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NOW managing your travel spend better


SA’s green bank does it

Stephens rescues R50m at Nedbank by changing behaviours

Under pressure:

TMCs move

with the times

■ Understand your Duty of Care ■ MICE sector growth for Indian Ocean destinations ■ How to enhance your SLAs with suppliers ■ Win a spa voucher from Thompsons Travel

October 2009


Cut the lip-service and give us real service!


VERYONE wants value-added service and if you choose to support a trusted supplier, you hope the expected levels of service will follow, particularly as we’re spoilt for choice in an economy where we’re most likely to find loyalty with our canine friends. According to a recent snap survey on TMCs run by BTN for the purposes of our bumper TMC feature in this issue, value-added service was rated the top consideration for corporates when choosing a TMC, followed by cost, transparency, technology and tools, BBBEE requirements etc. In the report, XL Travel’s Rod Rutter reminds us that any value-added service is now expected to be part and parcel of the service delivery, but, more importantly, that the demand for excellent service delivery is now a given. You would think so. We all have our stories that we relish sharing about poor and faulty service from previously preferred suppliers, but there are also those delightful cases of outstanding service from unexpected sources. Unfortunately, following a recent trip to the UK, I have more experiences of the first kind involving a particular airline and a particular local airport that have left a lingering unpleasant aftertaste. I’m also left with a desire to shake that airline and the airport authorities into some kind of wakefulness before their seeming lethargy and lack of interest at a customer-facing level taints the memories of those visiting SA, especially during the Fifa World Cup next year. Despite what we’re told in promotional efforts, most companies – suppliers, partners, customers – are not living and breathing excellent customer service and those that are, stand out for miles. The sad thing is, in my opinion, excellent customer service is not hard to achieve if you’ve got the right attitude, courtesy as well as the appropriate tools and processes. Speaking of the right attitude, this month we profile Nedbank’s Howard Stephens, who is a well-respected personality in the travel industry for believing in loyalty, good service and that there’s always a more creative way to make a real difference, which he has. There’s a quote from Peter Drucker, a successful writer, management consultant and self-described “social ecologist” in his time, that has relevance here: “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.” Would you agree? Be in touch and enjoy the issue! ■ KIM COCHRANE

COVER STORY This month we profile Howard Stephens, Nedbank’s chief procurement officer in the Group Shared Services Centre Division, and learn about the bank’s travel challenges, changes and creative processes. Cover image taken by Tijana Huysamen at Emmarentia Dam. Profile photographs taken at Nedbank’s Sandton head office.



On the Radar


How To




On the Radar




• Acte debates 2010 strategies and cost-savings tricks • ITMSA promotes new name and brand • TravelLinck launches C02 calculator

Airport check-in – the benefits and challenges

How to enhance your SLAs with travel suppliers

Bamako, Mali

Mining and the complexities around travel management in this niche market

Nedbank’s travel search and rescue effort

Power Panel




Deal Detective




On the Radar


New Option


Understand your Duty of Care

Pearls of the Indian Ocean

Travelinfo brings you the latest specials for destinations around the globe

An airline’s ability to take off at the end of the runway is directly proportionate to the luggage onboard – yes or no?

TMCs – travel management companies move with the times Brought to you by Now Media, Business Travel Now is a professional travel publication aimed at South African travel procurement decisionmakers in travel-buying companies. This publication aims to reflect an unbiased perspective of the corporate travel industry offering insight and tools encouraging readers to manage their travel spend better.

Win with BTN and Thompsons Travel!

PUBLISHER David Marsh MANAGING EDITOR Natalia Thomson CONSULTING EDITOR Kim Cochrane CONTRIBUTORS Linda van der Pol, Max Marx, Hilka Birns, Jeanette Phillips, Liesl Venter, Natasha Tippel, Sue Lewitton DESIGN & LAYOUT Michael Rorke ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Kate Nathan SALES REPRESENTATIVE Diana Comninos, Lisa Jacobs ADVERTISING CO-ORDINATOR Lana Sachs SUBSCRIPTIONS ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RSA full price R275.00, RSA annual debit order R220.00, Foreign on application PRINTED BY Juka Printing (Pty) Ltd PUBLISHED BY Lugan Investments (Pty) Ltd trading as Now Media Now Media Centre, 32 Fricker Rd, Illovo Boulevard, Illovo, Johannesburg, PO Box 55251, Northlands, 2116, South Africa. Tel: +27 11 327 4062, Fax: +27 11 327 4094, e-mail:, web:




Acte debates 2010 strategies as well as cost-savings tricks By Hilka Birns


UCH hope is being pinned on the Fifa World Cup in 2010 to kick-start SA’s travel industry suffering from the effects of the worldwide economic slump. But what will the World Cup mean for the local business travel industry? This was the question debated at a recent executive forum of Acte’s Cape Town branch. The meeting, attended by about 50 members, saw local industry leaders ponder the following questions during two panel discussions: • Will the World Cup really have the disastrous

impact on business travel as forecast or should we believe suppliers when they say that availability will not be a problem? • How do we deal with hotel negotiations for 2010 in light of increased demand from international visitors? • Will we be able to secure flights and beds for our business travellers at reasonable prices? • How can we continue to cut costs in the year ahead and beyond 2010, but still ensure the sustainability of our industry and travel partners?

Strategies for 2010 hotel negotiations

Beulah van der Linde, procurement manager Pfizer South Africa • Everything is negotiable with our hotel partners! • We issue our employees with cell phones, telephone cards and data cards if necessary. • It’s important that a hotel must be seen to be doing something for the environment if it wants to be considered as our provider. • Security is important: Transport companies may not display our employees’ names on boards, nor may the hotel reception announce our employees’ names. We will not consider using guesthouses instead of hotels, because of security concerns. • We’re considering a travel ban during the World Cup period; alternatively we may restrict travel and make more use of videoconferencing. 2

Marlene Steenkamp, sourcing specialist: Group Sourcing at Santam Limited • Our travel policy requires internet access fees to be included in the room rates. Breakfast is limited to a certain amount; we do not allow use of mini bars; and we allow laundry charges only if employees stay for longer than five nights. • At this stage we will not turn away a supplier that is not environmentally friendly. • Safety and security is important: We have a checklist of criteria and conduct inspections of properties ourselves. • We have not changed our hotel negotiations for the World Cup period, but we expect it to be quieter for business travel and we expect to focus more on videoconferencing. • Santam has moved away from hotels to guesthouses, in certain instances. • We use corporate rates. If we can’t get corporate rates, we don’t use the supplier.


Gary Plourde, area director sales & marketing, ArabellaStarwood Hotels & Resorts South Africa • New hotels tend to be more environmentally efficient. Starwood has mandatory practices concerning towel and linen changes and we have energy-saving and green projects. • The tourism industry collectively is responsible for keeping our customers safe and secure. • ArabellaStarwood is contracted to Fifa for 2010 and the Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel will be Fifa’s headquarters in Cape Town for the duration. We expect to be very busy, but for the past two years we have communicated to the industry that it will be business as usual. Our rates will not be inflated dramatically, but we encourage our traditional clients to book early. There will be a lot of pressure on cities with good quality accommodation, so my advice to business travellers is: Do without travel during the World Cup! The event will be good for SA. Already we are seeing a lot of enquiries coming in for 2010 / 2011. • The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel offers a number of pricing options, depending on supply and demand. Corporates who demand a contracted fixed rate may find that they end up paying more when the market is down.

Travel policy updates and innovations to drive savings Belinda West, Woolworths central procurement manager for travel services

• Our key change has been to move from legacy carriers to low-cost carriers countrywide. • We have become more focused in what we do. There is a greater business sense in how we buy travel. • We have a dedicated person who reviews every single booking before it is flown against our rate caps, schedules and benchmarks. • Given our business process, there will not be much opportunity for people to revert to bad travel behaviour in future, even if the economy improves.

Roddy Mann, Old Mutual SA procurement analyst

• We’ve introduced a ‘name and shame’ system, reporting aberrant travel behaviour. Use of LCCs has increased from 35% to 50%. We also introduced flexibility of flight times. • Accommodation-wise we published the five most frequently used hotels, which resulted in quite big swings of usage as a result. • We reviewed our travel policy at executive and at booker level and in the process caught finance managers approving flights they shouldn’t have. • Corporates must go directly to a supplier to negotiate contracts. You cannot rely on a TMC for this. We have yet to see a TMC beating a path to a corporate’s door to get a better contract deal for them.

Csaba Bognar, sourcing and contracts manager, Engen Petroleum Limited • All our policies are reviewed annually, but there’ve been no major changes to our travel policy because of the economic crisis. We were already working on a tight budget. • Our policy is that any meeting under two hours should rather be done technologically.


HE ITMSA announced the adoption of a new name and brand at the organisation’s recent annual conference, which will be featured in more detail in BTN’s November issue. The board unanimously voted in favour of changing the name The Institute of Travel Management Southern Africa to the Institute of Travel and Meetings Southern Africa, in line with ITM UK’s and Ireland’s decision to change their names. Chairman of ITM UK, Caroline Strachan, says: “We feel this move is absolutely necessary for various reasons. First of all it recognises the increasing convergence of the business travel and meetings and events sectors in both procurement and supply. Secondly, it recognises the increased numbers of members we are attracting who are dedicated to the meetings

and events sector. Finally it sets in stone the commitment we’ve made to incorporate meetings and event content into our everyday activity.” ITMSA national sales and marketing manager, Sharon Richards-Lund, says incorporating the meetings sector into the name of the organisation is a natural progression. “The MICE sector equates to a considerable portion of many of our members’ budgets. Alternatives to travel can be explored in greater depth, with the latest advances in technology and corporates becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprints. By delving deeper into the meetings aspect, we can help our members achieve greater education and considerable savings, reduce their carbon footprints and increase supplier transparency in their travel policies.”

Winner announced for BTN’s April competition

Tijana Huysamen


ITMSA launches new name and brand

TravelLinck launches new C02 calculator TRAVELLINCK is proud to announce detailed reporting on the CO2 emissions associated with flights, car hire and accommodation components of corporate travel, says TravelLinck ceo, Roderick Ross. He says TravelLinck’s CO2 calculator uses best practices from various international research organisations to provide a scientifically sound estimate of carbon emissions. “It has been great to incorporate aspects of my training as a chemical engineer and



senior scientist at an aerospace company in the US to improve the quality of reporting that TravelLinck can now offer its corporate clients. We look forward to consulting with our clients on the most effective strategies for offsetting the carbon footprint associated with their business travel activities. Using our detailed reporting, corporates can now budget accordingly to take into account a previously hidden component of their cost of sales,” says Ross.

Lynn Robinson, PA to the ceo of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, was chosen as the lucky winner of the New Option competition in BTN’s April issue. The prize includes a two-night stay for two at the Crowne Plaza Johannesburg - The Rosebank, including breakfast and a spa treatment. Pictured from left is Natasha Tippel (BTN), Lynn Robinson, and hotel gm, Trevor Latimer.


