Client Success: Boutique Travel Management Firm Finds a Strategic IT Partner They Can Depend on

Client Success: Boutique Travel Management Firm Finds a Strategic IT Partner They Can Depend on
Published Jan 14, 2021

Introduction

Shannon is the director of operations at a boutique travel management firm. The company has seven full-time employees, and it serves corporate customers assisting with travel arrangements. They also work with these organizations to develop corporate travel plans and manage them.

Prior to finding the right strategic IT partner, the company had been working with another vendor. Shannon mentioned that they lacked any insight or knowledge into the systems the company already had in place. Security was also a concern, especially since they had no one to turn to when they had questions.

 

More Than a Band-Aid Fix

Although the company was aware of the issue, they didn’t know what steps to take to solve it other than looking for another provider. Shannon added:

Technology isn’t our specialty, and we don’t have an in-depth knowledge of how things work or the extent we need to go to have security across our systems. We needed an expert, and we didn’t have that.”

Because the company didn’t have guidance or direction, they ended up investing in technology they didn’t need. Worse, it only solved a part of their problems.

“We needed more than just a band-aid fix. We needed someone who understood the problem so we could prevent it before it even happened.”

A typical workday at the company was mostly smooth sailing, but whenever there was a crisis, it tended to shut down the business.

“We had instances with our previous vendor where we weren’t operational for a full 24 hours,” said Shannon. “That was extremely stressful.”

During those times, they had no access to email or phones, so they scrambled, and ended up having to use their personal cell phones for communication.

 

Making the Transition

Shannon was asked how she knew a strategic IT solution would solve her problems. She answered by saying:

“We knew we needed it because we didn’t want to run into a situation where our business shut down for any length of time. We needed somebody to be able to pull all the pieces together, create a long-term vision for us, and give us guidance in creating a stable environment to work out of.”

One of her colleagues had been contacted by XL.net several years prior to looking into a new vendor. He remembered a conversation he’d had with XL and suggested reaching out.

Shannon wasn’t skeptical of XL. She was just skeptical of making a change. “XL made a great presentation, and we were comfortable with the team. It was more a thing of ‘change is hard’ and a lot of people I work with saw it as a risk, but I saw it as an opportunity,” noted Shannon.

The buying decision process was carried out by Shannon alongside the three company owners. Their discussion mostly came down to cost.

“We tried to set out an analysis of what we thought we were getting and what we needed,” offered Shannon. “XL was very transparent about what would be included in the monthly fee and what would be considered an additional project. Managing the budget was a big concern for us. We needed to know how much would be included in the monthly fee.”

 

A Resource to Depend on

When the company was ready to make the transition, XL was ready with a plan. “They came in with a plan to get us through onboarding and to transfer everything over. They did it within the timeframe they said they would,” explained Shannon. “It was a smooth process and there was no disruption of service – that was the biggest concern and hurdle we had to jump over.”

After the transition was completed, the company took a deep breath and kept an eye on things to ensure they were able to provide consistent service to their customers.

“From there, XL.net worked with us to develop a plan. The greatest result is that we’ve been able to make some great investments and put ourselves in an auspicious position.”

As result, the company has more confidence in the stability of their system. They know there’s someone they can turn to if they have a problem. For leadership and staff alike, the difference is evident. The staff now have a resource and they’ve even started directly reaching out to XL with their concerns.

 

Making a Seamless Transition

The travel management company has had to make some adjustments, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.  But Shannon was enthusiastic.

“We’ve been able to keep everything up and running and over the course of the last six to eight months, we’ve been able to move to working remotely. That was a seamless transition.”

She also added:

“Our problems are being addressed. Because everything is taken care of, we can look to the future. And I think that’s important to our overall growth.”

Overall, Shannon feels the company has gotten more with XL than they expected.

“The staff is helpful, and they take time to make sure our questions are answered. You never feel like it’s an imposition to call them or you’re asking an easy question you should know the answer to. Everyone at XL has a great attitude and they’re just so helpful – it’s great!”

 

Next Goals

When asked what the company’s next big goal was, Shannon said:

“Our primary goal is to make 2021 a more prosperous year. Beyond that, we have some initiatives and projects that we’re teeing up with XL to increase our company’s security and capabilities.”

 

Interview recording:

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