Travel Management Companies guide 2023

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TRAVEL MANAGEMENT COMPANIES

YOUR 2023 GUIDE

Building back is the current buzz phrase in the industry as travel resumes to just over 80% of prepandemic levels. TMCs are whirring back into action as best they can to service their clients and meet new, expanded and more complex needs.

Some TMCs will rise to the challenge more easily with new owners solving the resource,

technology and expertise issues, while others could struggle to meet their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) due to the decimated talent pool continuing to put the brakes on ramping up teams and frustrations with the supply chain, namely content.

It means 2023 is likely to see a repeat of the M&E activity which has characterised the TMC sector recently. BTA CEO Clive

Wratten is encouraged to see the level of interest from venture capitalists and private equity as testament to the ever-more central role TMCs play with corporates.

“TMCs are the pivot point,” agrees Scott Davies, ITM CEO. “They play a critical role in protecting their customers' best interests.” Davies reckons 2023 will see more TMCs repositioning themselves as they review customer propositions, and one or two more consolidations.

Omega, Yorkshire’s Travel Company, Eton, Reed & Mackay, Click Travel, Shep and Egencia all succumbed to takeovers in the first wave, while Company Travel, Conferma Pay and Ventur Travel were some of the casualties in 2022. New entrants, such as TripStax, brought vital tech capability. Another newcomer, Take Two, brought high-touch global to the table while Gray Dawes’ acquisition of MP Travel – its 12th – gave

Despite the TMC ownership merrygo-round, in the immediate post pandemic world, at least, buyers kept loyal to their existing TMCs”

Call our dedicated London corporate team on +44 207 802 2013 or email letsgo@wings.travel For more information visit wings.travel Introduction / TMCs
■ Sustainability 6-8 ■ Technology 12-13 ■ e Directory 14-17 ■ Online Booking Tools 18-19 ■
With further consolidation, new content demands and service levels under closer scrutiny, 2023 will be another year of flux in the TMC space, says Gill Upton
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 3 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM

access to the Australian market as part of its follow-the-sun strategy. North America was next on the agenda.

Change of ownership

BTA’s Wratten believes there are still vulnerable TMCs, both large and small.

“It’s a natural and constant movement as the industry ebbs and flows,” he says.

Catherine Logan, Regional VP of GBTA, reckons most activity this year will be in the mid-market while Chris Thelen, CEO of Take Two, predicts that “some of the smaller guys will run out of money”.

Geography, technological strength or sector strength lie behind many of the acquisitions, says Colin Goldney, MD & Senior VP UK/ Europe at Wings Global Travel.

“Size is important and it’s also other strategic objectives, such as the ability to pitch for multi-regional deals, or acquire technology. Today, you’ve got to have a certain amount of kit or reach,” he says.

Steve Banks, Chief Commercial Officer at Agiito, also believes acquisition is a quick way of getting resource back. ”It’s necessary in some cases due to the reduction of talent and attrition,” he says, but warns that a

combination of the economy, inflationary pressures and Ukraine adds a cautionary element to the ROI of future acquisitions.

Despite the TMC ownership merry-goround, in the immediate post pandemic world, at least, buyers kept loyal to their existing TMCs.

Wratten believes he knows why: “The pandemic taught us the value of partnership and corporates are now looking at longerterm deals as they are seeing TMCs as strategic partners, which you don’t chop and change.”

An ITM survey supports this theory as it highlighted that the desire to go to RFP in 2023 for a new TMC is as its lowest (12%) since the organisation began recording data. A GBTA survey also recorded lower than average planned RFP activity.

”In a normal year that would be nearer 33%,” explains ITM’s Davies. However, 2023 could turn out to be a ‘normal’ year after all. SLAs are being re-negotiated and need to be committed to while “KPIs initially not followed too closely in the post pandemic period are now expected to be met as buyers fully engage with their TMCs", adds Davies.

Any contracts up for renewal this year will give buyers an opportunity to find a TMC which can meet their needs.

Logic says to stay with an incumbent when there is so much uncertainty but already, some big accounts have been on the move, reportedly Jaguar, Shell, Adidas, Airbus, Anglo American and Unilever.

Agiito’s Banks says: “We’ve never had so many tenders fall through our doors.”

He reckons some TMCs are spreading their resources too thinly or are not able to pivot quickly enough “so some corporates are questioning whether they have the right TMC in place, aligned to their objectives. How long can they live with a compromise?".

Wings says it has won new clients due to shortcomings with SLAs from an incumbent TMC. It is operating with a larger number of staff post-pandemic and is charging higher fees, employing the hybrid model of a management fee for the core operation, plus transaction fees.

TakeTwo has won a major bank client with over 3,000 travellers, creamed off the exec team from another, and has been up against large TMCs in final pitches.

“We’re after corporates who want to

we’ve instigated efficiencies such as getting rid of 80% of billbacks so that everything is pre-paid,” explains Beagrie. “All we ask of our customer is to pay us on time.”

The labour issues will ease as more bookings switch online. ”There are still too many touches to bookings but online is coming back,” says BTA’s Wratten.

The slow switch back to booking tools may reflect buyers’ concern that they need to catch up to clients’ needs. (See separate feature on page 18)

partner with us and not procure with us,” says Thelen, ”but also have the balls to contract with a smaller TMC”.

