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What Is a TMC?

December 14, 2022
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Travel 101,Travel Management

In the world of corporate travel, there’s an acronym for everything. TMC, or travel management company, is at the top of the need-to-know list. 

That’s because TMCs traditionally play a vital role in helping companies develop and execute their travel programs. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through what a TMC is, the services TMCs provide, and how the dynamic between corporations and TMCs is changing. 

What is a TMC?

TMCs, also known as corporate travel agencies, help companies organize, manage, and book business trips. They assist travelers, connect corporations to supplier content, offer exclusive rates and airfares, provide data reporting and analytics, and make recommendations to improve travel programs. 

What do TMCs do for companies?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the services typically offered by TMCs. 

Traveler service and support

TMCs provide customer service and support to travelers across a region or around the globe. They do this by having a global footprint or by being part of an agency network that ensures travelers have local access to trip-planning guidance, booking support, and emergency assistance. Some TMCs are better at delivering service to a global footprint than others. 

Travel savings and content

TMCs maintain a network of supplier connections—typically through a GDS but also through direct connections—to give travelers access to content from airlines, hotels, cars, and more. They use client travel volume to secure special rates and discounts with suppliers, allowing clients to save money on travel.

Data reporting and analytics

Corporations that track and analyze travel data can make smarter decisions about the rules and procedures they put in place to govern travel booking, also known as travel policy. TMCs support clients with data and analytics by consolidating data from various sources including credit card transactions, expense platforms, and TMC booking systems. TMCs also use this data to provide benchmarking to all their clients and measure the performance of a client’s travel program.

Consulting services

Most large TMCs supplement their data reporting and analytics services with consulting services. Consulting arms are made up of experts tasked to help travel managers leverage their data and introduce improved management strategies. Consultants can also help companies negotiate special discounts with travel suppliers, an exercise known as sourcing.

How the relationship between companies and TMCs is changing

TMCs traditionally served as a one-stop shop for companies to access discounted travel content, integrate technology, and plan and manage travel efficiently. 

But in today’s world, many TMCs are gatekeepers that lock companies into limited options for content, technology, and contract structures. TMCs have been accused of focusing more on generating revenue and protecting commercial deals than on delivering positive travel experiences. 

The pandemic has only increased tension between corporations and TMCs, with many companies stuck locked in to expensive agreements despite their limited travel volumes. 

TMCs, historically, have overcome shortcomings around content, data visibility, and inconsistent technology solutions by positioning these issues as less important than the quality service and support they bring clients. Staffing issues at TMCs, however, have made client service and support worse than ever, leading many companies to reevaluate their TMC relationships. 

The pandemic also heightened industry skepticism of TMC fees and pricing, as well as the lack of transparency around TMC revenue sources

Today’s TMC staffing and retention challenges are symptomatic, too, of agent frustration with outdated tools and systems to meet the needs of today’s post-pandemic corporate travel programs.   

Is Spotnana a TMC?

Spotnana provides travel management services as part of our open cloud-based Travel-as-a-Service platform. 

We  deliver the services and capabilities of a TMC by working with corporations to effectively manage travel spending and capture savings. For travelers, we offer a wide global inventory of corporate travel options, 24/7 agent service, and an intuitive online and mobile booking experience. 

We also provide an open marketplace and technology stack to travel suppliers, technology companies, and TMCs. 

Our ultimate mission is to create unparalleled travel experiences by modernizing travel industry infrastructure.  

For more on finding the right fit for your organization, check out 8 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Corporate Travel Platform.