What Is a Travel Management Company?

Audrey Fairbrother
October 23, 2019
What Is a Travel Management Company?

A travel management company (TMC) is a company that handles all of the travel-related tasks for your business so that you can focus on the other aspects of your job.

… because we know that managing travel can be a bit of a pain when you have a bunch of other tasks on your to-do list.

So, travel management companies (like us) will handle all of those tasks:

  • Finding a hotel that fits your needs and budget
  • Negotiating rates to get you the best price
  • Organizing your travel expenses to simplify reporting, taxes, etc.
  • Keeping your employees up-to-date on travel itineraries

When it comes to business trips, you and your team need to focus on work. Whether you’re traveling for a conference or a construction job, you and your crew will be much more productive with some help from travel experts.

Table of Contents

1. ...So They're Like Travel Agencies?
2. Why Use a Travel Management Company?
3. Does Your Company Need a Travel Management Partner?
4. How to Find the Right Travel Manager for Your Business

… So They’re Like Travel Agencies?

Yes and no.

A travel agent will certainly help you book a hotel, but travel management companies differ from travel agencies in a few key ways:

Corporate Focus

Traditionally, travel agents focus on personal travel. In other words, they’ll help you find the perfect hotel for your trip to Disney World in December.

They might even save you some money too.

But travel management companies specialize in booking business-related travel. We spend a lot of our time building relationships with hotels that can house large teams of traveling professionals.

That way, when you come to us looking for a twelve-room block to house your team for an entire month, we know we’ll be able to find it.

Now, the term “corporate travel agent” has become more common in recent years. We actually hear this term a lot, because some of them are our customers.

But this term is just a synonym for “travel manager.” In other words, it’s a full-time employee who works for a single company as part of their internal corporate travel program.

This is very different from a traditional travel agent, who works with individual families and clients.

Comprehensive Services

We don’t mean to knock travel agents. They help people plan vacations and have a good time, and in that sense, they make the world a better place, so we love them.

But when it comes to business travel booking, you’ll probably want more help than that.

After all, there’s so much work that goes into managing a business trip.

Not only do you have to find the right hotel, but you also have to manage expenses, keep your employees updated about the trip, and handle a range of other tasks.

Your travel management company can help you with those tasks. Beyond just finding you a hotel that suits your needs, we’ll help you manage some of the other work that travel booking entails.

Booking Management Software

Most travel management companies have an online booking tool. As a client, you can use the tool to browse and book hotel rooms and take advantage of all of the other services your TMC partner offers.

Every travel management company offers different services, so the features of one company’s online booking tool may differ from the features of another tool.

All Hotel Engine members get access to our corporate travel management software. Here are some of the things you can do with it:

Find a Hotel

Hotel Engine search engine

We’re partnered with a growing list of hotels around the world (about 700,000 in total at the moment).

All you have to do is enter some basic information:

  • Dates of your stay
  • City or address of your job site/event venue
  • Number of rooms you need
  • Number of guests you’re traveling with

Then we’ll return a list of hotels that meet your criteria.

Hotel Engine results page

From there, you can read up on each hotel. Every hotel listing page all of the key information:

You’ll have the perfect room in no time!

Submit Special Requests for Large Group Bookings

If you need more than nine rooms, you can use our travel management platform to submit a special request. Fill out the form and let us know what you need (budget, number of rooms, amenities, etc).

hotel engine group booking platform

We’ll take your request and leverage our connections to find you exactly what you need. We’ll even negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best rate on your travel needs.

(If you’ve ever worked in the travel industry, you know that this process usually involves writing and submitting dozens of hotel RFPs. Our platform can save you all that time!)

Manage Hotel Loyalty Programs/Points

Almost every hotel has its own loyalty program, which rewards you for racking up stays. Tracking all those points is much easier with Hotel Engine.

When you stay with one of our hotel partners, you can add your loyalty program numbers directly to the dashboard, and they’ll appear right there.

Then, you can use your points to redeem free stays and other rewards from the hotel.

Your employees can use this feature, too. With a corporate Hotel Engine account, all of your employees can add their loyalty programs to the dashboard and earn rewards for their business trips.