Switch back

James Beagrie, MD of Meon Travel, is also bullish. “The business pipeline is looking OK. We’re picking and choosing new business as there’s enough new business out there.

"We’re picking up large clients such as those in private equity, banking and retail.”

Despite losing 70% of staff from Meon’s corporate division during Covid, it has taken some back and fast-tracked others in record time – in three months rather than two years Moreover, the company is now operating on 55 staff rather than its pre-pandemic level of 100 (and 40 during Covid), reflecting greater productivity.

“We are paying more to qualified staff, our service levels are sharper and quicker and

It’s definitely still a market in flux, with servicing the top priority for both TMCs and corporates. ”Service levels have markedly improved but they are still below prepandemic levels,” says ITM’s Davies.

“Buyers are keen to get a set of KPIs that everybody can live up to.”

TMC staffing levels are almost back to normal despite costing TMCs dear from higher pay packages. Coupled with higher heating bills, general cost inflation, flexibility around office working and still too many offline bookings, inevitably those higher costs have been passed on to corporates.

Top models

The pre-pandemic flurry of interest to introduce new financial models such as subscription hasn’t fully materialised, but hybrid commercial models have, specifically management fee plus transaction fee.

“That’s the most popular,” says TakeTwo’s

Thelen, who has increased fees to clients. “The buyers needs to pay a fair price for what it needs. If they want a talented professional servicing them they need to pay for that."

“We included subscription in our menu but the prevailing trend is a mix of transaction and management fee,” agrees Wings’ Goldney. “It’s important to have the conversation about costs early on.”

At Agiito, some 30%-40% of bids and re-bids over the last year have changed to a different financial model, some to hybrid, some to a fixed fee on a certain amount of business, and some to subscription.

“It’s been variable but really creative and focussed on what problems we’re trying to fix,” says Banks.

This coming year presents a massive opportunity for TMCs to work in partnership with clients and deliver best-in-class service.

What is clear is that 2023 will be a year of change – yet again.

4 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM TMCs / Introduction
 ISTOCK / SDI PRODUCTIONS Introduction / TMCs
Logic says to stay with an incumbent when there is so much uncertainty but already some big accounts have been on the move”
www.my-travelplanet.com | hello@my-travelplanet.com
Planet Revolutionising the business travel landscape with our proprietary technology platform ‘Click & Control’, a modular marketplace with limitless integration capabilities. • All inclusive & content rich • Carbon offset at no extra cost • Dedicated team available 24/7 • Real time data on demand tp-2.indd 1 02/03/2023 17:29
Service levels have markedly improved but they are still below prepandemic levels. Buyers are keen to get a set of KPIs that everybody can live up to”
Travel

When Eloise Ferrara-Neched, Procurement Manager at the Royal Mail Group, began the company’s sustainability journey, she sought help from her TMC, Agiito, which has a dedicated sustainability team. They worked through the contract extension, policy simplification, communication campaigns around travel and traveller behaviour, technology enhancements and CO2 filtering in the booking tool, so travellers could make more sustainable choices.

“It was absolutely a team effort and without a great TMC team and all their knowledge and experience it would have been a much harder journey,” she says. Sustainability is a common thread across all travel, accommodation, meetings and events at Royal Mail.

“The TMC should be looking at things like what are suppliers’ green credentials, for example airlines that are working towards sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); hotel groups that are working towards green leaf accreditation; ground transportation provision of green fleets etc. A good TMC needs to be able to report back progress on

Team work

CO2 reduction across the programme and present good management information and dashboard, as well as their own social value and sustainability targets, as these will also be incorporated into ours.”

TMCs are already fulfilling this vital role, with separate divisions or dedicated staff, supported by partnerships with specialist companies such as Thrust Carbon, CHOOSE and Trees4Travel. Reed & Mackay recently partnered with Berlin-based SQUAKE. These partners aggregate data to set carbon reduction targets or, increasingly, carbon budgets, when a flat fee is assigned to every aspect of travel. There are also eco-focused TMCs, such as COCO+, providing offsets through Climate Care and a corporate fuel card, targeting SMEs and unmanaged space.

Travel Planet's Click & Control proprietary platform, available online and via mobile, presents carbon data at the point of sale. In addition the TMC pays for carbon offsetting on behalf of its customers.

Agiito’s Leanne Fowler, Director of Account Management, says the basic services buyers should expect from a TMC are reporting, technology that compares modes of travel, an accreditation filter a human element to drive compliance, plus consultancy. She also advises buyers to know their sustainability objective before calling their TMC.

ATPI launched a division called Halo in 2021. “The appetite is definitely there; buyers want to have the right credentials to present to investors,” says Pippa Ganderton, Director at Halo, adding: “We want to do the right thing now, while we’re free to do so, before legislation comes in.”

American Express GBT has a Green Marketplace providing dedicated support from beginning to end with a suite of solutions. Partners include CHOOSE.

Nicole Sautter, Amex GBT Manager Global Sustainability, believes: “The biggest challenge is a granular understanding of carbon calculations and the availability of

6 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com TMCs / Sustainability
TMCs are providing vital support to corporates on the long and bumpy road to greener business travel, says Gill Upton
 / TMCs UNSPLASH / SHANE ROUNCE
TMCs can give buyers the level of confidence required in having the greenest supply chain and offsetting travel that can't be avoided or reduced”

SAF. If we wait until SAF is available we’ll never achieve net zero so we need to scale it via our corporate SAF programme.”

