The numbers
behind a TMC:
Flight changes in a crisis

Many companies have always relied on travel to ensure their business functions at its best. From having crucial face to face meetings to visiting suppliers, the need for travel can be essential. For many businesses the amount of travel can be fairly consistent, however for others it can fluctuate on a more seasonal or reactive basis. Some companies that travel infrequently chose to book flights themselves online or leave it up to the travellers to book and claim. Although it seems quick and convenient at the time there are many pitfalls to doing this and not using a professional company that specialises in booking business travel; a travel management company (TMC).

There are many everyday ways that a TMC can support businesses, even smaller ones, from improving costs and increasing efficiency BUT when there is a crisis, especially on an international level, that is when a TMC can really shine a light on their value. During the global spread of Coronavirus, we saw a record number of countries closing their borders or advising against travel to certain locations. As this multiplied, the number of travellers needing to change flights, get home or find alternative flights increased. With that, the number of flights departing, seats on planes and accessibility to airline’s customer service departments decreased.

Below is a visual representation of the weekly flight changes in the UK made comparatively to the same period last year, as the global Coronavirus outbreak happened.

(source: https://www.oag.com/coronavirus-airline-schedules-data)

Flight Changes Graph

What does this tell us?

If you had planned to travel during 2020, it could have been extremely difficult if not impossible to complete your trip or get yourself home. If you were the travel booker in your company and you did not use a TMC it could have been incredibly difficult to work out where all your employees were in the world. It can also be a struggle to try and juggle getting multiple people home or arrange alternative options with minimal resources.

If a TMC had been used by a company during this time, then all travellers' itineraries would be in one place, easily locating travellers as well as identifying their upcoming plans. The travel booker would only need to contact their Travel Expert at their TMC to get a full update on all their travellers around the world. On top of that, a TMC has access to systems and airlines that those outside of the industry do not. For example, you could be trying to change a flight by calling the airline’s customer service line.  However, in a week where 75% or more of the flights have been cancelled, you may not be able to get through or be stuck on hold for several hours. A TMC has different methods and avenues for contacting airlines as well as having access to booking systems so that they don’t even have to contact airlines to make changes. This can save you a lot of time or crucially get your itineraries changed quickly when needed. A TMC essentially takes the work off the booker’s or traveller's hands and handles all amends with experience and expertise knowledge. On top of that having a real person to help deal with any problems is always better than any bot or automated service, a real person can’t be beaten in a time of crisis.

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