Airport check-in Airport check-in systems are becoming more advanced by the day, providing frequent flyers with numerous advantages and benefits. But there are challenges too. Natasha Tippel discovers more.


S the future continues to press on us, we become more dependent on technology to remain self-sufficient. Nowhere is this more evident than in the airport terminal, where more self-service check-in kiosks are opening up, enabling travellers to use electronic boarding passes to board their flights. “The benefits of self-service kiosks and e-tickets far outweigh any possible pitfalls,” says FCm national sales manager, Lisa Hemphill. “By utilising the self-service terminals, business travellers can avoid the long queues and check-in online. Additional benefits include being able to pre-book your seat or make flight changes. This is particularly useful if you’ve arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and an earlier flight is available.” These technologies benefit both customers and companies, says Delta’s md and Self Service, Josh Weiss. “Customers tell us one of the most important things is that we value their time and help them make the most of it. Allowing them to check-in at home, at an airport kiosk or on their mobile device allows them to save time. It also allows Delta’s people to take care of the many customers who need extra assistance or prefer to check-in with a Delta agent.” Md of Southern and Eastern Africa for Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines, Gabriel Leupold, agrees: “Passengers, especially business travellers, place time saving and convenience high on their priority list when flying. As a result, we see the use of pre check-in facilities becoming more popular.”

Airport check-in tips • Get your travel agent to confirm flights a day before travel. • Arrive at least two hours prior to departure for a domestic flight and three hours for an international flight to avoid any traffic delays or long queues at check-in. • Opt for a self-service terminal if one is available. • Most airports have WiFi spots so by checking in early, you are able to go through to the departure lounge and get additional work done. • Take a transfer to the airport. Not only does it take away any stress of leaving your car at the long-term parking, but these professional drivers will get you to the airport with minimum fuss. You can also work while they transfer you and a transfer costs less than long-term parking.

Lufthansa passengers can check-in simply and quickly at check-in kiosks at more than 50 airports in Germany and across Europe. To identify themselves at the check-in kiosks, passengers can either enter their six-character booking code or submit their travel passport or frequent flyer credit or German EC card. Passengers in possession of a flexible ticket can also use the kiosks to credit miles to their accounts or to rebook flights. With the aid of a graphic seating plan, they can then select a seat.

New passenger processing standard gets green light A NEW standard in passenger processing has arrived with the announcement that SITA, a specialist in air transport communication and IT solutions, is the first platform provider to achieve CUPPS (Common Use Passenger Processing System) compliance certification and to successfully complete its CUPPS Pilot programme. Catherine Mayer, SITA’s vice-president for airport services, says: “This is a great day for the air transport community, as it brings common use passenger processing to a more efficient level.” She adds: “This certification demonstrates

that our systems can run multiple applications according to the CUPPS standards. In fact, SITA’s AirportConnect Open is the only fully integrated common use platform supporting CUPPS, CUTE (Common User Terminal Equipment) and web-based applications, as well as CUSS (Common Use Self Service) kiosk applications.” SITA’s AirportConnect Open provides a low-risk migration path to CUPPS compared with both new platforms that may be introduced by other companies and with existing platforms where CUPPS, CUTE, and CUSS Kiosk capabilities are not integrated as a single system.


Some corporates feel that although online and self-service check-in facilities can save them time and frustration, they still want to deal with check-in personnel. Md of the South African German Overseas Travel Centre, Daniel Meier, says: “I personally feel it is still best to check-in at the counter, as I prefer to speak to the agent in case there have been any flight or aircraft changes, especially for longhaul flights. There are always cases of incorrect passport or visa details, incorrect tickets or other cases where special assistance is needed.” There are also the common frustrations with modern technology such as hardware and software failures. Commercial manager of group assets for Coca Cola Sabco, Shireen Aricksamy, says: “Many machines don’t work, resulting in long queues at the one that does and sometimes there are no tickets in the machine. People who don’t know how to use the kiosks also cause delays.”

Use e-services to make your time at the airport easy! PASSENGERS flying with Air France and KLM can now check-in using their cell phones. Passengers can check-in and choose their seat up to 30 hours before departure by visiting Once checked in, passengers can choose to receive a SMS text, MMS multimedia message or e-mail that contains a barcode and all the written information displayed on a conventional boarding card. On arriving at the airport, passengers simply have to: • Scan the barcode to check in any baggage at the baggage drop-off points • Display the screen with boarding card to pass through security checkpoints • Display the screen with boarding card to access the lounge • Scan the barcode to board the flight • Display the screen to cabin crew on entering the aircraft • Should your phone not be working at the

time of the trip, the boarding card can be printed out at a self-service kiosk or by an airline agent. The e-service has not yet been implemented in Johannesburg, but is coming soon. ■




How to enhance your SLAs with travel suppliers Sue Lewitton writes that when it comes to ensuring your SLAs with travel suppliers are top notch, nothing is more important than measurability.


T is essential that corporates are able to measure a supplier’s service, says Linette Mulder, Edcon corporate travel manager. “SLAs must consist of critical deliverables, but don’t bore your suppliers with the unnecessary details.” Echoing Mulder’s sentiments is Belinda West, central procurement manager for travel services at Woolworths. She says travel managers need to be clear about their desired outcomes. “The requirements outlined must support the achievement of these outcomes and the points agreed must be measured objectively to avoid entering into disputes about performance assessment.” She adds that the task of measuring delivery should be practical so this can be done in an optimal and cost-effective manner. According to West, travel managers need to be specific in their SLAs and avoid vague statements that are open to interpretation. They

must also be wary of measures compromising one another. Sue-Ann Tredoux, travel manager for Sanlam, says SLAs should be measured on time or dates. These can be broken down into categories such as service delivery, financial management and administration.

Managing SLAs on an ongoing basis

Tredoux says she’s seen many SLAs put in place when agreements are reached that are soon forgotten. She believes it’s important to have a SLA with your TMC rather than with all of your travel suppliers. “TMCs should be the ones to manage service levels with suppliers.” She adds: “A SLA is a working document that needs to be amended and changed as and when needed. It’s important that feedback meetings are held regularly. In travel this is preferably monthly, to establish where deviation has occurred and what measurements

“A SLA is a working document that needs to be amended and changed as and when needed.” – Sue-Ann Tredoux

“SLAs must consist of critical deliverables, but don’t bore your suppliers with the unnecessary stuff.” – Linette Mulder should be put in place to rectify them.” She says it is of key importance that the responsibilities of the TMC, as well as those of the client, are stated clearly. Howard Stephens, Nedbank chief procurement officer for the Group Shared Services Centre Division, says effective SLAs should encourage a stretch in service delivery without penalising minor infringements. “The agreement should give equal responsibility for achievement of great service to both parties.” To enhance SLAs, travel managers should only enter into agreements with key suppliers, says Stephens. “Mostly those who are preferred, otherwise you may not be able to concentrate on key issues.” He also warns against making SLAs so rigid that suppliers will only agree to service levels that can easily be met without any stretch. “Always allow room for discussion and variations to



the agreement, as it should act as a guide and not a rule book.” Stephens adds that travel mangers should not force agreements which do not match travel reality. According to Alan Reid, BP Southern Africa commodity manager – services, it is important to separate SLAs from commercial agreements, as they often need to be adjusted as relationships with travel suppliers grow and mature. He adds that travel managers should avoid relying too heavily on SLAs, as nothing beats ongoing communication and reviews. Jenny Poate, Metropolitan procurement spend manager, says travel managers need to remember that they are the client and therefore they should not just accept a SLA given to them from a supplier. “The SLA needs to be drawn up favouring the company, as you are the one paying for the service.” She also recommends that SLAs have some type of penalty points. “You need to allow your supplier sufficient time to rectify bad service before actioning the penalties, therefore it is recommended that a balance only be tallied at year-end.” ■

Six tips for enhancing the SLA • Measurability is key • Avoid rigid agreements; a SLA should act as a guide, not a rule book • Hold regular feedback sessions allowing for discussion and variation • Don’t set standards so high that they can never be achieved • Build in incentives and penalties • Keep it simple and avoid legalese


Bamako, Mali There is much more to Mali than just the fabled city of Timbuktu or the mud-built mosque at Djenne. Business travellers are flocking to Bamako, one of Africa’s great artistic epicentres. Liesl Venter reports.


N the banks of the River Niger lies the Mali capital of Bamako, a city that has been described as one of Africa’s creative melting pots. A magnet for artists, it is a city alive with culture and people known for their hospitality. Estimated to be one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, the city is a major regional trade and conference centre. Whilst crime levels in Bamako are generally low, business travellers are advised not to show valuables in public. Experts agree travel to the regions North, East and West of Timbuktu in Mali as well as travel along the borders with Niger, Algeria and Mauritania should be avoided due to armed banditry and the risk of kidnapping. On May 31 this year, a British visitor to the country was executed after he was kidnapped by a group of Islamic extremists in the Sahel region, bordering the Sahara desert. One of six westerners to be kidnapped in December and January, the incident led to renewed safety warnings being sent out to travellers to the region.

Where to stay The new Radisson hotel offers ideal accommodation. Situated in the heart of the newly developed ACI 2000 district, it is close to the city centre, but not in the hustle and bustle. The ACI district has seen much investment in recent years from the Mali government, as it is home to what they call their Administrative City. The hotel is close to some of the city’s popular attractions such as the National Library of Mali and the Pont du Roi Fahd. It is situated about a 15-minute drive from the Senou International Airport. The Laico Hotel El Farouk, formerly the Kempinski Hotel El Farouk, is the first five-star international hotel in Bamako. Located on the banks of the River Niger, it is in the heart of the capital and offers 75 modern-design rooms all with views of the river, air conditioning, direct dial phone, high-speed internet access and cable/satellite television. Comfortable three-star hotels include the Hotel Auberge, Hotel Independence and the Hotel Djoliba.

Fast facts • • • • •

• •

Bamako is a city alive with people known for their hospitality.

Getting there The best flight routing to Bamako is on Kenya Airways that operates flights three times weekly (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) out of Nairobi. The flights leave Johannesburg at 00h40, arriving in Nairobi at 05h45. The connection to Bamako departs Nairobi at 08h50, arriving in the Mali capital at 12h45. The return flights are operated on the same days, but departing Bamako at 19h35 and arriving in Nairobi at 05h35 the following morning. The Nairobi/ Johannesburg flight departs at 07h00 to arrive back at 10h10.

