How can suppliers help your TMC win more client travel business?
Posted by Mike Atherton on 28 July, 2015
Simply, by creating and nurturing the right supplier relationships.
Your TMC can provide a supplier with a great route to market for their products and services but not every supplier relationship will help you win new business.
Where your clients already have suppliers in place, you'll need to form an effective working relationship too. But when the decision is yours, choosing the right supplier partnerships is key to further business development. However, will the right suppliers want to work with your agency?
Only if you develop effective relationships.
So how can you cement your relationships so that suppliers put the right effort into marketing their products to you, the traveller and travel buyers? How can you win more client travel business?
Run targeted communications campaigns
Direct access to travellers, their data and itineraries means an opportunity exists to run targeted campaigns that are personal and timely:
- Pre travel offers
- Airport special offers
- Destination information and guides
- Post booking upsell
And, because of the technology-enabled world we live in, the means to communicate on behalf of suppliers are extensive:
- In app push notifications
- Text messages
- Twitter and LinkedIn
The more effective your campaigns the more engaged the supplier is likely to be with you and, the better added value you’ll be able to deliver to clients.
Maintain awareness of your suppliers’ products and services
Your ability to control the conversation extends beyond individual trips, most business travellers take more than one trip per year, presenting a wealth of promotional opportunities.
Maintaining an ongoing dialogue by whatever means, builds and strengthens your relationship with suppliers.
- Regular communication
- Seasonal campaigns and promotions
- Offers relevant to past travel patterns
- Multi-channel merchandising
Being able to promote supplier services such as airport parking and hotels to those likely to be travelling is an advantage that well organised TMC’s can bring to a supplier.
Well respected suppliers are likely to put more effort into a relationship when the TMC understands how to maximise opportunity with the data.
Be strategic in your relationships
The right relationships will help you grow. That means being strategic about who your relationships are with.
Will they support your clients properly and do they reflect the brand image you want to portray?
Perception of your business will often be reflected by those you partner with. Partner with well-respected suppliers the effect will be to enhance your own reputation further.
We saw a recent example of this strategy when the Portman Group, one of the UK’s leading TMCs, became a channel partner for Campbell Irvine Ltd to provide an extensive range of travel insurance products to their clients.
Steve Allen, CEO at Portman, commented that “…the main focus at Portman is to make the lives of travel managers, bookers, and ultimately travellers, as easy as possible through great service and relevant products. CSR is important to everyone, and offering travel insurance as part of Portman’s product suite will assist our clients with improved compliance and increased visibility of total trip spend.”
Partnering with a well-respected insurance broker that specialises in services to tour operators and travel agents could be seen as a strategic move to enhance customer service and build reputation.
Maximise the upsell opportunities
Opportunities to upsell are limitless but the timing and message must be right.
Bombard the traveller with too many generic messages and they’ll stop responding. It could also damage your brand and that of your suppliers.
However, carefully targeted messages that are timely and relevant are welcomed by recipients and help to build your reputation and supplier relationship.
Careful planning of your communication strategy is an important step in the right direction. Choosing the right travel software to help you turn the strategy into a reality should be your next consideration.
Lastly, control the conversation
You’re the vital link between the supplier and the client, and therefore the one who has to control the conversation. And because you know your clients better than anyone, you are in the best position to maximise these sales opportunities.
If a TMC doesn’t have a client-focused communications strategy for marketing suppliers’ products and services, they’re missing out on both continuing revenue from targeted clients and valuable savings promoted by suppliers.
Browse our free guide on how mobile and travel apps can improve your overall strategy and enhance the business traveller's experience.