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Does your company use a travel agent for business trips? What are the pros and cons of doing so?

Scout Young's Profile

Answers

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

It's usually a matter of the size of the travel spend when determining if the agency fee is justified. The justification is usually the savings in travel spend by utilization and adherence to negotiated rates for air, hotel, car, etc.

The main benefits are putting their knowledge of the industry to work for you - especially data points for deal negotiation. The benefit to travelers is figuring out complicated reservations (usually overseas) and 24 hour service.

A lesser known benefit is knowledge of travelers whereabouts. I had the travel group in my team and when the bombings in London occurred - we knew exactly where every traveler was located (hotel, flights, etc.) - all courtesy of the agency.

Hope this helps.

Mark

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Even small companies could benefit from a travel agency model. Traveling could be very expensive. Leaving individuals to decide their own travel plans could be costly. An agent will make sure your policies are followed. You may not have a per ticket save/price reduction, but in the long run you will save from consistency in execution.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

My experience is similar to Mark's. Especially important is the ability to re-route key executives, 24/7, in the event of an international incident.

Ram Hariharan
Title: Technology Director
Company: Expedia, Inc.
(Technology Director, Expedia, Inc.) |

A good agency can provide personalized service, 24/7 help with changes and cancellations, unused ticket tracking, policy enforcement, analytics (which routes / class are most frequently purchased by employees?), support for fares you've negotiated directly with an airline, track spending / approvals, advanced warning from the agency in the event of inclement weather that would interfere with your travel, and so on.

One agency you might consider is Egencia (disclosure: Egencia is part of Exepedia, Inc., my employer). A wide range of mid to large companies choose to use Egencia for exactly the reasons above.

More info here:
http://www.egencia.com/en/why-egencia/
http://www.egencia.com/en/why-egencia/promise/

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

You should check out Concur. Not only are the pioneers in expense reporting and are now the Federal government's preferred provider they are going to be launching a travel booking service that will undercut the market.

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