• •

Currency: CFA Franc Religion: Muslim Official language: French. Other languages: Bambara, Songhai, Arabic Electrical plug details: European plug with two circular metal prongs Health: All visitors must have a vaccination certificate for yellow fever to be allowed entry into the country. Vaccinations for Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and meningitis are advisable while precautions against malaria and cholera are also recommended. Medical facilities are limited especially outside Bamako and even basic medicines might not be available. Travellers are advised to travel with a personal supply of medicines. A comprehensive medical insurance is essential, as serious medical problems will require an air evacuation. Water: Only drink bottled water, which is available, and ensure that food being eaten has been thoroughly cooked. Visas: Visas are required for all visitors except members of ECOWAS countries. South Africans can obtain visas through the Mali Embassy in Pretoria. The processing time is normally three to four working days. Requirements include a valid passport, passport size photo, a letter of invitation and one application form. Transit passengers with connection flights within 24 hours and holding a valid return ticket need not have a visa if they choose to stay at the airport. Tourist and business visas are valid from three months and only from the date of entry; these can be extended in Mali at the immigration office in the capital or at any police station. Connectivity: There are two mobile phone operators in Bamako while outgoing international calls are made through an international operator system. Internet cafes are common in Bamako. Visitor info: Only some international hotels except credit cards so it’s advisable to have cash in hand or at call. ■

Where to eat Mali restaurants are popular for providing various delicious foods, ranging from traditional to international. Travellers to the region are often surprised by the large number of restaurants that offer authentic Malian cuisine, offering an interesting insight into the various aspects of the society and culture of the people. In Bamako the L’Appaloosa and San Toro restaurants are favourites. OCTOBER 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW



Mining Understanding the complexities of the mining industry is key to successful travel management in this niche market. Liesl Venter finds out more.


NOWING where the world’s treasure troves are is one thing – getting miners there safe and sound is of course, totally another. The mining industry is a unique and niche market that has to be understood in its entirety to guarantee success. “A sound understanding of the industry and its inner workings is crucial,” says Ingrid Hamman, head of business development – South Africa for Wings Corporate Travel. “Knowing what the individual travellers go through and what problems they come up against is essential in providing solutions to make their travel easier and more efficient.” Hamman says this, however, goes hand in hand with making the company’s travel programme more cost efficient and cost effective. “A TMC must not just understand the industry, but also understand the specific locations in which mining occurs to fully comprehend the logistics in maneuvering commuters through remote locations and countries. Says Sandy Badal, national group travel manager for one of the world’s leading mining houses, Anglo American: “A TMC must understand and have a knowledge of all our operations. Embracing the mining culture is critical.” Along with that, a travel consultant should have a sound understanding of the traveller’s mindset, likes and dislikes.

“Travellers in the mining industry are often placed under very strenuous circumstances, travelling to remote, dangerous or developing regions, so the travel consultant must be able to move the travellers as quickly as possible from point A to B ensuring that any problem that may arise has been dealt with,” says Hamman.

Mining all over the world

Whilst the face of the workplace in the mining industry may have changed over the years and most head offices are now found in the world’s city centres, the actual mines are still in remote areas that are not easily accessible. Africa often poses physical danger to travellers in the developing regions. “Travel insurance is a must and ensuring that suppliers being used are safe and secure can not be stressed enough,” says Badal. “It’s not just about operational safety at all times, but rather safety as part of our culture. It is important that a TMC embrace our safety culture and implement it in all their dealings. They also need to be available in times of crisis.” According to Hamman, by its nature, the business of mining and construction make it very different to other corporate travel. “In the field of mining travel, due to project changes at the last minute, changes to travel plans happen very often.” Hamman says being able to have consultants onboard with an in-depth knowledge of the mining industry and of travel fares and geographic locations to ensure the best route at the most economical cost, is what makes the difference.

No hidden secrets

“Minerals unfortunately do not appear in built-up and developed areas. Our expectations from our travel consultants are very high and using the latest technology is a must. It can save a tremendous amount in terms of simplification.” – Sandy Badal 8


Servicing the mining industry, which is often described as close-knit where many of the players are on good terms and know each other well, poses several challenges to the TMC. These range from ensuring that the best possible prices are quoted, to ensuring the traveller is routed the fastest way possible. “Bookings must also be processed quickly due to the short notice of travel and one must be available and ready to deal with any problems efficiently should they arise,” says Hamman. “The challenges also vary depending on a project. For example, moving a team of people around that are prospecting is very different to getting people to a specific mine.” She says with something like prospecting, cost is an important issue while moving travellers to/from mines means consultants must be up to date with their geography while having the ability to process quick turn-around times and last-minute changes to the schedule. Badal agrees: “It’s about working in a partnership where there is honesty at all times. This environment is also one where compliance, especially when it comes to safety, cannot be stressed enough while people must have the ability to work under pressure.” Badal says keeping things under the carpet is never acceptable to a mining house, as they need to ensure that all aspects are covered at all times.

And in an industry where breakdowns and incidents, acquisitions and geological explorations, are always taking place, being available makes all the difference. Says Hamman: “Word travels fast through the mining industry, meaning a good service provider will have an unbeatable word-of-mouth engine marketing it when it approaches other mining companies. But a bad reputation will always travel faster than a good one and if you provide a substandard service or one that is even just remotely not up to scratch, this is one industry where you will not move any further.”

“The challenges also vary depending on a project. For example, moving a team of people around who are prospecting is very different to getting people to a specific mine.” – Ingrid Hamman Dos and don’ts

Travellers must be tracked at all times, not just for safety reasons, but also in this fast-paced, forever-changing industry, knowing where your travellers are at any time means you are in a position to re-route them at short notice. Another requirement, says Hamman, is a ticket refund programme, where tickets that are unused due to changes can be refunded or re-used, and in so doing, reduce costs. “Booking flexible fares is a must and a TMC in this market must have good technological backing to be able to identify requirements or changes that need to be made quickly and to get information to other branches.” Says Badal: “Minerals unfortunately do not appear in built-up and developed areas. Our expectations from our travel consultants are very high and using the latest technology is a must. It can save a tremendous amount in terms of simplification.” ■


Travel search and rescue Kim Cochrane speaks with Nedbank’s Howard Stephens about how Nedbank has redesigned its travel processes in a quest for optimised management of such a significant portfolio.

Tijana Huysamen


S a lifesaving and swimming judge at national level, Howard Stephens, Nedbank’s chief procurement officer in the Group Shared Services Centre Division, is no stranger to rescue, resuscitation and first aid. As such, he’s breathed new life into travel management processes at the bank, with cumulative savings of R50 million over three years just by changing behaviours, he says. An accountant by trade, Stephens has been in banking at different financial institutions for close on 40 years, both in SA and overseas, and he brought this experience to procurement about six years ago when the group (including Old Mutual SA and Mutual & Federal) decided to work closer together to leverage spend better across various commodities, including travel. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it if we couldn’t do it together,” says Stephens of his close working relationship with Old Mutual’s Roddy Mann (BTN August 2009). “But while we’re essentially the same in approach, we’ve gone different ways. We’re both vanilla, but he’s got a strawberry coating and I’ve got lime!” Of all the companies within the group, he says Nedbank has the biggest travel spend. “We spend over R100m a year and it was even more before we started actively managing the portfolio. A high percentage of cost in the bank is staff expenses as well as professional fees and IT. After that it’s probably travel, so it’s within the top five costs we can control.” In terms of managing the travel spend more effectively, Nedbank began its journey in 2003, the first step of which was to give more focus to the responsibility for travel and negotiate directly with suppliers instead of leaving this role to the two travel management companies. “We’ve taken more accountability for the portfolio and because of my executive status, travel procurement is recognised and taken seriously, particularly as I control the bank’s vendors. It’s no longer the high-level purchasing of the past.” Assessing spend from a holistic perspective meant that Nedbank and its sister companies could negotiate better group deals with suppliers as well as separate individual contracts in cases where it made more sense to do so. “We looked at everything and at the time, this included whether we were getting the right level of rebates, which have subsequently been replaced by upfront discounts and corporate rates. It’s also about reciprocal business. If we bank a supplier, we tend to use their services, but only if they have the right price and the right model.”

Howard Stephens takes travel very seriously because he sees how Nedbank can change things. In essence, one of Nedbank’s best wins, according to Stephens, has been this collaboration, both within the group and with suppliers. “For example, I talk to Southern Sun for the whole group in Johannesburg and in Cape Town, Roddy is talking with 1time. We focus on our strengths and respective financial services relationships.” Another plus has been to negotiate at the top table, he says, which going forward has helped build the mutually sustainable partnerships enjoyed with suppliers today.

“Howard Stephens is an experienced negotiator who believes in loyalty and good service. He has always treated Europcar as a valued business partner.” – Europcar gm of Corporate Sales, Brent Kinnear The next step in the overhaul was to assess travel management best practice through research, participation in industry forums such as ACTE and ITMSA, as well as consulting with TravelWorks’ Digby Johnson. “This was all to help us understand the

total cost of travel and its benefits, and to grow with the bank’s strategy in terms of wise spending as opposed to ‘cost cutting’.” There is a very simple travel policy of a big corporate in the US, which Stephens loves. All it says is: ‘We are frugal with money, but please don’t arrive tired for a meeting with one of our customers.’ “We are in a similar space,” he states. “We want to cut the cost of travel, but not if it means the passenger is sitting at an airport for five hours, or so cramped up in a car he can’t move or is booked into the wrong hotel. Particularly important for international travel is to look at the total cost of a trip including traveller time and energy. If you’re going to an important meeting the next day, fly business class. If you’re going for training, fly economy, but leave a day earlier and spend an early night at the hotel.” He says it’s about using common sense when travelling. “If you asked people to write down what they did for their own leisure travel versus for the bank’s travel, it would be two different things. We’re trying to move them closer to what they’d do for their own travel. If you’re going home tonight to eat crayfish thermidor then I have no problem if you order it at the hotel while on bank business. But if you’re going home to eat a slice of bread, and you order the crayfish at the hotel, then I have a problem – unless it’s with a prospective or current customer. If you’re travelling with a customer, does the customer cover the cost of the flight? You don’t want to be in the front of the plane while the customer is in economy.” >





Nedbank’s travel desk paid for itself within six months of operation, advises Stephens.

The third aspect was to look at the value Nedbank’s TMCs – American Express Travel Services (Amex) and Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) – were adding and to which roles they were best suited, he adds. “We moved to a transaction fee remuneration structure and incentivised them to help us move more bookings to low-cost carriers.” Then in December 2008, Nedbank launched its own travel desk to facilitate domestic travel (about 75% of total travel) and because of this, in addition to recent advances in eprocurement (i.e. e-tickets and the like), there was no longer a justifiable business requirement for two TMC in-houses at the Sandton head office. As such, the TMCs moved offsite in July this year. This was not a sudden decision, he elaborates, and the change was communicated with bank employees for at least six months before the move. Travellers still have access to TMC services so there hasn’t been any negative feedback. In the short term, the TMCs are also providing an after-hours support service for all travellers.

“CWT has had a long-standing relationship with Nedbank and it’s a relationship we value enormously. Key elements are open communication, trust, transparency and a true sense of partnership. As a company, Nedbank is forward-thinking, constantly looking at ways to improve service and efficiencies while containing costs. They have always shared their strategy and welcomed our input in realising their objectives. A good example is the cooperation between our two companies in the implementation of their travel desk for domestic bookings. As a client, they are also always prepared to listen to our viewpoint rather than adopting an attitude of ‘we are the client so do as we say’, which is refreshing and encourages our team to go the extra mile.” – Ingrid von Moltke, Carlson Wagonlit Travel


He says they are currently about 70% of where they want to be and by the end of this year, he hopes that all domestic travel will be facilitated through the travel desk. “As part of business continuity, we’ve got a back-up in that we can still send the business or any overflow to our TMCs.”

