Is Travel Managing You or Are You Managing Your Travel?

By Eric Maryanov

There’s a nationwide trend happening right now that you might not even be aware of: companies are migrating back to the retail, brick and mortar travel agency for some good old-fashioned customer service that the Internet simply can not provide. High-touch transactions are coming back in a big travelway, rebounding from the past few years of no-touch, virtual ticketing and travel planning done by the boss’s secretary on the web.

The popular consensus driving many small and medium-sized businesses to the travel e-commerce super highway was that by booking your own travel online it actually saved time and money, and eliminated paying agent fees. However, it never really worked that way.

Do-it-yourself travel planning ended up costing companies and individuals lots of time, loads of money and the result was not always the best schedule and no one to call for assistance while on the road. The lack of accountability offered on the Internet is especially problematic when a traveler needs re-routing due to a delayed or cancelled flight. Whom do you turn to for help getting the next flight out, certainly not a website? A travel agent would be available to monitor travel and trouble-shoot in such a circumstance.

Even those of us in the industry rely on our own travel agents to help navigate the process of trip planning. The absence of a knowledgeable travel consultant in the equation of coordinating complicated itineraries with connecting flights, several hotel rooms and rental cars is often too much to ask any assistant to tackle in between answering the phone and doing their own job. Planning travel is a skilled profession in a constantly changing environment and it takes a committed expert to negotiate rates, book appropriate rooms and secure the best options. It requires time and a rolodex of industry connections to deliver a travel schedule that meets the standards and expectations of most seasoned corporate road warriors.

Now companies have learned. You hire a professional administrator to run your office; you hire a travel agent to book your trips and manage your corporate travel planning. It really is that simple.

The magnitude of a company’s travel spending can be quite significant, and requires the finesse of a trained specialist. For many firms, travel is right behind personnel on the list of biggest expenses they incur each year. By returning to high-touch managed travel provided by people with a personal relationship, rather than a self-serve computer screen, businesses are not only reducing the time spent on trying to book their own travel, they are also saving money in several ways. Thanks to professional networks and consortiums, travel agencies are able to extend lower industry-negotiated corporate rates, secure upgrades when available, and keep track of the total travel spend and track usage for an organization, ensuring all travelers within a firm are adhering to company travel policies and per diems.

Whether enforcing corporate travel policy for the organization or tracking mileage points throughout the year, managed travel is all about utilizing the tools. From ensuring quality travel2control levels to gaining access to pre-negotiated rates and the ability to generate a multitude of tracking reports, online booking tools serve to empower the company, the employee and the travel professional to consistently create top-notch travel experiences.

It gets even better. Remember, when you work with a travel professional you get the valuable advantage of interacting with a person who takes the time to get to know you, your likes and preferences, and works as your advocate in the planning process. What’s not to love here.

An agent also offers accountability. Should you unexpectedly become stranded and think you have no way out, just call your travel agent for a creative solution. If you suddenly find yourself in need of a room or if your passport is stolen, there are fewer worries when you have a trusted travel professional working on your behalf to make things right. No website I know of offers this level of personalized service.

The unexpected happens to all of us when we travel; this is one constant jetsetters can always count on. Returning from a recent trip to Seattle, I had one of those experiences when they cancelled my flight back to Los Angeles after boarding the plane.

We were sitting on the jet way awaiting take-off instructions when the announcement came that we would be getting off the plane. I called my travel agent. It was a Sunday morning. By the time we got off the plane and regrouped in the terminal, my agent had me booked and protected on an alternate flight to Los Angeles leaving in the next hour. travel3While the majority of my former flight-mates were scrambling trying to get on standby for later departures, I was back at LAX later that afternoon. Those without a travel professional spent the better part of the next six hours waiting in Seattle for the next plane to arrive.

The day ended happily for me thanks to my travel expert who jumped into action when I needed help. The point is, in this scenario, I was managing my travel even in an unplanned situation. My travel was not managing me, and therefore I was able to seek a reasonable solution to my travel dilemma that Sunday morning in Seattle.

Regardless of the type of firm you run or work for, seeking the advocacy of another professional to oversee the travel component of your business is paramount to your success. Your job is to focus on your business; our job is to help you do that by tending to your travel needs.

You would not cut your own hair or do your own corporate tax preparation after reading a how-to website; you would surely seek a professional to perform these services. The same holds true for travel. High-touch, professionally managed travel was an old-school way of the past, and now it is the wave of the future. Have your travel agent’s number on speed-dial and use it.

Components of a well-rounded travel support program:

• Consolidation and strength in buying power worldwide
– Negotiated rates with hotels
– Negotiated rates with car rental companiestravel5
• A team of senior corporate agents assigned to work directly with you
• Extended business hours for easy access to corporate agent
• Accessible management team
• Electronic ticket tracking
• Monthly management reports with cost-savings travel analysis
 – Lowest fare analysis with exception report
   – Reconciliation of credit card charges
   – Hotel and Car rental usage
• Separate departments for leisure travel, groups, meetings and incentives
• Cutting-edge technology – Automated Quality Control program provides a variety of benefits designed to save you time and money including: E-Checker, QC Manager, and Fare, Routing, Seat and Waitlist Checkers

QC Manager

Performs multiple quality control procedures based on your specific travel profile and preferences, and alerts your assigned agents of any changes that need to be made before ticketing.

Benefits to you:

– Assures that we will take advantage of all discounts available to you
– Provides error-free quality control
– Verifies negotiated rates with air carriers
– Checks itineraries to ensure hotel and car reservations match the date and location of flights
– Enables your agency to run individual and group reports on travel expenditures and send them to you automatically via email or fax

Fare Checker

Guarantees you will receive the best fare possible by accessing the reservation system several times a day and night for up-to-the-second pricing and reservations.

Benefits to you:

– Checks automatically for fare drops up to 24 hours before departure
– Reviews your travel policy to match the best fares with your guidelines
– Flags and returns ticket to our agents for re-booking when an applicable fare reduction is found that meet all rules and regulations
– Ensures we will re-issue the ticket and credit your account the difference, minus any applicable fees.
– Provides all information for analysis and reporting

travel4Waitlist Checker

Continually accesses the reservation system, looking for either open waitlists or the release of seats by the airlines. If availability is identified, the booking is made and immediately communicated back to your agent.

Benefits to you:

– Saves money by locating lower-priced and preferred itineraries
– Automates the time-consuming process of clearing waitlisted segments
– Captures all information for analysis and reporting


Tracks your electronic tickets for unused coupons and their status regardless of changes to itinerary, and generates an updated report on which coupons can be refunded or used for future flights.

Benefits to you:

– Saves money by eliminating lost, unused e-tickets
– Identifies e-tickets that are about to expire
– Provides total coverage of your e-tickets
– Produces a tracking report on the current status of your e-tickets

Routing Checker

Continually conducts difficult routing searches based on your reservations, looking among several carriers for the best-priced way to travel.

Benefits to you:

– Provides maximum savings by researching all possible travel options for even the most complex itineraries
– Works within your travel policy
– Frees your agent to provide you with one-to-one personal attention
– Captures all information for analysis and reporting

Seat Checker

Automatically secures preferred seating on domestic and international carriers using live seat maps of the airplane.travel6

Benefits to you:

– Finds you the seat you want
– Continually checks for priority and requested seating until departure
– Captures all information for analysis and reporting

Since 1984, ALL-TRAVEL has been the leading provider of personalized travel services. For more information, call please call or email Vicki Daly Redholtz, ALL-TRAVEL at 1-800-300-4567 or or visit our award-winning website at

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