Track Your Expenses

Most travel software also helps with expense management. You can store your travel balance in the app to simplify deposits, direct billing, and reimbursements.

You can view all kinds of information on the dashboard:

  • Past folios and invoices
  • Monthly statements
  • Balances/available credit

You’ll also get real-time insights on your expenses (such as your travel spend for each day/week/month of the year) to help you plan more effectively.

Join Hotel Engine for free today to get access to our travel management software and up to 60% savings on business lodging.

Why Use a Travel Management Company?

Think about how long it takes to find the right hotel for a business trip.

You have so many criteria for the perfect hotel:

  • Near the job site/meeting place/convention center
  • Has the number of rooms you need during the right dates
  • Offers parking, car rental discounts, and other amenities
  • Within your budget

Finding a hotel can take quite a while if you’re booking a vacation, but if it’s your job, it’s going to take even longer. In the effort to protect your company’s bottom line, you’ll probably spend days searching.

This is why some HR, finance managers, and even travel managers enlist the help of an outside company, and why you might consider it, too. Partnering with an agency dedicated to business travel can help you streamline your travel program, saving time and money.

Does Your Company Need a Travel Management Partner?

Could you benefit from travel consulting and management services?

Ask yourself these questions:

Are Your Employees on the Road More Than 10 Business Days a Month?

If so, managing your company’s travel is a full-time job, and a third-party travel service could make it a lot easier.

Are You an In-House Travel Manager With Too Many Responsibilities?

A travel management service can take some of those tasks off your plate (and make others a whole lot easier).

This service is even more valuable if you aren’t a corporate travel manager but have been tasked with the job of managing travel. It’s common for operations managers, finance managers, and HR executives to get put in charge of travel — and you’re way too busy for all that work!

Do You Want to Save Your Company Money?

Of course you do! And a travel management company can help you do just that.

Many travel management companies operate on a no-fees, no-minimums basis, too. They make money when you book hotels. You get access to the software, booking tools, and customer support with no subscription fees.

Let us be a part of your travel program — we’ll help you save! Learn more about how we can help you manage travel and get corporate hotel discounts.

How to Find the Right Travel Manager for Your Business

Plane wing seen outside plane window

Thinking about partnering with a business travel management company?

Here’s how to find the right one:

1. Assess Your Needs

What are your expectations from your travel management partner?

Do you want them to take over all the work, or would you prefer to retain control while having some help with the most tedious and time-consuming tasks?

Travel management companies offer all kinds of services, so make sure that you find one that can do what you need them to do.

Consider your budget here, too. Some management services charge upfront fees or retainers while others don’t.

2. Understand Your Company’s Travel Habits

Does your team attend the same conference in New Haven every year?

Do you have a six-month construction gig coming up that you know you’re going to need accommodations for?

Or maybe, your company’s travel policy requires you to stay at a particular hotel chain.

Every travel management company has its own network of hotels. The goal is to find one with a large network where you need to go (or who partners with the hotel chain you want to stay in).

3. Test Out Their Software

Many companies offer free access to their booking tools, so take it for a spin before you settle on one company or another.

How’s the software’s functionality?

Is it easy to use?

Will it send you notifications to keep you updated on trip details?

The platform could become an integral part of your business travel program, and you might find yourself using it every day, so make sure it feels right.

4. Call Them

Any company worth partnering with will be happy to talk to you about their services, pricing, and other issues.

Call them up, ask about their availability, and get a feel for whether or not they’re the right partner for you.

Here are some other articles you might find helpful:

Gifts for Frequent Business Travelers | Travel Risk Management Guide | Productivity Tips for Corporate Travel Managers


Partnering with a travel management company can make your team’s travel experience smoother, safer, and more productive.

From big cost savings to simplified booking, it can take all the hassle out of managing travel arrangements.

Hotel Engine could be the right travel management solution for your business. Contact us today, and let’s figure out whether we can provide what you’re seeking.

Think Hotel Engine might be the right travel management company for you?

Call our Sales team now at 720-999-9349.

Article written by
Audrey Fairbrother

Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine's audience and cultivating the company's brand voice.

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