Systems and processes that helped behavioural change Key members of Nedbank’s new travel team are Shantel Liebenberg and Jenny Burnell. Stephens says once the travel department is completely bedded down, Nedbank may consider doing point-to-point international travel such as the JNB-LON sector. “But we don’t really want to be involved with visa issues etc. I’m also not sure all my staff know where Luton is compared with Heathrow, whereas everyone knows where Lanseria is. For this know-how and experience, we still need our TMCs.” He says within six months of operation, however, the travel desk had paid for itself and achieved at least 20% additional cost savings. “We charge for our services,” he says. “We charge less than the TMCs, but it goes back into funding the project. To help with traveller discipline, we also charge double for a change and that fee goes directly back to the relevant cost centre so they can see there’s a cost to a particular behaviour.” He says Nedbank invited the divisions who were the most challenging in terms of travel to use the travel desk first – those divisions whose travellers booked late on a Friday for Monday morning travel – before it was opened up to other divisions. “In January this year, we had 100 transactions per month through our travel desk and now we’re on about 1 300 transactions.” The travel department has five members of staff whom the travel manager – Jenny Burnell – selected from the travel industry. Last year, only Burnell was onboard. “Instead of opting for someone with travel experience, in 2008 we chose a travel manager from within the bank. We wanted someone who’d been in the bank for a while and knew the culture and the executives – and who could learn travel.” Another success has been to separate travel strategy from day-to-day travel operations, and as such Shantel Liebenberg, a commodity specialist, was employed to look after strategy. “If either was doing both jobs, it would be a failure.”

Since Nedbank already had an effective procurement system – Procure to Pay (P2P) – the idea was not to spend millions purchasing an ERP system, but rather to use the existing best-ofbreed inhouse systems, in addition to a solution that TravelLinck has customised for the bank. TravelLinck ceo, Roderick Ross, adds that after reviewing the savings that were being achieved at Old Mutual SA, Nedbank approached TravelLinck in late 2007 to help improve the bank’s quality of travel management. “We worked closely with their IT team to determine what requirements would be met by their internal systems and what TravelLinck would handle. A travel requisition and pre-authorisation system was built on top of P2P. Careful thought was given to the type of data required. Nedbank chose a pre-approval process based on a catalogue of estimated travel costs, which TravelLinck keeps updated. This has greatly streamlined the travel desk’s task and led to faster end-to-end turnaround times and policy compliance.” Stephens adds that one of the behavioural changes technology has enabled is that travel has to be authorised before it can be booked. “From December last year, no domestic travel has gone through to the TMCs or to our travel desk without authorisation. This simple step has made such a difference. We’ve set up a catalogue, a rough estimate of travel prices, which effectively operates as a travel budget and assists with the visual guilt factor. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives travellers an indication of what they’ll be spending and what impact their trip will have on the environment.” He says quotes are no longer allowed. “Travellers look in the catalogue. When we get the actual cost of the flight, we can say to the travellers that we are better or they’re 10% over budget, as an example. Travellers can choose on P2P whether they want to utilise CWT, Amex or the Nedbank travel desk. Along the way, though, the only option for domestic travel will be the Nedbank travel desk.” TravelLinck also works in partnership with American Express Corporate Card to streamline travel expenses and with the Nedbank Card and Acquiring business to provide innovative travel payment solutions for large suppliers and micro SMMEs, says Ross.


CUSTOMISED TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION ASSISTS WITH BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE TravelLinck partnered with the bank to improve the quality of travel management.

“To seek out additional productivity enhancements, Nedbank opted to install a leased line directly to the TravelLinck servers at Vox DataPro. This meant that TravelLinck had to pass very strict requirements for bandwidth usage, application speed, security and firewalls. We are busy with an integration project to electronically integrate Nedbank’s P2P travel requests into TravelLinck so that the Nedbank travel desk can use TravelLinck’s workbench to determine prioritisation of bookings.”

“We’re a green bank and people expect us to be a leader with regard to reducing our carbon footprint.” – Howard Stephens According to Ross, the Nedbank travel desk uses the online TravelLinck portal to select, book, pay and change travel arrangements. “TravelLinck also provides real-time reporting, all the monthly detailed MIS reporting and reconciliation of Amex card statements. This has meant that the payments processors’ role of allocating costs to cost centres has been greatly simplified. The MIS reports include the C02 impact per trip, total monthly spend on ‘training’ and a detailed breakdown of supplier usage; car, hotel and flight spend; traveller behaviour; trends etc. We will be incorporating MICE spend within the total travel portfolio as a future project in 2010.” While Nedbank’s MICE spend is not completely under Stephens’ operation, it’s under his strategic watch. To help manage this spend, which is about 10% of overall travel, it has been incorporated into travel strategy and preferred partners allocated so people can no longer do their own thing when it comes to appointing PCOs etc. The travel policy was also amended to incorporate important aspects such as Duty of Care, use of internal processes, reimbursements and environmental issues, he says. While P2P still needs to be upgraded to accommodate multiple travellers (i.e. group travel) on multiple legs, and to offer alternatives to a traveller’s first choice, Stephens says if Nedbank had seen a year ago where they are today with regard to travel, the team would have been delighted. It’s not only about saving money, but about saving the environment, which incorporates the protection of travellers and supplier relationships. Something Stephens knows all about.

Howard Stephens is a lifesaving and swimming judge at national level as well as the very proud father of three children: Carryn, his future tax consultant; and Megan and Michael who are top national swimmers and lifesavers.

Howard Stephens offers some helpful strategies: • “Be flexible and reasonable when it comes to policy. We try to exclude Business Class travel, but sometimes our travellers need it. This applies to accommodation too. We’ve moved all car rental into the B category or lower and this year we’ve shifted about 60%-65% of domestic travel onto LCCs. We’re encouraging the use of lodge cards. • A procurement council meets every two months and exceptions to travel policy are addressed, amongst other things. Before this, people didn’t think travel spend was controllable. We also have regular travel forums with the top PAs and bookers. • MIS – look at that. Get as much as you can. That’s where you can see what behaviour is happening. Question it. Who are they? Then you can start naming and shaming. Before going through TravelLinck, our MIS was bitty and never consolidated. • We’ve spoken with travellers about the ethical issues around choosing a flight because of a loyalty programme. This has been a problem in the past. • Our team inspects accommodation options and ask themselves how they would feel staying there. This enables us to give personal recommendations. • Nedbank has a working group looking at travel during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We’re not having strategic meetings around that time and we’ve negotiated with hotel groups to know when they are blacked out, with car-rental companies to know if they have availability and with airlines to see which routes will be affected etc. • Life goes on in an economic crisis. We haven’t told people not to travel, but have rather reviewed requirements with regard to travellers spending a longer time away instead of requiring two separate flights, as an example. Nedbank is also utilising more tele- and videoconferencing.”

Fact file: • Partners: Accommodation - Southern Sun, Protea Hotels, City Lodge. Air - SAA, BA, Comair, Mango, 1time. Car-rental Europcar and Avis. • Travellers: About 7 000

Europcar’s five top tips to maximise car-rental spend: • Ensure you receive flexible, relevant and reliable MIS reports at intervals that suit your business. • Monitoring of claims data must be carried out to identify areas of risk that require attention and to highlight renters who may require guidance. • Have an experienced procurement team to maximise and monitor agreement terms and negotiations. • Ensure you have a dedicated car-rental key account manager who has a detailed understanding of your business. • If using an in-house travel partner, ensure that Procurement constantly provides training and updates to ensure time-consuming and costly errors are avoided.

Enhance your City Lodge spend: • Become a member of Lodger Club or Corporate Club (depending on annual spend), which enables points to be accumulated towards free accommodation. • Book via the internet – automatic saving applies. • At the weekend, book four rooms or more staying double to receive a Team Scheme package, which offers discounts (this may be suitable for certain functions, teambuilding exercises etc.) ■



BTN recently hosted a webinar on Duty of Care and its resulting impact on businesses, travel buyers and travellers. In this Power Panel, we select a few highlights from the discussion to emphasise its growing importance. By Kim Cochrane.


HE long and short of it is that it’s everyone’s duty to be more proactive at all levels when it comes to Duty of Care. If nothing is done and awareness not built, particularly in light of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) coming into full force next year as just one example of applicable legislation, then we will certainly see more litigation within the business travel industry, believes Benchmark’s Advocate Louis Nel. “It’s always been a common law duty, but now it’s going to become a statutory duty. We’re going to see more cases where companies get into trouble for Duty of Care because awareness is building about consumer rights.” Whether you’re a traveller, corporation, senior executive, travel procurement professional or a travel supplier, you have a role to play – and you could also be held liable if something goes wrong. There’s not always only one party to which ultimate responsibility falls and as such, as Adv Nel advises, you should start looking at the legal restrictions of a) contributing negligence and b) having to mitigate your own damages. He adds: “You’ve got to peel the onion. First there’s a relationship between the company and the travel agent so you have to determine whether the travel agent knew or should of known of the foreseeable risk. Assuming the travel agent should have known, there is right of recourse against the travel agent. If a company decided to send a traveller and the risk was high, the company would be liable, and if the traveller went to a smart lawyer, he could probably sue all the people we’ve just mentioned. You have to look at the critical path, the players, their contractual and common law obligations (and whether these have been breached) and then apportion the damage to all the players along the line.” Alan Reid, BP Southern Africa commodity manager – services, emphasises that Duty of Care cannot be assessed in isolation; it needs to underpin everything a company does. “Check that there are no policies contrary to it, whether they be workplace, driver, working hours or travel policies. They all have to be looked at in sync with each other. One life lost because of a bad policy is one life too many.” Carlson Wagonlit Travel SA national sales and marketing manager, Ingrid von Moltke, adds that open communication is key in this process. “If you’ve got a travel policy in place, it’s essential that your travellers are aware of – and understand – it so they can make informed decisions. More corporates need to pay attention to this.” Acte regional director: Middle East & Africa, Monique Swart, agrees that education – in addition to top-level management buy-in – is essential and that travellers must be involved if a security section is incorporated in the travel policy. 14 OCTOBER 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW



Your Duty of Care

If you want to listen to the full webinar, visit And if you’d like to see a topic covered in an upcoming webinar, or participate in the discussion, please e-mail with your ideas.

What can you do to be more ‘dutiful’? Adv Nel says the first priority is to assess where these Duties of Care come from – contracts or statutes. “Then you need to consult someone who’s au fait with those statutes and draw up a checklist. There are other Duties of Care that arise out of common law and you need to analyse your chain of events – see if in each situation there is an apparent Duty of Care (i.e. is there a risk?) and agree how you will guard against that risk (and its implications) in the likelihood of it happening at each level of exposure. Currently you can exclude liability for negligence and gross negligence, but once the CPA is in effect, you cannot by law exclude gross negligence.” Swart says for corporates looking for some immediate answers, the Acte website has different white papers, studies and surveys about how companies are incorporating Duty of Care in their travel policies. Speak to other travel managers about what they are doing. “Ignorance is no longer bliss. Ignorance will get you into heaps of trouble,” she adds.

