So you have chosen a new travel management company but are yet to start working with them, and despite conducting a thorough tender process and rigourous price negotiation, how can you be sure you will have a successful relationship?
That’s why TMC Click Travel has come up with five things to look at before signing that contract:
- Define what they are actually going to do for you
Make sure you have a tight definition of the services that your supplier is going to provide. If you are contracting on your own legal terms, the standard services agreement (that the legal team has just dusted off) is unlikely to be bespoke to travel management. So make sure your agreement actually covers what you expect them to do.
- Incorporate the service level agreement (SLA) into the contract
Many organisations spend a fair amount of time discussing service levels at the tender stage and then forget to incorporate the Service level agreements - contracts with suppliers which define the services and levels of service they must provide. SLAs also set out responsibilities and priorities. into the legal agreement! This gives the travel management company the chance to wriggle out of delivery.
- Agree what happens if your partner’s ownership changes
If your preferred business travel agent gets bought out by another supplier (this happens quite a lot in the business travel industry) the service could be very different. It could even be the supplier you dismissed at the first stage of your tender! So make sure that your contract includes a ‘change of control’ clause enabling you to terminate if your supplier’s ownership changes.
- Look at the termination clauses carefully
Can you terminate easily if things are not going well? What if they fail to deliver at all? You need to be able to move on if it’s not working and the mediation has failed. Look at how easily your travel management company can get out as well – they may be able to terminate on three months notice at any time, which is the last thing you want after all your hard work spent appointing them.
- Watch out for crafty price increase clauses
If you’ve contracted for a set period of time, your travel management company should commit to that price for the entire contract. Make sure they haven’t slipped an RPI (Retail Price Increase) clause into the small print.
Going through the legals is not the most interesting part of the process, but investing time at the outset should prevent a costly break up further down the line. If you have any more tips please share them in the comments below.
Click Travel was named in the top 25 UK TMCs in BBT’s Top 50 TMCs in 2014.