Lack of standards

The fact that there can be as much as a 50% difference in emissions calculations on a single flight calculation points to the need for a more reliable carbon calculator. Defra and ICAO data are only based on mileage and radiating forcing (the impact of creating emissions at high altitude) and must be augmented by other data sources for a more comprehensive calculation.

Thrust Carbon builds on the Defra and ICAO database with multiple points of emissions, by distance, class of travel, aircraft type, percentage of freight, configuration and passenger load factor.

“It’s a nascent industry so there will continue to be evolution in measurement,” says Ami Taylor, Head of Channels at Thrust

Carbon. “There is talk about a need for a global standard but it’s not coming any time soon, at least not for another 10 years; what is coming are vast amounts of legislation, the latest being the EU’s CSRD policy which will force large organisations to report emissions in their entire value chain. The legal and compliance component of sustainability will continue to grow.”

Andreas Slettvoll, founder and CEO of CHOOSE, believes more regulation and a younger workforce will accelerate change and advises using post-trip calculations for a more accurate dataset. “In advance is always a prediction but we offer pre- and post-trip,” he says.

The process

Best practice involves calculating carbon first; a baseline can be achieved from historic data. Averages are used for hotels as they are a far more fragmented product.

Greengage is an independent accreditation provider with 500 corporate UK properties and some internationally, and Green Tourism is another with a wider spread of properties including B&Bs. Green Leaf majors on hotels across Africa. Hilton is arguably ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability.

Understanding the data is stage two, allowing buyers to decide what travel can

be avoided, to set a reduction target and integrate it into the user experience with green choices in the booking process. The filter should be carbon first, before price point or distance. Most travel buyers are encouraging rather than mandating green choices. “They want to raise awareness and push visual guilt,” says ATPI’s Ganderton.

Amex GBT’s Sautter believes the higher cost of sustainable travel is no longer a barrier. “It’s now at a point where financial reward and sustainability are the same and not seen as separate things,” she says. Greening the policy and adapting the authorisation process follows, the former best undertaken at budgeting time with suppliers to switch to those airlines investing in greener aircraft, in non-plastics, in SAF biofuel, in hydrogen planes. SAF availability and cost is problematic, with less than 5% of flight operations currently on SAF-fuelled aircraft, which means offsetting still needs to be part of any carbon reduction programme, but no more than 10% of the total.

Dubious tree-planting schemes have given offsets a bad name in what is an unregulated market. The trend is for more nature-based or socially-beneficial projects, like protecting mango groves or helping indigenous people. VERRA and The Gold Standard are respected accreditation standards.

Trees4Travel co-founder Nico Nicholas recognises that regulation is needed and praises the launch this month (March) of The Integrity Council’s report to set out standards for offsets. He stresses that all Trees4Travel offsets are verified to give a level of confidence. “There are a lot of carbon cowboys out there,” he observes. Trees4Travel is rumoured to be launching a shared ownership product later this year to accelerate change.

Change is certainly a constant in the sustainability market and TMCs can give buyers the level of confidence required in having the greenest supply chain and offsetting travel that can’t be avoided or reduced. This new service also represents a useful additional revenue stream at a time when it’s really needed.

Shining lights in the buyer community –such as The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – are sure to be added to as new legislation forces buyers to manage travel more responsibly.

BUSINESS. TRAVEL. LIFE. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE IN AL

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8 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com TMCs / Sustainability
The appetite is definitely there. We want to do the right thing now, while we're free to do so, before the legislation comes in”
L.
reedmackay.com TRANSFORMING THE WAY YOUR BUSINESS TRAVELS
Untitled-4 1 03/03/2023 13:08
PERSONAL SERVICE. SMART TECHNOLOGY. GLOBAL REACH.
Bring your tech to life with 8 cutting-edge modules – all powered by The Core – a unique centralised data processing powerhouse. info@tripstax.com | tripstax.com Portal Track Docs Profile Content Approve Analytics Mobile PUT SOME ‘SPRING’ IN YOUR TMC’s TECH

tech that stacks up

Amid growing digitalisation, what should travel managers know about their TMC's tech, asks Nick Easen

Very few travel managers used to look under the bonnet and ask their TMC about the finer details of what powered their tech engines. Yet, increasingly, as more businesses become digitalised themselves and tech solutions have matured, this is changing. Travel managers now want to know a lot more, their expectations are growing and they expect transparency.

“Buyers now want insight into TMC tech, they want control or ownership, and they want to know what the overall tech stack looks like and what other solutions can be integrated,” explains Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner at Festive Road.

“They also want to know who is behind their TMC’s technology so they can judge whether they will be getting the right content, in the right way, to demonstrate value from their travel programme and to their business, as well as bring a better experience to business travellers.”

Many big travel providers spend millions developing applications in-house, while others aren’t shy about using third parties. Their mantra is ‘why build it from scratch if it’s affordable and readily available’.

“Travel technology is far too fragmented and is therefore burdensome for TMCs on multiple levels. The industry is rife with providers and large-scale TMCs promoting their ‘tech stacks’, but in reality, these are a

combination of multiple third-party vendor applications, white-labelled and consolidated offerings with complex and often unstable integrations,” states Scott Wylie, Chief Technology Officer at TripStax.