What is Duty of Care? A: “Duty of Care is essentially a complex issue, but it can arise from contracts or from statute (i.e. the CPA has some mega Duties of Care involved). It’s important to differentiate between ethics and morals (both are not a source of law, rather a persuasive element that plays a role in laws such as labour law) and custom (a source of law). You have to deal with Duty of Care being there by law or statute or other means and not as a moral/ethical issue. It may be there as custom.” – Adv Louis Nel

Acte recently released the results of its travel buyer survey in SA. Among the findings, when asked whether Duty of Care and traveller safety measures were incorporated within travel policies, 73.8% of travel buyers said yes. Of respondents, 16.7% said they were still planning to and 9.5% said no.

Do travellers feel companies care about their wellbeing? A: “As far as the 73.8% goes, I’d say this is very high and it concerns me. If we look at global surveys that Acte has done within the past year or so, 20%-30% of companies have indicated that they have proper Duty of Care items in place in their policies. I think the 73.8% statistic reflects that people are concerned, and know they should be concerned, and are looking into Duty of Care. I wouldn’t say it’s completely covered in their policies though. I think South Africans are more resilient and tougher, but internationally in the UK and US, we’ve had surveys where two thirds of travellers are saying they don’t believe their companies would be able to help them in an emergency (this doesn’t necessarily mean the companies don’t care). One reason could be perhaps if measures are in place, travellers aren’t educated enough to know how to use these. To a certain extent, I think SA corporates are lagging behind their global counterparts, but I think they know they need to start putting measures in place because they are currently only covering the bare minimum. Internationally a lot of companies are not taking this seriously enough and the sad thing is, when do they start? When it’s too late.” – Monique Swart

“How do you provide Duty of Care if your travel policy is not managed? You won’t have data, you can’t track travellers and they may use inadequate suppliers.” – Ingrid von Moltke Do SA corporates have the basic measures in place? A: “We can distinguish between those corporates who have large travel portfolios that are usually part of a global programme and those whose travel doesn’t run into multimillions. What we’ve found, particularly with global clients, is that most of them have security departments and take this very seriously, especially where legal implications (like the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act) play a role. But I find across the board, and I see it in RFPs as well, that not a great deal of attention is paid to this area, but more attention will be paid in future. If you ask corporates whether they’re concerned about traveller safety, they answer with a definite yes, but if you go into the nitty gritty of it, the measures are not in place. It’s quite frightening how often travellers are not aware of the measures; sometimes there are not even induction programmes to help new travellers. Staff who travel frequently through experience become more in tune with safety issues, but for travellers who only travel once, it’s just as critically important that they know exactly what to do in an emergency.” – Ingrid von Moltke

What is the TMC’s role? A: “A TMC’s role is in the form of assisting and we partner with our clients. As an example, we give alerts (CWT Alerts provides alerts on global incidents 24/7/365). We advise on health issues. We have a

Alan Reid, BP Southern Africa commodity manager

comprehensive database of corporate and travel profiles. Through our tools, we provide pre-trip reports so if we become aware of something brewing somewhere in the world, we are able to provide this data to our clients. We help with policy compliance and keeping travellers informed. In the event of an emergency, we provide after-hours support.” – Ingrid von Moltke

How is Duty of Care translated at BP Southern Africa? A: “As a company, we work with things that go bang, so safety is more top of mind. Our health and safety policy is simple. It’s no accidents, no harm to people and no harm to the environment. If we put this into our travel policy, which opens with the statement: ‘Everybody goes home safe’, it’s all around the planning. We only use approved airlines (being a big player in the aviation industry we have a system that tracks airline safety records and we rate them from different levels) and approved charter operators/hotels/ taxi operators/tour operators etc. Every piece of the puzzle is assessed to make sure it meets our own standards. We work with CWT’s systems, but we sometimes also add to them. If for example I have a booking for Tanzania, I get a whole document on Tanzania. The health and safety manager for that country is advised that I’m visiting so he makes direct contact with me and helps me prepare. Countries are rated from level one to four. The UK is 1, SA is 3, Afghanistan is 4. Depending on the level of country you’re visiting, there are restrictions in terms of what you can/can’t do, can/can’t drive and as you go through the process, various alerts pop out (some are CWT generated and some from BP). When you go into central Africa, you get a first aid pack to carry your own syringes, suturing kit, own fluids, own sensors etc. and in the case of the DRC, satellite telephones. Even in Cape Town, there are certain great properties that we just won’t use because they don’t pass the ‘one block rule’, which is how safe is it if you walk out of the property and go one block in either direction? We don’t allow some people to book online because then they’re not in our travel safety

Ingrid von Moltke, Carlson Wagonlit Travel SA national sales and marketing manager

management system. Safety comes at a price. What price do you put on somebody’s life? We all want to go home.” – Alan Reid

How can you comply? A: “If you’re following best practice or industry trends (i.e. what is general/ customary in your industry), and if that practice is in itself negligent or inadequate, following that practice is not going to protect you when a case comes along. You really have to be introspective and assess whether what you’re doing meets the standards.” – Adv Louis Nel A: “It’s a grey area, also in terms of our own measures to protect ourselves against liability. Our traditional role has been to advise clients etc., but as re-sellers of third party services, there’s only so much we can do. This is something we’re addressing now because to be honest, we’re not entirely clear as to where our liability begins and ends and we have an obligation to our own employees at CWT, but also to our clients.” – Ingrid von Moltke

Monique Swart, Acte regional director: Middle East & Africa

A: “We mustn’t get hung up on legalities because as an employer, you have a moral right to your employees. That far supersedes anything you may face in a court of law (i.e. common law rights). You can’t indemnify yourself from your own negligent actions. When you put someone in an office, you have to service the workplace and if you move that person onto an aircraft, into a hire car etc. all of those are technically part of the workplace so you have obligations of safety. This can be applied without too much stretch of the law into those scenarios. You must be mindful that this includes road safety. We’re revising our entire travel policy around road safety i.e. we’re not allowing our sales managers to travel after dark.” – Alan Reid

Next month....

Next month our Power Panel will look at whether SBTs enhance – or worsen – compliance.




Advocate Louis Nel, Benchmark


Pearls of the Indian Ocean

While Indian Ocean destinations, particularly the islands, have typically been holiday destinations, the MICE sector, especially in Mauritius, is experiencing good growth even though the economic downturn has impacted business travel from SA. Compiled by Max Marx.

Mauritius THE size of incentive groups from SA travelling to Mauritius has halved since the global economic crisis hit, says Elaine Youngleson, Club Med’s md in SA. “Companies are still recognising achievers, but are now rewarding mainly the top-level achievers rather than as previously, multilevel achievers. Gilbert Duvergé, SummerTimes marketing manager (SummerTimes is a founder member of Mauritius’ Incentives Travel & Meetings Association), has also noticed a decline in the MICE market from SA. This is in line with a general decline in tourist arrivals from SA – down 22,4% in the first half of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

Reunion Island Getting there • Air Mauritius flies daily from Johannesburg, once a week from Durban and twice weekly from Cape Town. The airline is offering special fares ex-JNB, DUR or CPT to Mauritius from R3 100 (excluding taxes) valid from October 5 to December 3 (travel must be completed by December 11). • SAA flies from JNB 13 times a week. • Comair flies from Johannesburg on Saturdays. It suspended its Wednesday and Sunday flights on May 1. These flights are expected to be reinstated during the December/January high season period. Note: South Africans don’t require visas. Car rental: All major car-rental companies are present. An international driver’s license is required. Chauffeur-drive is recommended.

Conference centres

Club Med’s two Mauritius resorts are popular, as they offer Club Med’s total all-inclusive concept, which includes flights, transfers, accommodation, full board, open bar, free use and tuition of most land and water sports and Club Med’s unique entertainment. La Plantation D’Albion (30 minutes from Port Louis), with conference facilities for 80 delegates, is ideal for those who convene meetings in Port Louis. La Pointe aux Canonniers, 45 minutes from Port Louis, has conference facilities for 30 delegates. Events can be tailored with themed gala evenings and personalised team-building events. Companies can also hire a Club Med village for exclusive use.

• The Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (main hall seats 3 500 delegates) is three km from Port Louis Le Caudan Waterfront. • At Mauritius’ new business hub, Ebène near Rose Hill, one finds Ebène Cybercity with large, high-tech conference facilities. • The Grand Baie International Conference Centre caters for 600 delegates.

Business hotels Unusual Destinations recommends two hotels, both at Port Louis’ Le Caudan Waterfront: • The 100-room Suffren Hotel & Marina, ten km from Ebène Cybercity, and the 109-room Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel with it six conference and meeting rooms catering for up to 225 delegates, and business centre. • Other good business hotels include Le Touessrok, Le Méridien Ile Maurice, the Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, Sugar Beach Resort, Beau Rivage and Four Points by Sheraton Cybercity.

Getting there • Air Austral flies twice-weekly from Johannesburg to Saint Denis, and daily from Mauritius. Car rental: All major car-rental agencies are present. A South African driver’s license is acceptable. Roads are good.

Business hotels • The three-star Juliette Dodu in Saint Denis has 43 rooms and suites, a library, a Creole restaurant, bar, pool and jacuzzi. • The four-star Hotel Bellepierre, ten km from Rolland Garros Airport, has 36 classic rooms and 18 executive suites with private balconies. The conference room caters for 80 delegates theatre-style. An equipped business centre has WiFi access. There’s a golf course at La Montagne (15 minutes away).

Reunion travel tips

• Currency: The Euro. Credit cards to use are Visa and MasterCard. Diners Club and American Express are not widely accepted. Cash is the preferred means of payment. • Language: French. • Visas: South Africans need visas, which can be obtained at the French consulate.

Incentive idea from Unusual Destinations • Take a full-day tour to Piton de la Fournaise, the island’s active volcano. At Pas de Bellecombe, view the moon-like scenery, enjoy a traditional Creole lunch before visiting Maison du Volcan, a volcano museum, and then returning to one’s hotel via Saint Pierre with its temples, markets and beaches.

Maldives • Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways fly to the Maldives via Dubai and Doha respectively. Both airlines offer daily flights to the Maldives. • There’s no car rental, as Maldives is 99% water and 1% land. One gets around by speedboat and seaplanes. • Resorts offering conference facilities are Kurumba Maldives, Paradise Island Resort & Spa, Sun Island Resort & Spa and Bandos Island Resort. The transit hotel at the airport Hulhule’ Island Hotel also has facilities. The 117-room Holiday Inn Malé opened on 16 OCTOBER 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

September 1, 2009 just five minutes from the airport. It has world-class meetings, conference and communication facilities. • Maldives resorts and hotels cannot cater to larger groups. The destination is ideal for board meetings and smaller conferences of about 100 delegates. It has become a popular incentive destination and Club Med’s Kani resort is ideal for incentives or mini conferences. • Leisure time: Visit the harbour front, shops and markets, the Old Friday Mosque, the

National Museum in Sultan Park and the Presidential Palace. Guests can enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, big game fishing, island excursions, a Malé city tour, photo flights, resort day visits, submarine trips and more. • New tourism developments: The Maldives government has called for tenders from parties interested in operating the Male International Airport and Gan International Airport so upgrades are expected soon. Sources: Maldives Tourism Promotion Board and Club Med


The Seychelles is often chosen as an incentives and meetings destination because of its uniqueness and high-end appeal. It also offers superb sailing, diving, snorkelling, fishing, mountain hikes and nature trails.

