A Guide to Corporate Clients for Travel Agencies
“Travel more” – an item almost universally present on bucket lists everywhere. Almost to the point of cliché, almost. Those who travel regularly will tell you that it lives up to the hype. It renews the soul and refreshes the mind. However, there are those who do not travel for leisure. As such, their opinions may vary. It is this group of individuals that is the subject of our discussion today – corporate travellers.
Business or pleasure? The officer at the airport often asks. The implication being that they’re mutually exclusive. Perhaps that’s not an unfair characterization, as you’ll learn if you speak to any business traveller. They travel frequently, often not staying more than a few hours at their destination before they’re flying back out. Turns out all those extra perks in business class are much needed if this is how you live.
The fact that airlines provide extra hospitality to travellers in business class should indicate their importance. In fact, many airlines are eliminating first-class and expanding business class. The crux of it is that corporate clients are good for business. Whether you’re an airline or a travel agent, they represent huge potential earnings. Of course, they won’t do business with just anyone. Your business plan will need to reflect that you’re a corporate travel agent! Let’s take a look at what this means.
What is a Corporate Travel Agent?
Corporate travel agents assist companies in making travel arrangements for their employees. Since many employees are frequent travellers, corporate travel agents have to package their offerings in a cost-effective manner while still delivering excellent quality. Corporate travel agents do most of the same tasks as regular travel agents, only more focused on the efficiency and cost-effectiveness that businesses demand.
Why You Need Corporate Clients
If you’re able to secure even a few corporate clients, you will see your agency thrive. There are several benefits of catering to corporate clients, such as:
The most obvious benefit of corporate clients for your travel agency is the high volume. If you’re running an agency targeting independent travellers, you’ll have to work hard for every single client. Each person will come with their own list of demands and challenges that they’ll expect you to accommodate within their budget.
With corporate clients, you only have to deal with one person, usually the liaison from the company. Since the corporation will have several employees who are expected to travel, you receive a big payday with (technically) just one client.
Furthermore, corporate clients are looking for cost-effective options. This means that they will want standardized packages, designed to meet general rather than specific needs. As such, you won’t have to jump through too many hoops. Lodging and logistics are pretty much all you’ll have to worry about. You can have a few standardized options for them to choose from. As long as the quality of the offer is good, and appropriately priced, you won’t have to put out too many fires.
Another benefit of corporate travellers is that they’re consistent. If you’ve been servicing mostly individuals and families, you’re probably lamenting the fact that the income can be very unpredictable. Peak times like summer vacations or the holidays bring a huge influx of revenue, while other months are barren.
As a corporate travel agent, you’ll immediately see the differences in consistency. Being able to predict the volume and frequency of your income can go a long way towards long-term financial planning. Take the example of management consultants, or pharmaceutical representatives. Both professions require a lot of travel. If you were to land one of these companies as a client, you would have a benchmark number of trips per month.
Having a benchmark means you can plan ahead, expand your business, and make better decisions in the medium to long term. All these factors will improve the health of your business, and will obviously be reflected on the bottom line.
Another key advantage of being a corporate travel agent is that corporate clients are recurring clients. This means they will come to you for all your needs in the future, provided you put in the effort to maintain them.
A frequent issue with individual travellers is cancellations. Potential clients make you go to hell and back, just to change their minds at the last minute. This is not a huge point of concern with corporate clients because you have a long-standing business relationship with them.
They’re unlikely to cancel or go through another agent because the person travelling hasn’t made any of the arrangements. Even if there is a cancellation, it is simply a small blip in an ongoing relationship. This is because you will probably have some form of credit arrangement with the corporation. Even if there is a cancellation, it simply gets rearranged in the grand scheme of things.
“When you have high-volume, consistent, recurring clients, you can build long-lasting relationships with people in complementary industries.”
The statement above captures the beauty of corporate clients succinctly. You can foster relationships with hotel managers, airlines, cab companies, and any other entity involved in servicing your clients. This can help you tap into previously unexplored discounts, or perhaps even upgrades.
Reduced costs or improved services can not only help in retaining the existing client but can also fetch you new ones. Word of mouth can be a powerful weapon, and if you’re delivering quality service at a competitive price, you can bet it will spread fast.
As you can see, changing your business plan to suit corporate clients can carry huge benefits for your travel agency. These were some reasons why we think you should focus your efforts on becoming a corporate travel agent. We hope that this information was useful, and leads you to lots of success in the future. Good luck!