In control

Certainly, trust and openness between the TMC and buyer is increasingly important. The days of black box solutions are long gone. There are also pros and cons to an in-house or third-party approach. Where a TMC has developed its own technology, it has skin in the game. Buyers can often be more confident of a travel provider’s expertise in supporting that solution and how it works within the overall agency service since the TMC has pumped its own money into it.

“Sometimes having control over their own technology enables a TMC to invest in those developments which they believe are most important to their specific customer base,” details Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director at Advantage Travel Partnership. He adds: “On the flipside, using a TMC’s in-house technology can limit a corporate travel buyer’s options and independence if they want to change something. The tech is tied to your partnership with that TMC, but harder to unpick if there is one element you want to change, or source elsewhere.”

There are also many benefits to TMCs using third parties. Engaging an IT supplier specialised and focused on solving a particular business travel process efficiently and strategically makes sense. Travel management firms cannot do everything. Don’t forget it is also in a third-party’s interest to innovate continually, otherwise they won’t survive.

“Third parties might not only have a more advanced solution but also be more agile to maintain it, change and adapt, and upgrade it over time,” stresses Eric Meierhans, Chief Commercial Officer at HotelHub.

Smaller TMCs are more likely to use third party tech providers and with the right IT development operations teams they can sometimes be more agile, with much faster adoption rates than larger organisations.

Wider ecosystem

Whether a TMC is an ecosystem player is also increasingly important. Tech innovation is increasingly democratised and dominant global players do not have a monopoly on bringing new innovations to market. There are a whole plethora of companies, globally, offering best of breed solutions, many solving very specific challenges in the travel space.

API connectivity is also allowing TMCs to very quickly plug into new technologies. This is likely to become more prevalent over time. Plugging into these is vital for travel managers wanting to offer innovative services.

“This can range from travel data and reporting, NDC aggregators, smart meetings and events software, to ground transportation platforms and sustainability start-ups. They’re

now empowering many independent TMCs around the globe,” points out Chris Lewis, CEO at Travelogix.

Moving goal posts

A TMC’s philosophy on technology is perhaps one of the most important gauges. Does it have a culture of innovation, research, development and internal disruption? It's vital travel managers align themselves with those that are constantly evolving.

“TMCs must future-proof their technology. Expectations of technology are growing and we have to be able to meet the needs of our clients,” stresses Julie Oliver, Global Chief Operating Officer, Reed & Mackay. That’s because there is no single roadmap or blueprint as to what the future looks like in terms of the optimal travel programme.

The goal posts are always shifting. A TMC tech environment focused on feedback from travel buyers, problem solving, accountability and continuous improvement is crucial.

“Buyers should also be curious about how core a product management cycle is to the TMC. How does the TMC value data insights for real-time improvements and how does it capture the voice of the customer? Purposeful planning, prioritisation and the use of data

analytics and data science are vital,” says Mark Hollyhead, Chief Product Officer Amex GBT.

Data crunch

As many corporations go through their own digital, data-led and business transformation programmes, TMC technology and the data feeds that are now generated on a day-to-day basis need to be aligned to this evolution.

Data is the new oil.

“Programme analytics have come a very long way in the last few years, which now arm travel managers with the most accessible and digestible real-time targeted insights into their programme’s success, compliance, and traveller wellbeing,” says Darcy Roessler, Product Operations Senior Director for Product & Technology at CWT.

Data is also likely to power the future of TMC technology, so getting insight into how data is and will be used is crucial. Travel buyers are asking for more data in real-time from travel programmes, especially in relation to their ESG goals.

“The increased focus on the environment means TMCs are under growing pressure to give customers the ability to easily compare and book multi-modal travel options, especially where these can make their

programmes more sustainable,” says Stefan Cars, Chief Executive & Founder, Snowfall. It’s also about intersecting other pillars of business travel, including risk and expense reporting, wellbeing, as well as diversity and inclusion, yet many of these data points sit at different stages of the booking flow.

“I’m not convinced that many TMCs are well placed to handle those dataflows. I think another broader change is the recognition to regionalise global programmes. Technology needs to be able to flex to suit market needs most appropriately,” concludes Rob Cope, Chief Technology Officer at TakeTwo.

TOP TIPS

• Make sure that any important tech functionality or capability is aligned with your own travel programme requirements

• Think about whether the tech solution is designed for third-party connectivity, workflow optimisation and speed

• Consider which applications and content matters, either for commercial or operational reasons, and which do not

• Align yourself with a TMC that is continually innovating and investing in technology

• Ask about your TMC's technology roadmap

TMCs / Technology 12 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com d IGITAL S o LUTI o NS
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Technology / TMCs 13 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Why build it from scratch if it’s affordable and readily available?”
TMCs must futureproof their technology. Expectations are growing and we have to be able to meet the needs of our clients”

TMCs 2023: Who does WhaT

Your guide to a selection of leading travel management companies in the UK (A to H)

Innovations: Onboarding selected customers to proprietary online booking and travel management platform, Melon. Melon is

Sports, Finance, Banking, Technology, Marine.