Mozambique Getting there • LAM Mozambique Airlines flies 17 times a week from Johannesburg to Maputo, and also flies direct from Johannesburg to Pemba, Inhambane, Vilanculos and Beira. • Airlink flies daily between Johannesburg and Beira, twice-weekly from Johannesburg to Pemba, and from Durban to Maputo five times a week. • SAA flies Johannesburg to Maputo eight times weekly. • Federal Air flies daily from Johannesburg to Vilanculos, three times weekly via Nelspruit’s Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. The airline also operates charters to Mozambique.

Business hotels in Maputo • The four-star Hotel Cardoso recently completed a R5m refurbishment. Accommodation options include luxury suites and executive rooms. Wireless internet is available throughout. • Southern Sun Hotel Maputo is the city’s only beachfront hotel. It has two boardrooms, a fitness centre and free in-room internet access.

Seychelles • The five-star Polana Serena Hotel has been undergoing extensive refurbishment, but remains operational. New additions are a health club and spa. Renovations will be complete in early 2010. • The 120 room, five-star Pestana Rovuma Hotel offers executive suites, a fully equipped business centre, gym and pool.

• Air Seychelles flies twice-weekly between JNB and Mahe on Fridays and Sundays. • The International Conference Centre in Victoria on Mahe caters for 600 delegates in its largest conference room. • Leisure time: World heritage site Praslin National Park is home to the world’s largest nut. Six of 14 marine reserves are Marine National Parks, great for diving safaris.

Need to know

• The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles on Mahe offers 62 villas and five suites. It has a conference room for 80 delegates theatre-style, a hilltop spa, a yoga pavilion and its own private beach. • The Constance Ephelia Resort on Mahe opens in February 2010. It has 226 suites, 34 villas, five restaurants, five bars, a spa, four pools and conference facilities. • Emirates Hotels & Resorts opens the Cap Ternay Resort & Spa on Mahe in 2010. It will comprise 270 deluxe rooms, 40 private villas, 15 luxury water bungalows, a luxury spa, eight restaurants, two beaches and conference facilities with convention capabilities – a first for the Seychelles. Source: Seychelles Tourist Office ■

• Car rental is not recommended. • One must be wary of pickpockets. • Malaria Prophylaxis and bottled drinking water are necessities. • US$ and SA rands are widely accepted. Few places accept credit cards. • South Africans don’t need visas. • Incentive ideas: Enjoy beach combinations like flying to Vilanculos and visiting Bazaruto or Benguerra islands. Incentive groups can also hire an island for their exclusive use. Sources: Unusual Destinations and LAM Mozambique Airlines

New hotels



2. NAMIBIA South African Airways. Promotional fares between Johannesburg and Windhoek. Fare ex-Johannesburg to Windhoek is R990 return. Fare ex-Windhoek to Johannesburg is NAD990 return. Fares do not include airport taxes. Offer is valid for sales and travel until November 30.

3. GAUTENG Holiday Inn Sandton. Corporate promotion – R1 350 single or R1 515 double. Rate includes bed and breakfast and 30-minute WiFi voucher per day. Minimum two-night stay is required. Valid until November 30. Rate is not valid for groups.

4. ARGENTINA Avocatur Wholesale Tour Operator. Six-night packages are from R10 999 pp sharing. Package includes return airfare ex-Johannesburg, three nights’ accommodation in Buenos Aires, three nights at Iguassu Falls, all transfers, one tour, dinner tango show and airport taxes. Special expires November 18.

5. SEYCHELLES Falcon Africa Safaris. Special offer to Mahe – rates are from R5 990 pp sharing. Special includes flights ex-Johannesburg, transfers and six nights’ accommodation on a B&B basis. Rate excludes airline taxes. Offer is valid until October 31. Packages to Praslin and Cerf Island are also available.

6. JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN & DURBAN Avis Point 2 Point. Chauffeur rates are from R314 for maximum three people in a Toyota Corolla or similar. Rates for a Mercedes C 200 or similar are from R424 for maximum three people. Larger vehicles are also available. Fees are calculated per zone and valid until January 31.


Stock xchage



1. Europe, usa Qatar Airways. Promotional fares ex-Johannesburg and Cape Town. Fares to Europe are from R2 390; USA from R5 500. Fares exclude airport taxes. Maximum stay is 18 OCTOBER 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

six months. Offer is valid for sales and travel until November 30. Special fares to the Far East, Indian subcontinent and the Middle East are also available.

Ethiopian Airlines. Special fares to London, Paris and Rome from R2 400. Specials to Africa from R3 240. Far East and Middle East from R3 400 are also available. All fares exclude taxes and are valid until December 31.

8. MOZAMBIQUE Mozambique Tours. Stay seven nights at Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa from R6 032 pp sharing. Package includes return flights ex-Johannesburg, return transfers, accommodation in a classic room, daily breakfast, non-motorised water sports and medical evacuation. Note: airport taxes of about R1 400 are not included in the package price. Offer is valid until December 22.

Linda van der Pol, Travelinfo’s editor, is our Deal Detective, bringing you great specials from Travelinfo, the online travel information system in daily use by travel agents all over SA. Almost every airline, hotel group and car hire company is on Travelinfo, and information and specials are regularly updated. These specials are available to all staff, even for personal use. Just book through your TMC, and tell the consultant it’s a Travelinfo special. To get connected to Travelinfo, e-mail

9. Egypt Sphinx Travel & Tours. Egypt special – packages are from R4 376 pp during October and November. Offer includes two nights in Cairo (B&B), half-day sightseeing of Pyramids and Sphinx, three nights Nile cruise (all meals), three nights Red Sea (breakfast and dinner), transfers, entrance fees, English-speaking guide. Note: cruise is five-star and five-star accommodation throughout. Offer does not include airfares and taxes.

10. CAPE TOWN Protea Hotel President. Special rates are R970 single and R485 pp sharing. This includes a free breakfast, discount dinner voucher, discount voucher booklet, complimentary drinks voucher and Tigresse boat cruise. Minimum two-night stay is required. Offer is valid from Sunday to Thursday until October 31. Special is not valid for groups.

11. MAURITIUS Air Mauritius. Special offer – return airfare to Mauritius from R3 100 ex-Johannesburg and Durban. Fare ex-Cape Town is R4 100. Offer is valid from October 5 to December 3. Maximum stay is one month, with all travel to be completed by December 11. Fares exclude airport taxes.

12. DRAKENSBURG Cathedral Peak Hotel. “Super Summer Special” – stay three nights midweek and receive a 20% discount, stay four nights and receive a 25% discount. Rates are from R720 pp sharing per night before the discount. Rate includes dinner, breakfast, mid-morning and afternoon tea. Special is valid from October 4 to December 10. DISCLAIMER: All specials are subject to availability, currency fluctuations and seasonal surcharges. ■

By Natasha Tippel

Ernst du plessis


An airline’s ability to take off at the end of the runway is directly proportionate to the luggage onboard



RUE. The weight of an aircraft is directly related to how far down the runway it has to travel to become airborne. Delta Air Lines First Officer and ten-year veteran, Patrick Burns, who flies a Boeing 737 aircraft, explains: “The wings are designed to produce lift. Lift is generated by (among other things) the speed of the air over the wing. If you increase the speed of the air, you increase the amount of lift created. If you increase the weight of the aircraft by adding luggage, the more lift must be generated by increasing the speed.” For example, if an aircraft weighs 200 000 pounds (90 718 kg) at take-off, the wings have to produce that much lift for the aircraft to become airborne. “Let’s say the speed at which the wings can produce that much lift is 165 miles (265 km) an hour and it takes the aircraft 6 000 feet (1 829 m) to accelerate to that speed,” says Burns. “If all else remains constant and you increase the weight of the aircraft 20 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

by 50 000 pounds (22 680 kg) you must now increase the amount of lift required by the same amount or you’ll never get airborne.”

“Basically, the heavier the aircraft, the more speed and distance is required to get airborne.” How do you increase lift if all else remains constant? “Increase the speed. For an aircraft that weighs 250 000 pounds (113 398 kg), the take-off speed and the distance to accelerate to that speed would be increased by an amount the engineers figured out when the aircraft was originally designed.”

Basically, the heavier the aircraft, the more speed and distance is required to get airborne. “At some point, the speed required to generate a certain amount of lift exceeds the length of the runway,” says Burns. “In our previous example, if the runway we were trying to take off from was 7 000 feet (2 134 m) long, we could not depart if the aircraft weighed 250 000 pounds because the distance required to get airborne is 7 500 feet (2 286 m).” Long before the aircraft is loaded, dispatchers, load planners, engineers and pilots look at the performance for each take-off to determine how much weight (aircraft, engines, fuel, people, baggage, cargo, food etc.) the aircraft is capable of lifting. “These people look at many more variables than just luggage, yielding much more complex calculations when atmospheric pressure, temperature, thrust setting, weather, wind, runway slope, terrain and a host of other factors are considered,” says Burns. ■


TMCs must move with the times

The economic crisis will create ripples for years. Travel management companies (TMCs) are expected to rise to the occasion by being more than a service provider and fulfilling the role of strategic travel management partner to their clients, even more so than in the past. Natasha Tippel reports.


HE relationship between TMCs and corporates is changing quickly. Technology is altering the way corporates travel while the economic downturn has forced them to look at their travel policies more closely. More than ever TMCs are expected to be more than just a service provider and fulfill the role of specialised business consultant with professional expertise. “TMCs have had to adopt a far more consultative role,” says director of business development for HRG Rennies Travel, Bronwyn Philipps. “In the current economic climate, there is even more pressure on corporates to explore alternative travel procurement methodologies and this has encouraged TMCs to position themselves accordingly.” Therefore the role of the TMC has shifted from booking agent to strategic partner, one who provides tools for clients to improve, enhance, track and analyse their travel programmes. “TMCs have always added value in terms of industry knowledge; the failing was that neither customers nor TMCs ascribed the appropriate value to the professional consultancy function,” says Sure Travel Corporate manager, Jim Weighell. “This is a throwback to the commission era where all elements of the TMC function were covered by income derived from suppliers. The feefor-services environment has brought about a change in value assessment and a separation of processes and services.” Commercial manager of South African Travel Centre (SATC), Fathima Syed, agrees. “TMCs now offer turnkey solutions by delivering an exceptional level of information, supplier/ vendor strength as well as analysis and services, which fulfill the travel management needs of corporations.”

