this article, Is Travel Management Worth It?

 

 

Encore: And finally, with all of your corporate travel agent experience, do you have any tips or for travellers?

Leanne: Following what we just talked about, due to the number of weather issues we’ve had this year, travellers should check if their flight is delayed, before leaving for the airport. Travellers can check their flight’s status by either calling the airline or checking online. And if their flight is still running on-time, get to the airport earlier than you normally would!

 

Have a question for our corporate travel agent? Leave it in the comments below and Leanne will answer!

 

 

 

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