Innovations: Live availability and instant book and 'Green Leaf' went live in Meetingspro. Partnership with API developer

Added CO2 estimates for air and rail bookings. Specialisms: Public Sector, Utilities, Logistics and Infrastructure, Construction and Engineering, Oil and Gas, Finance, Manufacturing, Retail, Professional Services, Health and Social Care. Alliances: GlobalStar

Innovations: Launched SAF programme and platform with Shell Aviation. Joined World Economic Forum. Integrated with Chooose for carbon emissions data and reporting. Awarded platinum EcoVadis status. Specialisms: Technology & Communications, Professional Services, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Pharma & Healthcare, Government Retail, Energy, Marine & Mining, Utilities, Consulting.

aMsaleM business Travel uK abt-global.com

300 staff globally Israel 198380% / 20% $200m global

Innovations: New UI development of OBT. Specialisms: Telecoms, Online Security and Gaming, Pharma, Financial, Engineering, Software. Alliances: Focus, Lufthansa City Centre, Advantage

arrangeMY arrangeMY.com

80 UK staff Worcester199030% / 70% £48m

Innovations: Launched arrangeMY Learning Management Suite to manage clients' educational and accommodational needs. Learning Management Portal can be used by training providers, college groups and learning institutes to monitor and track learner activity. Specialisms: Construction, Charity, Apprenticeships, Technology/IT Services, Insurance, Housing Association, Car Manufacturing, Retail. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

aTpi atpi.com

2,000 staff globallyManchester191920% / 80% £1.1bn global

Innovations: Launched Direct ATPI Halo with ATPI Analytics 2.0 enhanced carbon reporting, ATPI on the Go, Whatsapp and Teams integration. ATPI enables clients to chat via a multitude of platforms such as Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp. Specialisms: Corporate Travel, Marine Travel, Energy Travel, Mining Travel, Travel in Africa, Sports Travel, Corporate Events, Sports Events, Yacht Logistics, Hospitality.

bbTM baldWins business Travel ManageMenT bbtm.co.uk

Alliances: Focus, Advantage

3 UK staff

Tunbridge Wells19990% / 100% £3m global

Innovations: Launched 24/7 English-Mandarin bilingual service hub, advanced NDC adoption and capability solution, car rental and train booking capabilities on myCWT mobile and web, enhanced CO2 emission reporting, partnership with Wenrix, new subscription fee model. Specialisms: Defense, Energy & Resources, Financial Services, Government, Marine, Media & Entertainment, Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences, Professional Services, Technology, Telecoms dialaFlighT CorporaTe Travel dialaflight.com/corporatetravel

150 UK staff London19800% / 100% £134.5m

Innovations: Continued investment in staff and recruitment to support 100% offline offering focused on SME clients. Specialisms: SMEs

diversiTY Travel diversitytravel.com

231 staff globallyManchester200759% / 41% £85.4m global

Innovations: Ability to book baggage online for low-cost carriers, brand new app and traveller tracking technology. European rail now bookable online. Specialisms: Academic, Humanitarian & Charity, Non-profit, Study/Education Trips. Alliances: Advantage

easY avenues easy-avenues.co.uk

22 UK staff Chelmsford200930% / 70% £10m

Innovations: Continuous upgrade of client and in-house technology suite. New partnership to allow clients greater access to competitive global fares. New partnership to offset clients CO2 emissions. Specialisms: Finance, Manufacturing, Engineering, Entertainment & Events, Industry, Construction, Logistics, Offshore, Oil, Gas, Renewable Energy, Technology, Infrastructure & Maintenance, Security. Alliances: Advantage

eFr Travel efrtravel.co.uk

50 UK staff Bushey Heath20025% / 95% £21m

Innovations: Move from Sabre and Integrated Amadeus as primary GDS. Full re-configuration of Atriis online booking platform. Implementation of Midoco mid office system for automation, streamlining booking and accounts processes. Implementation of Umbrella profile solution, linked to all booking platforms. Specialisms: Professional Services, Law, Finance, Sports, Property, Oil & Gas, Marine & Offshore, Media, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Manufacturing. Alliances: Advantage, Focus equinox Travel equinox-travel.com

13 UK staff London2021100% / 0% £4.5m global

Innovations: In-house Private Aviation Charter business, Equinox Charter which allows clients' movements to be coordinated seamlessly where jet/helicopter chartering is required. Specialisms: Music & Comedy Live Touring, Entertainment, Bespoke Leisure, Film, TV, & Media, Sport, Corporate, Incentives, Events, Aviation Chartering. Alliances: GTC-Internova (ProTravel)

bCd Travel bcdtravel.com Not disclosedThe Netherlands200656% / 44% Not disclosed

Innovations: Airbus and FairFly partnership. Partnered with Sabre. Enhanced TripSource with Messenger Chat Window and Preferences for Distance Format & Currency. Introduced AgentSource. Expanded NDC content with Singapore Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. Specialisms: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Finance, FMCG, Entertainment/TV/Film, Manufacturing, Media, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Technology. Alliances: ABTA ATA

blue Cube Travel bluecubetravel.co.uk

48 staff globally London200310% / 90% £30m

Innovations: Invested in bringing new and young talent into the industry and continue to work on increasing their knowledge to maintain high quality service for client base. Specialisms: Oil and Gas, Private Equity, Architectural, Car Manufactures/ Retailers, Financial PR. Alliances: Advantage

ClariTY business Travel claritybusinesstravel.com

376 UK staff Manchester196072% / 28%£350m UK/Europe

Innovations: Only TMC in the UK to obtain a distinction level ‘ServiceMark’ accreditation in recognition of service excellence by the Institute of Customer Service. Specialisms: Professional services, Energy, Resource and Marine Academic NGO Charity, Finance & Banking, Public Sector, Retail Sector, Sports. Alliances: One Global

ClYde Travel ManageMenT clydetravel.com

100 staff globally

Glasgow198915% / 85% £120m global

Innovations: Traveldoc visa and entry requirements issued with all itineraries, Consort proprietary workflow management system and direct connect technology (IATA mature certified), Travelogix Geo. Specialisms: Marine, Offshore, Renewables, Corporate. Alliances: Advantage, Radius, Focus

CoCo+ mycoco.io

14 UK staff

Bristol202265% / 35% £184,808

Innovations: First to integrate VIBE with Protas Mid/Back Office. Approaches sustainability differently, publishing the most sustainable route after trip search and combining the full trips CO2 into the shopping basket.

