Four Key Factors in Selecting Your Ideal Travel Partner

Every year, Kevin Mueller, Assistant VP at Enterprise Mobility, meets with over 200 clients with distinct transportation needs, spanning industries from aviation, to utilities, to Hollywood productions. Having worked for over 26 years helping companies navigate travel challenges, Mueller knows it all boils down to one thing:

“Whether it's an engineer fixing a cell phone tower or a salesperson trying to close a deal with a prospective client, a business needs to ensure their travelers can get from Point A to Point B,” he said.

When evaluating a potential travel provider, companies should consider these four factors: infrastructure, service, account management and rates.

Factor 1: Infrastructure

First, begin by determining if the supplier possesses the necessary vehicles and services to accommodate your company’s changing mobility needs. Then, identify your top 20-50 business travel destinations. 

“Your provider needs to be able to go where you go, and deliver the vehicles you need,” Mueller said.

Factor 2: Exceptional Service

In the age of online reviews, it is easier than ever to evaluate the performance of your service providers. Read online reviews and ratings on platforms such as Google® and Reddit to gauge the company’s service record compared to its competitors. Additionally, you can review a company’s website for any publicly available information such as press releases, industry awards received, and annual reports. Ideally, you’ll want a partner that can leverage the appropriate balance of technology and human touch to enable a seamless journey for your travelers.

“If something goes wrong, you want to make sure your employees aren’t delayed or on the phone for two hours with an 800 number to try to solve an issue,” Mueller explained. “You want a real human on the line who has the ability and authority to fix stuff quickly.”

Factor 3: Account Management and Open Communication

Engage in honest communication with your potential supplier about your specific needs. Ask them questions such as:

• Are they readily available when your employee travelers need trip-related assistance?
• Do they stay connected to your business even during slow travel seasons?
• Will you often talk to a real person or have to click through an automated system?

Personal references are also helpful. Interview industry colleagues with direct experience with the partner to confirm the company’s reliability and commitment to your long-term success.
“You want to know that they are genuinely invested in the success of your business,” said Mueller.

Factor 4: Rates and Value

When reviewing rates, look beyond the cost numbers and inquire about what added value they will bring to your business, such as fuel cost management, mileage reimbursement cost calculators, and loyalty programs, among others.
“Although prices are important — who doesn’t like a good deal! — focusing only on price could end up costing you dearly,” Mueller said. “It’s of no use to go with the lowest-priced vendor if they can’t deliver on your business needs.”

Finally, ask about any extra fees or adjustments to service models that may arise in response to industry fluctuations.

Bonus: Culture Match

Consider the alignment between your organization and the prospective partner. Inquire about their approach to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), innovation and company culture. The supplier's vision in these areas can reveal a lot about their compatibility with your organization.