“TMCs have always added value in terms of industry knowledge; the failing was that neither customers nor TMCs ascribed the appropriate value to the professional consultancy function.” - Jim Weighell

As TMCs take the leap from service provider to consultancy partner, it becomes clear that the relationship between corporates and TMCs is changing significantly. Syed believes the relationship is becoming more transparent and interdependent. “Total transparency between the procurement manager, the TMC and the selected service provider is paramount to ensure that all parties are working towards a common measurable objective. In a few instances, the corporate is of the belief that the TMC puts self interest first with regard to the selection of a preferred service provider, and this needs to be changed through a process of mutual trust,” says coo of XL Travel, Rod Rutter. >

“Travel managers are asking more questions and demanding more options from their TMCs. As they develop their expertise, so they expect their TMCs to do the same.” - Themba Mthombeni

TMCs rise to the occasion

As travel buyers become more entrenched in their trade, developing their leadership and management skills, so they become more demanding of their TMCs. “Travel managers are asking more questions and demanding more options from their TMCs. As they develop their expertise, so they expect their TMCs to do the same,” says Duma Travel chairman, Themba Mthombeni. A wide range of expertise in the account management team is vitally important, says md of BCD Travel in SA, Kananelo Makhetha. “More than ever, TMCs are able to fulfill their role as business consultants while offering their proficiency in the travel industry. It is this expertise that is used to develop business plans with corporates to align their common goals.” Md of Voila Travel, Maria Jacobs, notes that TMCs are becoming more innovative so as to offer clients the ultimate in travel convenience, savings and benefits. Ceo of Uniglobe Travel Sub-Saharan Africa, Mike Gray, believes this is best done when corporates and TMCs have a systems- rather than a people-orientated view of the process of managing travel expenses and arrangements, from policies and procedures through to the integration of transaction and management information. “The true unique differentiator in this market is to be process-driven rather than people-dependant. Corporates want reliability and value for money, consistently.” Others believe TMCs should spend more time educating and informing travel professionals about the business environment within which they operate. “Information and insight in the general business environment is an absolute essential – it gives the TMC the opportunity to show the necessary understanding about why certain business decisions are made by clients,” says owner and manager of Uni Travel, Jo Schütten.

BTN recently ran a survey asking whether corporates felt that their TMC was rising to the occasion in terms of evolving into a business consultant rather than just providing a fulfillment service. Of participants who responded, 54% said yes. The majority of responses affirmed that the relationship between TMCs and corporates was maturing into a partnership, while one respondent felt that reservation fulfillment was still the focus of the TMC and that business consulting remained an area of weakness. “The typical TMC staff are still order-takers and find it hard to think out of the box,” travel manager of Barloworld Logistics, Chris Bakker, told BTN. “They are not really open to new ways of doing business.” But ITMSA national sales and marketing manager, Sharon Richards-Lund, says expectations must align with costs: “You are not comparing apples with apples when choosing a TMC. Some offer a comprehensive service and others a basic service. The underlying difference is the transactional fee. If corporates are going to drive their TMC service fees down, the comprehensive service offering will not be sustainable.” Is your TMC evolving into a business consultancy partner rather than just providing a fulfillment service? Of corporate respondents to the BTN snap survey, 54% said yes.

Yes No



22 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW



With the economic crisis over the last year, a lot has changed regarding the expectations and relationships between clients and their TMCs.

* Continued from pg 21

Cutting costs – the top priority? AS corporates continue to feel the pinch of the economic downturn, cutting costs remains high on their agenda of priorities. For TMCs, the number one priority, namely strategies on managing travel expenditure in line with the client’s budget, has become the main focus. “Corporates are expecting TMCs to offer more value for their budgets,” says head of products and solutions for Wings Corporate Travel, Anita Parent. “They expect the TMC to understand the current state of the economy and come to the party by taking into consideration their cut-backs and lower budgets.” Gray notes that travel managers are looking for a much higher quality of service and assistance from consultants, especially the design and implementation of travel policies to reduce costs. “Travel managers are now under pressure to make travel policies function more effectively,” says Rutter, “and in many cases, the travel policy has been reviewed to incorporate significant cost savings. This involves downgrading classes, more use of domestic low-cost

fees the TMC and the corporates have had to find common ground on charges and in most instances the TMC has made allowances to cater for the economic downturn,” says Rutter. However, reducing costs should not be at the expense of the TMC’s service delivery or the safety of business travellers. “If corporates are going to drive their TMC service fees down, then the comprehensive service offering cannot be sustainable. The resources offered by a TMC extend to risk awareness regarding traveller health and safety. This alone is a service that shouldn’t be underestimated,” says Richards-Lund. “Cost plays a significant part but service delivery and good relationships are far more important,” says head of operations for Webber Wentzel, Faizal Essop. Schütten sums up the matter when she says: “Perhaps we should refer to the most-tested principle in business: you get what you pay for – nothing more, nothing less.”

Finding a fair price to pay

Show me the money!







In the BTN TMC survey, corporates rated cost as one of the top three considerations they look for when choosing a TMC. Of respondents, 23% said cost was a deciding factor, followed by transparency (21%). Value-added service was rated first (27%).


Corporates were asked recently how they benchmarked prices for the procurement of travel. The responses were varied and surprising. Many of the participants said they relied on the internet as a source of information when researching pricing fees. Other ways that corporates settle on a fair rate to pay for the procurement of travel is negotiating with TMCs, asking for various options and quotes, comparing service fees with the cost of the time it would take to do bookings internally, performance-based costing (which includes risk, rewards, and incentives), and looking at TMCs’ own costs for the desired services.

“Perhaps we should refer to the most-tested principle in business: you get what you pay for – nothing more, nothing less.” – Jo Schütten

Value-added service (27%) BBBEE requirements (8%) Cost (23%) Transparency (21%) Technology & Tools (17%)

carriers and shorter and less frequent business trips.” National sales and marketing manager of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in SA, Ingrid von Moltke, says this constant focus on reducing costs has put immense pressure on TMCs. “All cost components are being put under the microscope and TMC services are also subject to this intense scrutiny. A result of this focus has been a large increase in the number of RFPs being released, very often as a benchmarking exercise. The unrelenting focus on cost has proved to be difficult for TMCs, as we are expected to deliver as much, if not more than before, at a lower price. Price, rather than value, seems to be the main focus at this time.” “With regard to agencies’ transaction 24 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

So if cutting costs at the expense of TMC service is not an option, then how else can corporates better manage their travel spend? Mthombeni suggests that travel managers, with the help of their TMCs, implement strict and regulated travel policies, starting from the head of the organisation. “Travel programmes should be enforced and practised from a top senior management level. That means, the leaders in the company – the mds and ceos – should be prepared to fly economy instead of business class and stay at three-star properties rather than four- and five-star hotels, as they set the culture and tone of the company.” >

Other (4%)

“In the current economic climate, there is even more pressure on corporates to explore alternative travel procurement methodologies and this has encouraged TMCs to position themselves accordingly.” – Bronwyn Philipps


CORPORATES want value-added service What was once considered a value-add is now seen as a mandatory service. How can TMCs evolve to ensure that they keep adding value? * Continued from pg 24

TMCs perceived to be adding more value than before CORPORATES want value-added service. According to a recent survey on TMCs run by BTN, value-added service was rated the top consideration for corporates when choosing a TMC (27%), followed by cost (23%), transparency (21%), technology and tools (17%), BBBEE requirements (8%) and other (4%). When asked if corporates felt that their TMC added more value to their business now than in previous years, 77% of respondents said yes. Many respondents stated that TMCs were more knowledgeable about travel than ever before, offering multiple options in airline availability, contracts with car-rental companies and hotels, and global buying power. The consensus, it seems, is that TMCs are now seen as travel professionals. “The service has changed from executing a request to adding value to our travel profile,” said one respondent. Another said: “In the past the TMC had only one function – to execute requests. Now TMCs understand the customer and provide an ‘outsourced’ business function – a one-stop travel service provider.” Does your TMC add more value to your business now than in previous years?

No: 23% Yes: 77%

But what was once considered a value-add is now seen as a mandatory service. How can TMCs evolve to ensure that they keep adding value? What are considered true value-adds in the industry? “Any value-added service is now expected to be part and parcel of the service delivery. The demand for excellent service delivery is now a given,” says Rutter. “With the focus on managing costs and the competitive market among TMCs, it is not always easy to add unique value-adds,” says Makhetha. “What a corporate wants in terms of value-add is the ability to have a clear and accurate understanding of their travel spend.” Weighell agrees: “Because process and professional functions are now viewed and valued separately, a greater focus is being placed on key advisory functions such as travel policy development. The old emphasis on looking for savings at the time of the purchase transaction has been replaced with a studied, strategic approach to travel policy, by way of good management data.” Parent believes that currently, TMCs are able to add value on the technological front by innovating and enhancing their technological offerings. “Wings has tools that are ahead of the competition, offering unique and powerful applications, especially in real time, and products that can supply comprehensive in-depth global analytical reports or track travellers.” “Safety and security of travellers will continue to be an important issue,” says Philipps. “Travel into Africa poses risks to travellers and it is vital that the TMC has a strong network of support, as well as up-to-date knowledge on the political and socio-economic situation in each country. Advice needs to be pertinent and on the ground support must be reliable.”

“What a corporate wants in terms of value-add is the ability to have a clear and accurate understanding of their travel spend.” – Kananelo Makhetha 26 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

The old emphasis on looking for savings at the time of purchasing has been replaced by a studied, strategic approach to travel policy.

She continues: “Corporates are also becoming increasingly particular about the type of services which can be provided by TMCs in cases of emergency. Corporates want immediate support from knowledgeable staff who can handle emergency travel needs and customer service requirements.” Adding value can go beyond the direct management of travel and extend to offering solutions to global issues such as environmental responsibility. “TMCs need to offer corporates a holistic approach to travel procurement, incorporating ‘greener’ travel planning and measurement, and even the mechanism to facilitate less travel, for example, web-based meeting technology,” says Philipps.

Understanding your client “It should always be borne in mind that differing organisational structures and cultures amongst customer companies will ascribe and prioritise value differently,” says Weighell. Syed agrees: “The uniqueness is in clearly understanding your clients’ needs. The relationship is based on consultation.” Schütten says: “Value-adds today are not necessarily only about cost-effectiveness, but perhaps more about the understanding, interpretation and proactive behaviour of the TMC regarding the client’s needs in the delivery of travel support services. This includes protecting the client’s business in the same manner as TMCs protects their own business, ensuring transparency, efficiency, constantly asking questions and making continuous adjustments for optimum results. It also includes assisting with future planning according to trends identified in international business travel, forums and in the travel media.” Adds Mthombeni: “The key is to understand the core travel needs of the client. It all boils down to TMCs being intimate with their client’s needs.” >


COLLABORATE, COOPERATE, COMMUNICATE! The relationship between travel managers and TMCs is shifting and smart travel buyers and TMCs are swiftly realising that the only way to survive and thrive is to move with the times, together.