CorporaTe Travel ManageMenT (CTM) uk.travelctm.com

staff globally

London199463% / 37% £894m Europe

Introduced Emissions Forecast Calculator to create accurate forecasts of future travel emissions based on expected global travel patterns, route activity and hotel stays. Specialisms: Professional Services, Public Sector, ERM, Sport, Technology, Law, Pharmaceutical, Finance, Entertainment, Media. Alliances: Advantage, Radius

eTon Travel ManageMenT etontravel.com

85 UK staff Berkshire196960% / 40% Not disclosed

Innovations: New back-office, email and telephone systems. Achieved TMC Elite status with SAP Concur. Developed out-of-hours service. New partnerships with three US-based TMCs providing EMEA fulfilment. Specialisms: SMEs in Pharmaceuti

cal, IT, Finance, Retail, Manufacturing, Legal & Consulting, Non-profit Organisations, Music, Entertainment, Fashion, Sports, VIP Travel Services, MICE/Group Travel, Luxury Leisure. Alliances: Advantage, American Express GBT Travel Partner Network FCM fcmtravel.com

6,500 staff globallyLondon 2004Not disclosed Not disclosed

Innovations: Working on FCM Platform, a proprietary travel management tool developed in-house to provides a comprehensive, globally consistent experience, delivering more control, duty of care, sustainability, and communications benefits. Specialisms: Engineering, Technology, Insurance.

global Travel ManageMenT GTM.uk.com

22 UK staf Woking, Surrey199735% / 65% £11m

Innovations: Enhanced GTM Online (corporate self-booking tool) with real time Duty of Care content and tools. Strengthened a full suite of mobile apps. Further developed GTM Carbon Offset programme. Specialisms: UK-based SMEs, High NetWorth Individuals, Virtual PAs, Automotive and Aviation, Brewing, Business Consultancy, Entertainment, Insurance, Professional Sport, Emerging Digital Industries. Alliances: Focus, Advantage

good Travel ManageMenT good-travel.co.uk 35 UK staff East Yorkshire190625% / 75% £20m

Innovations: Internal Employee Portal to enable remote and home workers to be informed and engaged with the latest information, training and procedures. Relaunch of groups department and partnership with The Energy Industry Council.

Specialisms: SME Corporate Travel, Marine, Offshore and Energy Division, Business Events, Groups, Trade Missions, Global Exhibitions. Alliances: Altour, Advantage, Lufthansa City Centre

graY daWes Travel gdg.travel 250 staff globallyColchester192765% / 35% £250m

Innovations: Developed a retailing strategy'using Yourtrip platform, a single booking solution for agents, bookers and travellers. Developed a bespoke airline booking system which was used to safely manage the travel for thousands of football fans from all over the world during 2022 World Cup. Specialisms: Construction/Engineering, Retail, Luxury/Fashion, Energy, Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Creative, Academic/Education, Manufacturing, Marine.

harridge business Travel harridgebusiness.com

20 UK staff

London198330% / 70% £5m

Innovations: Recently paired with Trees4travel. Increased the amount of online users. Harridge has a fully-comprehensive tracking/traveller safety tool. Specialisms: Insurance, Media, Fashion, Construction, Hedge Funds, Arts, Marine, Legal, Education, Medicine. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

TMCs / The 2023 Directory 15 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Travel Management Company Website Company size Head office established Online / Offline Turnover 2022 aCe Travel ManageMenT acetravel.co.uk 12 UK staff London199230% / 70% £6.5m Specialisms: Pharma, Manufacturing, Comms, Automotive, Retail, Finance. Alliances: Advantage / ATG agiiTo agiito.com 420 UK staff Derby 197274% / 26% £276.5m
aMeriCan express
amexglobalbusinesstravel.com18,000 staff
TravelTime.
global business Travel
globallyLondon201470% / 30%$22.968bn global
540
Travel Management Company Website Company size Head office established Online / Offline Turnover 2022 CorporaTe Traveller uK corptraveller.com 350 UK staff London1993Not disclosed Not disclosed
mycwt.com 12,000 staff, 140 countries Minneapolis187260% / 40% Not disclosed
due to be widely available in the UK market in 2023. Specialisms: Start-ups and Midmarket Businesses, Stage, Screen and
CWT
-
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Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine

TMCs 2023: Who does WhaT

Your guide to a selection of leading travel management companies in the UK (H to W)

Innovations: HTS’s online meetings booking platform rolled out to clients during 2022, with live information on booking status, while client leadership teams achieve insight into location booking data to support employee duty of care, and the ability to track costs relating to business travel and meetings. Specialisms: Financial, Telecoms, Construction, Utilities, Legal, Digital and Charity. nnTel inntel.co.uk

