Flight Centre Business Travel | Should you use a TMC or book your travel online?


The key to managing your business travel properly is knowing when to use technology and when to partner with a travel management company.

There is a misconception in the market place amongst most SME businesses in South Africa when it comes to booking their business travels. The perception is that if you do it yourself, it will be quicker and cheaper.

This proves to be untrue in most instances…

Think about the time you spend searching and comparing airfares and accommodation options. Or time wasted when you miss your flight and have to try rearrange your travel plans at the last minute, not to mention the costs involved when you now have to pay to change it.

“No matter how big or small your business, every penny saved can make a difference to your bottom line. And if you charge by the hour, what does it cost you every month to do your own travel instead of outsourcing it,” explains Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) Brand Manager Ryan Potgieter.

Knowing when to do it yourself, use an Online Booking Tool (OBT) or entrusting your travel requirements in the hands of a travel expert can deliver savings and enhance your productivity.

The first step is to know the difference between an OBT and a Travel Management Company (TMC):

Online Booking Tool

An OBT (usually built and supported by a Travel Management Company), is designed to meet a company’s needs around complying with travel policy, reporting, tracking staff for duty of care purposes and using preferred suppliers. It is best suited for very basic domestic flight requirements and simple point-to-point transactions.

Travel Management Company

A Travel Management Company like Flight Centre Business Travel offers comprehensive and personal travel management services that include helping to guide your travel policy, supplying an array of quotes and travel options, negotiating supplier deals, providing reporting so you can see what you spend on travel, helping consolidate your spend and doing complex travel transactions that cannot be fulfilled on an  OBT.

So when should you use each?

Money and time savings

Booking travel through an OBT can be cheaper than booking through a travel agent, but you need to factor in the cost of setting up and installing the OBT. It is also only optimal for simple travel itineraries so if your itinerary is more complex, you would be better served speaking to a travel agent, who has access to a global network and buying power so you save money. A TMC can deliver cost savings when last minute changes need to be made to your travel itinery.


If you need last-minute changes made to an itinerary, a travel agent can make these for you while you’re on the road. Although business travellers can access their OBT on the go, it still takes time to cancel and rebook flights, and make other changes to travel arrangements.

For four more considerations to assess how you should book your business travel, download our complimentrary guide here.