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How Automation Is Helping To Combat The Skills Shortage In American TMCs

A plane wing with a blue sky and clouds in the background to show how automation is helping the skills shortage in American TMCs

The global corporate travel industry is facing an acute skills and experience shortage. During the almost complete shutdown in domestic and international corporate travel in 2020 and 2021, thousands of skilled and knowledgeable travel counselors left the industry, many never to return. This meant that as the travel market rebounded strongly in 2022, there were no longer enough resources and skills within the TMC sector to fulfil demand from businesses.


To bridge this gap between capacity and demand, many TMCs are increasingly turning to flexible automation solutions to help them cope with this shortage and maintain their business operations. In this article, we will explore how targeted travel management technologies and software platforms are helping to counteract the skills shortage in TMCs by increasing efficiency and flexibility while reducing costs.

What Automation Is Doing For TMCs

Traveler facing automation tools such as IVR and first generation chatbots have not made a great impression in the business travel sector. Instead, most TMCs used a traditional hands-on business model in which an experienced travel counsellor provided a personalized service to their corporate clients, largely managing all aspects of the booking in person.

The sudden demands of lockdown and remote working – as well as the impact of Covid on foreign travel – forced businesses to integrate automated systems into this model to manage the myriad of workflows and touch points agents have with travelers and travel bookers.

Post-pandemic, travel management is now more complex, as companies demand more flexibility and transparency about how their travelers are supported from end to end. So, with the exception of Covid-related issues, which have caused TMCs to do much more direct work with their suppliers (e.g. hotel room specs), the complexity and issues faced by the sector stem from not having people around who know how to book business travel effectively.

Traveler-facing agent automation technologies can be used to increase efficiency and flexibility in some of the booking and service management processes, making life easier for both travelers and their agents.

Automated travel management systems do not replace human counselors. However, by automating certain tasks such as customer service inquiries, password resets, flight and hotel bookings, rebookings, cancellations, and more, travelers can quickly complete these tasks without having to spend time waiting for their travel counselor. This allows TMCs to provide the same level of high-quality personalized customer care, where and when it matters, with fewer staff resources, instead of wasting time on mundane tasks.

The Flight Centre Travel Group’s Model As An Example

The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) is a great example of how automation can help TMCs combat the skills shortage. FCTG has implemented an automated hybrid process that integrates its reservation system with its customer relationship management (CRM) system and its customer service platform. This gives agents access to all their important data from one central location instead of having to search multiple databases for information about customers and bookings. This synthesis of automated and human-led processes speeds up the booking process significantly while still ensuring that customers receive responsive attention from agents who understand their needs.

Unlocking The Benefits Of Automation

Automation helps reduce overheads for TMCs by eliminating the labor costs associated with predictable, routine traveler requests, so that agents can focus on those tasks that require their valuable skills and experience. Furthermore, automated systems can deliver valuable insights into customer behavior that can be utilized to improve the services provided by TMCs and ensure they are meeting customer needs effectively.

As technology advances further in the future, it is likely that more companies in the travel industry will turn towards automation solutions as a way of coping with the current skills shortage issue. Mantic Point provide an automated travel management system – called TripScape – that helps travel counselors manage all aspects of business travel, with a shared mobile interface between agents, travelers, and customers to improve 360° visibility and collaboration.

To find out more about the benefits of TripScape, please call 0113 394 4564 or click here to get in touch with our sales team today.

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