UK staff Essex 198486% / 14% £62.8m

Innovations: Launched Instant Book on LOGiC Meeting platform. Integrated CO2e emission data at point of sale for hotel and transport. Partnerships with Jyrney and EventWell and focussed on creating solutions for back-office processes. Specialisms: Rail/Rail Infrastructure, Construction, Supply Chain and Logistics Telecommunications, Financial Services, Facilities Management, Public Sector/Government, Professional Services. Alliances: Focus, Advantage, Radius inTernova Travel Group internova.com 739 UK staff London2008 35% / 65% £433m

Innovations: Sustainable Travel International Corporate Carbon Programme. Partnership with Space Perspective. Sherpa technology across all companies for very latest traveller safety advice. Multi GDS platforms offering Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus.

Specialisms: Finance & Banking, Private Equity, Insurance, Law, Marine, Oil & Gas, Private Family Offices, Music Touring & Entertainment, TV & Film Production, Group Travel, Media. Alliances: Advantage, Travel Leaders Global Network (TLN) Key Travel keytravel.com 239 staff globally Manchester198078% / 22% £102m

Innovations: Developed Eco Fares in partnership with a global airline to support sustainable travel. Launched Key Travel mobile and a new customer portal. Became Omni-Channel, enabling customers to use chat, WhatsApp, text, email or phone.

Specialisms: Academic/Education, Humanitarian, Faith, Not-for-profit, Charity, NGOs. Alliances: Advantage

Meon valley Travel meonvalleytravel.com

55 UK staff Petersfield 200260% / 40% £41m

Innovations: ATRIIS OBT, Geo tracking, Meon Green. Specialisms: Emergency Medical Assistance, Retail, Finance, Insurance, Recruitment, Construction, Fashion, Life Sciences, Luxury Goods &Aspirational Brands, Space & Satellite Operations. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

Midas Travel ManaGeMenT midas-travel.com

25 UK staff London199885% / 15% £16.5m

Innovations: Partnering with sustainability innovators for point-of-sale recommendations, 360 travel policy reviews and in-depth C02 reporting and analysis. Heading up a travel-wide Innovation Group, bringing together airlines, hotel brands, ground transportation and TMCs. Specialisms: SME's, Finance, Professional Services, Consultative, Family offices, Media/Creative, Telecommunications, Energy, Technology, Pharmaceutical. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

norad Travel noradtravelgroup.com

Specialisms: All Commercial Sectors. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

oMeGa World Travel omegaworld.co.uk

35 UK staffLiss, Hampshire198130% / 70% £25m

300 staff globallyWashington197260% / 40% $500m global

Innovations: New phone system. Specialisms: Banking, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas, Law, Engineering, Education, Government, Advertising Creative Arts. Alliances: Advantage, Focus, Globalstar

QuinTessenTially CorporaTe Travel ManaGeMenT quintessentiallyctm.com

Not disclosed

London197110% / 90% £25m global

Innovations: Enhanced technology suite by introducing Focus PinPoint. a risk management platform with interactive global map display; QCTM Online Profile Management solution; Dynamic Scripting, file finishing technology and quality control. Partnered with Trees4Travel. Specialisms: Financial Services, Insurance, Legal, Media & Advertising, Oil & Gas, Mining, Leisure, Lifestyle, HNWI. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

reed & MaCKay reedmackay.com

1,145 staff globally

London1962Not disclosed

Not disclosed

Innovations: Selected as the new Parliamentary Travel Office Provider for the Members and staff of both Houses (MPs and Peers). Completed acquisition of Atlanta Agencia de Viajes, S.A., d.b.a Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants.

Opened Abu Dhabi office. Launched Global Superhero Academy. Partnered with SQUAKE on CO2 emissions data. Specialisms: Law, Insurance, Finance, Marine, Energy, Oil & Gas, Media. Alliances: Advantage, R&M's International Partnership

seleCTive Travel ManaGeMenT selective-travel.com

210 staff globally

Belfast197248% / 52% £67m

Innovations: Further development of internal staff booking tool, allowing for a simplified booking process for new employees. Enhanced finance integration with clients. Full seamless integration of UK Rail Platform into client booking tools. Specialisms: SME, Government, Higher Education, Charity & Missionary, Film & Entertainment, Groups & Events. Alliances: Advantage, WIN Travel Network

s MplexiTy Travel ManaGeMneT simplexitytravel.com

16 UK staff

London20110% / 100% £7.5m

Innovations: Upgraded online booking, management information tools, tracking tools and CO2 reporting software. Increased network of global contacts on the ground with local expertise and knowledge. Specialisms: Music, Sports, UHN, Family Offices, Legal, Tech, Law, Mice, Events. Alliances: Virtuoso, Advantage, Focus

Innovations: Launched Sunways Sustainable Business Travel to capture customers' CO2 and offset this through UN Certified Carbon Credits and planting trees. Launched online booking solution through Cytric and as an app in Microsoft Teams (particularly beneficial in today’s hybrid working environment). Specialisms: Insurance, Finance, Commodity Broking, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing Support & Services, IT, Accountancy, Media

