At the turn of the year, when Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) arranged competitive bidding for its travel agency services, it was looking for cost-efficient services and a partner that explores and utilises technical solutions in a modern and user-friendly way.
The company chose SMT, which started the provision of its services in early march. – We were attracted by SMT’s combination of technical solutions and personal service, says Elina Mustonen, Director, Head of Office Services and Facilities, who was in charge of the competitive bidding.
NIB and its stakeholders often travel in the member countries, Europe and far-off destinations. – Today, business travel is about how you spend your time, Elina points out. – Part of the working life is made up by the “Home by the evening” generation that does not value business travel as such but rather their free time.
The organisation structure is flat and many people book their own travel, which improves efficiency. Still, NIB values the multi-channel service: the travellers can choose from a number of options, including assistance from the service team and self-booking services via the online channel. Online reservations are more common especially if the traveller is familiar with the destination.
The transition to the new travel agency was smooth. – We had quite little time to implement the new services, which demanded a systematic approach, Elina explains – SMT was primarily in charge of the project, and they really hit the ground running. We were especially impressed by the people in charge of customer reporting and safety services, she says.
NIB itself focused on internal communication throughout the implementation project. As many of the company’s employees book their own travel, the guidelines had to accommodate a large, multilingual and multicultural team. The instructions were thought through and prepared clearly and in great detail before they were communicated to the personnel. The materials had to be made available in English, and the company worked on them with SMT also in the travel portal.
Travel safety plays an important role at NIB. Accidents happen but the company wants to take care of its people around the world. NIB has, therefore, implemented SMT’s map and contact service which enables the company’s head of security to locate the travellers in various destinations on an interactive map and send them SMS or email messages, if necessary.
Furthermore, the head of security receives in advance the travel bulletins of the destinations where NIB’s personnel will travel. He or she reviews the bulletins and, as needed, distributes them further to the travellers for additional information and warning them of any concerns at the destination. The travellers can also contact SMT’s on-call service where they will receive help with urgent travel issues 24/7.
– I am all for long-term collaboration with the travel service partner, Elina emphasises. – Nevertheless, an occasional comparison of competing suppliers is a healthy way to inspect your own processes as well and to think what you can change in order to reach even better results. This prevents your company from getting stuck in one place.