The Challenge: As its employees started returning to global travel post-pandemic, Allegis Group needed its TMC to offer both the technology that allowed its business travellers to book travel online themselves and provide exceptional service levels from experienced account managers to support the evolution of its travel.
The Solution: Introduce Allegis Group’s travellers to Reed & Mackay’s online booking tool and work in partnership to deliver solutions across all travel requirements.
A global leader in talent solutions – comprising a network of specialised companies across 500+ locations worldwide – Allegis Group has approximately 500 people who travel each year (excluding large group bookings), with 100 of those being frequent travellers.
Reed & Mackay has worked closely with Allegis Group’s procurement team, which looks after the organisation’s travel bookings and policy. A client of the TMC for six years, the team uses R&M/Book – Reed & Mackay’s own online booking tool – through which clients can book air, rail, hotels and car hire in one place.
At the end of last year, one of Allegis Group’s key objectives was to move the responsibility of booking travel to the travellers in the business, using Reed & Mackay’s online suite of proprietary technology.
Empowering employees to book travel
“At Allegis Group, we’d been advocating for the self-service option of R&M/Book for a while. This would not only have a massive impact on our business and time, it would also empower our travellers,” Allegis Group Procurement Lead Keira Todd says.
Working with Reed & Mackay, the procurement team created bespoke, personalised training for its employees, designed to help them get the most out of Reed & Mackay’s technology ecosystem and deliver savings for their business. In addition, they produced in-country support documents.
A bespoke corporate travel service
Allegis Group had asked for additional approval processes for low-cost and non-refundable hotels to be included and, as this can be more complex, Reed & Mackay worked in partnership with Allegis Group to build a bespoke process.
“It was important that training around this step was communicated as straightforwardly as possible,” Reed & Mackay Client Success Manager Sarah Boyle says. “We worked with Allegis Group to create slides to make the booking process easy to understand, incorporated banners on to Allegis Group’s R&M/Book – so the process was visible at all times – and ensured all documentation sat on R&M/Portal. With the team at Allegis Group, we made sure the approval process was clearly articulated at every stage.”
Todd agrees that the organisation’s travellers embraced the communication and have been reacting positively to the change to managing their own travel bookings. “We send out a monthly questionnaire to ask for feedback on how they found the tool and interaction with Reed & Mackay. We’ve received responses including that it’s ‘fast and efficient’ and, where one traveller had booked into a hotel that needed to be changed at the last minute, they’d received a quick response and update,” she says.
“Rolling R&M/Book out to the wider business means there’s now time for our team to make travel a better experience for our employees, as well as investigate how it can be more sustainable,” Todd adds. “So the ease of using R&M/Book has had a positive impact for our team and, for the wider business, they feel they’re trusted with their travel arrangements.”
Working in partnership
Empowering individuals to book their own travel through R&M/Book has given the Allegis Group’s Procurement Team more space to work strategically with Reed & Mackay and continue to build a solid partnership.
“A partnership between a TMC and client is essential. Considering the culture of the client’s business plays a big part in its success, such as understanding what drives its people, what hotels they want to stay in etc,” Boyle says. “And Allegis Group has totally owned this; they understand us and we understand them and we can help them drive their business forward where they need us to.”
The partnership’s strength was particularly evident when Reed & Mackay introduced its rail booking platform and Allegis Group offered to test it. “That demonstrated a real investment in us as a TMC,” Boyle adds.
Allegis Group and Reed & Mackay devised the testing process together, creating training documents and videos that supported adoption by the wider business. “The testing went very well, the uptake has been great and our employees have really understood the tool,” Todd says.
A solid partnership also means Reed & Mackay understands what’s important to the client. With Allegis Group, the TMC suggested the use of R&M/Mobile as a next step, to enhance the travellers’ experience through its booking capability, itinerary visibility and notifications.
When asked to summarise their experience of the app, Allegis Group employees delivered comments such as: ‘it’s good, handy to have information easily to hand, especially booking references when picking up train tickets’ and ‘it’s an improvement in that you can self-book shortly in advance of travel, which is helpful’.
Personalised service as essential as technology
For all the people-focused technology that Reed & Mackay provides clients, the personalised service its consultants and account managers provide is just as critical to the client/TMC partnership.
“There are many scenarios where you’re given a tech tool, a list of instructions and then left to it. But what’s so important is that, if there is an issue with the technology system, we need that channel of communication with our TMC where we can find out when it will be fixed, so we can then communicate that to our travellers,” Todd explains. “That’s why a working relationship with proper human connection is essential. At Allegis Group, we really value communication and we’re always working on that together.
“Building relationships with your TMC helps benefit your business as a whole. If we didn’t have a good relationship with Reed & Mackay the whole process wouldn’t be as easy,” Todd adds. “We’re also able to connect with Reed & Mackay’s operations team, to find out how it’s interacting with our business travellers during the booking process. That, in turn, helps us understand if we need to bring more training in. Technology and service go hand in hand; they’re both equally valuable to the business.