* Continued from pg 26

Is your TMC in step with you? THERE has been a move towards stronger, more personalised relationships between TMCs and corporates, says national sales manager for FCm Travel Solutions, Lisa Hemphill. “At FCm, we have seen huge growth in the levels of trust our clients are placing in us and the growth in trust has been very rewarding.” Makhetha agrees that the focus between TMCs and travel managers has moved from a client/supplier relationship to a stronger partnership between TMCs and travel managers. “Both parties are now working towards a common goal: reducing corporate travel spend.” Weighell believes the key to building good partnerships between corporates and TMCs is to collaborate, cooperate, and communicate.

Von Moltke believes time and good communication are the two most important factors in building better relationships. “Corporates should invest more time in the relationship and communicate more while TMCs need to invest more in understanding the business needs of their clients.” In order to keep processes running smoothly, corporates and TMCs should constantly be in contact through pre-defined channels. “Clients need to know they are able to contact their TMC quickly in the event of changes. Having a 24-hour contact centre and easily contactable account managers is fundamental to ensuring the relationship between the client and the TMC stays

intact and positive,” says head of business development for Wings Corporate Travel, Ingrid Hamman. Clearly defined service level agreements and contracts are important in building open relationships, says Syed. “Clear processes and a centralised office enhance efficiencies in the booking process.”

“Corporates should invest more time in the relationship and communicate more while TMCs need to invest more in understanding the business needs of their clients.” – Ingrid von Moltke Vital to maintaining positive and successful relationships, particularly in the business partnerships, is trust. Corporates and TMCs need to be open, honest and transparent, says Hemphill who believes that corporates should trust and understand that their TMC is an expert in their field. 28 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW

Md of Voila Travel, Maria Jacobs, agrees: “A client will follow with confidence if service levels are adhered to and excellence is the main objective of the service provider.” Travel manager of Barloworld Logistics, Chris Bakker, also believes trust is essential. He says TMCs can help build better relationships with clients by being open with their business models, supporting the corporate’s preferred suppliers and putting the corporate’s interest first. Nedbank’s chief procurement officer in the Group Shared Services Centre Division, Howard Stephens, concurs. “TMCs should recommend solutions that are beneficial to their clients even if detrimental to themselves. They should be objective and honest.” >

Improving interaction between TMCs and corporates In our recent survey, we asked travel buyers what could be done to improve the interaction between TMCs and corporates. Some responses were: • Better service and in-depth consulting • Reporting tools and billing assistance • Regular advice and feedback sessions • Single consultant to client model rather than multiple contact points • Providing an in-house travel agent • Transparency • Open and frequent communication • Strategically aligned mission and vision • Putting the client’s best interest first

Corporates vote for the top essential services and facilities they want from TMCs.

Choosing a TMC We asked a few corporates what they looked for when selecting a TMC:

“Quality staff, a global footprint, cutting edge technology, cost-effective service offering and willingness to adapt to our company profile.” Travel manager, Barloworld Logistics, Chris Bakker “Knowledge of business travel and how to get me out of sticky situations, advising when I need a visa and how to organise one, crisis management.” - Cfo of Finance for Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Freda Evans “Track record in the industry, strong management team, willingness to adapt to new ideas, and having the customer’s interests at heart.”- Nedbank’s chief procurement officer in the Group Shared Services Centre Division, Howard Stephens

You voted… Corporates voted for the top essential services and facilities they felt TMCs should provide in a recent BTN survey. These include: • Cost savings • Excellent service by friendly and efficient staff • After-hours services • Quick responses

• Innovation and proactivity • Cutting edge technology • More choice and alternatives • Reliable and in-depth reports >




One of the biggest obstacles TMCs have to overcome in order to build better and more successful relationships with their clients is managing the misconceptions corporates have about them.

* Continued from pg 29

Combating misconceptions about TMC partners A common misperception is that TMCs are ‘order takers’. “We are travel professionals,” says Hemphill. “Travel is a complex process and requires a specialist approach. Unfortunately, unscrupulous TMCs have dented our reputation within the industry through lack of service. By having service level agreements in place, TMCs can be measured and if they are not performing, then corporates have every right to question what they are paying for.”

"Most of the widely accepted misperceptions such as lack of transparency, retention of 'hidden' income streams and so on arose during the commission era." - Jim Weighell Hemphill asserts that professional TMCs are entitled to charge a fee for their service. Corporates still focus strongly on this but as Makhetha points

corporates were attempting to out, the fee is often minimal claw back TMC income derived in comparison with the actual from suppliers. The corporate cost-saving opportunity that customer saw the commission can materialise from the TMC’s income as being, at least in service. “Corporates need to part, payable to the corporate, understand that additional without taking into account the savings can be forthcoming if costs to the TMC of providing they work more closely with the a full suite of process, advisory TMC in developing a strategy and consultative services. This to save costs. There are a lot had the effect of focusing TMC of additional cost savings if the resources on processes rather relationship between the parties than professional has reached the advisory services. level of trust This also for both.” contributed to the Another customer’s view of misconception the TMC function is that TMCs as being that of a receive huge booking processor. incentives from It’s the old story – if suppliers for you don’t pay for the business something it has no they generate. value. In the current “Most of the environment widely accepted it is the value misperceptions perception that has such as lack of shifted. A paymenttransparency, for-value scenario retention of "The perceived allows development ‘hidden’ income of solid SLAs and streams and so value of the with provision of on arose during traditional TMC is qualified personnel, the commission being undermined leading edge era,” says „ systems and an Weighell. The by technology." effective travel major flaw in Fathima Syed programme, it can the commission only be a positive era was that

change for TMCs and their customers.” The perceived value of the traditional TMC is being undermined by technology. Corporates believe they have the knowledge to bypass the travel agent, says Syed. This is particularly the case with the increase of use and availability of online self-booking tools. But Mthombeni says TMCs should empower their clients with self-booking tools and training so that corporates can perform certain processes inhouse while the TMC handles more complex travel issues such as consulting services, dealing with emergencies and taking care of the more technical aspects of bookings. “TMCs should be acting at a senior level, working with senior management directly, playing a strategic role rather than dealing with trivial issues.” >

“We are travel professionals. Travel is a complex process and requires a specialist approach. Unfortunately, unscrupulous TMCs have dented our reputation within the industry through lack of service.” – Lisa Hemphill 30 October 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW


Corporates can organise their travel without the help of a TMC, but there are definite downsides on the expertise and knowledge side.

Can corporates go it alone? Are there any advantages to corporates organising their own travel without the help of a TMC, for example, by having their own internal travel desks? “I don’t believe in corporates doing their own thing without a TMC altogether,” says Bakker. “Travel is too complex for that. But online booking tools such as enable corporates to take control of their domestic and regional bookings in a way that cannot be facilitated through a TMC.” Evans observes that organising

one’s own travel has the benefits of being quick, cheap and immediate, but there are definite downsides on the expertise and knowledge side. Stephens notes that insourcing has the following benefits: “Insourced consultants are not incentivised to book with any supplier, but rather on the achievement of business objectives. There is also the ability to change behaviour to match policy as they are staff members and are recognised as such. Also, they are able to discuss issues and policy with line management on a daily basis.”

Personalised travel management from SAA ON Business, a new travel management product from SAA, offers small to large companies locally and around the world the opportunity to manage their own travel requirements and spend while alleviating inconveniences associated with booking air travel, says Mike Re, SAA’s chief information officer. The new facility offers a protected booking channel for businesses. Once registered, the company corporate administrator adds the profiles of each employee requiring business travel. The credit card details used to book travel for the company can be lodged with SAA. This allows for automatic authentication of payments made. “This means no more having to fax copies of the credit card used to

pay for a booking or contacting the airline to ensure authentication and confirmation of the booking.” Apart from making bookings and managing these reservations, the company’s corporate administrator can at any time draw reports on sales and flown revenue. Traveller profiles, company details and credit card details can be edited and updated. Companies can also book travel for guests. Selected employees can be nominated and profiled as ‘travel assistants’. They have limited ability and authority to book and manage reservations, which is linked to their own profile on On Business. The personalised online service is accessible through

Advances in technology have enabled more corporations to organise their own travel without the help of a TMC.

News flash! Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) plans to launch a new product in the South African market soon. CWT Listens is an electronic 90-second survey which is sent directly to the traveller after each booking experience. Responses are captured immediately enabling

CWT to monitor, respond to and report on service levels. The product has been launched in other parts of the world with great success and CWT has no doubt that it will be very successful in the South African environment as well. ■

The main benefits for corporates: • Control over travel arrangements from start to finish without consulting a third party. • Eliminates having to produce a credit card at check-in, as well as having to follow the

A new trend? It seems that an airline offering personalised travel management to corporates is not a new trend, but an increasingly popular one. Other domestic airlines, such as 1time, have similar initiatives in place. 1time’s corporate system enables companies to monitor their spend patterns and pick up areas of abuse by employees. The system recognises travellers accruing additional benefits such as priority standby, excess baggage, preferential seating or

pre-authentication process of a credit card used to make a booking. • The company is able to monitor its travel spend by drawing reports on sales and flown revenue. whatever else is agreed on between 1time and the corporate customer. These benefits are customised to each company. “I believe that these type of systems will grow tremendously in the years to come due to the cost savings and benefits they offer,” says commercial director of 1time, Desmond O’Connor. “The corporate client can easily operate these systems and there’s no need for extensive training or previous experience.” OCTOBER 2009 • BUSINESS TRAVEL NOW



Competition Thompsons Travel is passionate about their customers


HOMPSONS Travel is known in the industry for its solid, reputable and long-established brand with unrivalled buying power. The success of Thompsons Travel’s business is that the company and its staff are passionate about their customers, know their customers, and are transparent with customers and suppliers. Thompsons Travel’s delivery of consistent added value is evident in the retention of its customer base. The company empowers and invests in its clients by giving them access to state-of-the-art technology

so that they have the tools to deliver a seamless personal service. Thompsons Travel’s key focus is cost reduction through cutting edge business-to-business solutions without compromising the client. The company’s innovative self booking tool – Thompsons Traveller Online – offers substantial savings and ease of use, incorporating live data 24/7 with instant confirmation. Furthermore, cost control can be analysed through effective reporting facilities. Thompsons Travel strives towards a win-win relationship with its clients and suppliers. ■



WIN a Mangwanani

voucher valued at R1300!

Thompsons Travel, in conjunction with BTN, is offering one lucky prize-winner a full-day spa voucher for Mangwanani Spa valued at R1300.

Question: What is the name of Thompsons Travel’s innovative self booking tool? To enter all you have to do is answer the easy question above and e-mail your answer to Entries must reach BTN no later than November 7, 2009. Please supply us with your name, contact details, company and title clearly. Strictly one entry per person. Terms and conditions: It is taken that the entrants agree to abide by the rules, which are: the prize is not transferable and may not be exchanged for cash. Staff members of Now Media, the host company or organisation sponsoring the prize, their advertising and public relations agencies, their immediate families, and travel agents may not enter.



Business Travel Now - October 2009  

A magazine to help travel buyers manage their travel spend better - monthly

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