Innovations: Redesigned and improved TAGgo, TAGsafeguard+ and TAGanalytics+, elements of tech suite, TAGdigital. TAGgo gives traveller profiles in single platform. TAGsafeguard+ tracks travellers, monitors and rates risks and provide real-time alerts. TAGanalytics+ provides consistent headline KPIs, ATP/ADR, policy compliance and missed savings. Specialisms: Touring, Corporate, Production, Investment Management, Events, Private Travel. Alliances: Advantage, Virtuoso

Innovations: Major investment in Nova, an agnostic tech eco-system of travel management solutions on a single global platform. Gained TMC Elite status with SAP Concur. Joined GlobalStar TMC network (TakeTwo CEO became a GlobalStar board director). Specialisms: Legal & Professional Services, Pharma, Tech, Financial Services, Design & Architecture, Oil & Gas, Music & Entertainment, VIPs, Meetings/Events/Groups, Luxury Leisure. Alliances: Advantage, Focus, GlobalStar Travel Counsellors for Business business.travelcounsellors.com/gb/400 staff globallyManchester19940% / 100% £220m global

Innovations: Developing Green Leaf product programme. With Festive Road, delivered six new assets to Corporate Travel Counsellors, including traveller wellbeing and sustainability. Implemented a new streamlined hotel booking process to all Corporate TCs, cutting 75% of workloads through automation. Specialisms: Sports, Science & Medical, Professional Services, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Media, F&B, Engineering, IT and Telecoms, Construction. Alliances: Globalstar

Innovations: Launch of traveller tracking, BI module, expense solution, more NDC connections and direct connects to partners. Official provider of SNFC content to all agencies/TMC across the globe. Specialisms: Energy & Utilities, Government Offices, Insurance, Manufacturing, Finance, Universities, Public Sector, Sports Team. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

TravelharBour travelharbour.com

10 UK staff Surrey20020% / 100% £5m

Innovations: Rolled out Focus PinPoint Traveller Tracking/Duty of Care Solution to numerous clients during 2022. Specialisms: Automotive, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Film and Entertainment, Academia, Meetings, Events & Groups. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

TravelperK Travelperk.com

1,300 staff globallyBarcelona2015100% / 0% Not disclosed

Innovations: Investment in TravelPerk's sustainability efforts with the launch of GreenPerk API to measure carbon footprint and build strategies that will cost-effectively reduce emissions and aid the transition to net zero. Specialisms: SMBs across all sectors.

WayTe Travel ManaGeMenT waytetravel.co.uk

Specialisms: Gas and Oil, Manufacturing, Finance, Recruitment, Technology. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

35 UK staff

Stoke-on-Trent19031% / 99% £30m

WesT end Travel lTd westendtravel.co.uk 16 UK staff London19720% / 100% £12.8m

Innovations: Continually driving new corporate business accounts and developing group department to operate worldwide. Specialisms: Corporate Travel, Sports Travel, Leisure Travel, Group Travel, Israel Travel.

30 UK staff

London197030% / 70% £17.8m

Innovations: Further enhancements to technology. Specialisms: Architects, Aviation, Creative & Media, Financial Services, Groups, IT & Software, Legal, Luxury & Retail, Marine Oil & Gas, Telecommunications. Alliances: Advantage

WinGs GloBal Travel wings.travel

362 staff globally

London199212% / 88% £422m global

Innovations: Acquisition of IT provider Alchimea to strengthen the Wings technology offering. Specialisms: Investment Banking, Energy, Legal & Professional, Mining & Marine, Sports & Media, Security & Logics. Alliances: Advantage

WoTTon Travel liM Ted wtlbusinesstravel.com

10 UK staffGloucestershire19860% / 100% £4.6m

Innovations: Engaged with Air Gateway for NDC content. Specialisms: Engineering, Oil & Gas, Finance, Defence. Alliances: Advantage, Focus

TMCs / The 2023 Directory 17 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Travel Management Company Website Company size Head office established Online / Offline Turnover 2022 hoTel and Travel soluTions (hTs hotelandtravelsolutions.co.uk 32 UK staffWorcestershire2010Not disclosed Not disclosed
104
Travel Management Company Website Company size Head office established Online / Offline Turnover 2022 sunWays Business Travel sunwaystravel.co.uk 18 UK staff Kent 197310% / 90% £9.6m
& Publishing. Alliances: Focus, Advantage TaG tag-group.com/group 392 staff globally London19880% / 100% Not disclosed
TaKeTWo Travel soluTions mytaketwo.com 50 staff globally London202170% / 30% Not
disclosed
Travel planeT my-travelplanet.com 100 staff globally France2014 92% / 8% Not disclosed
Wexas Travel ManaGeMenT wexastravelmanagement.co.uk
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Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine

Back ONLINE

Travel complexity and user frustrations are forcing TMCs to refine online booking tools, whether in-house or from third party providers, says Gill Upton

Functionality issues with online booking tools are nothing new but have been exacerbated by the shift back to online booking as business travel resumes and is more complex than before. The number one priority for buyers this year is booking tool optimisation, up from fifth place in 2022, according to an ITM 2023 buyer priorities survey conducted last November.

Specific OBT shortcomings highlighted were functionality around sustainability and traveller wellbeing, UK and European rail content, and NDC content. Overall, OBTs were deemed not fit for purpose, with providers not listening to needs and unresponsive to requests.

For years and years we've heard that the legacy OBTs should step up but much of the issues are outside their control”

NDC content is challenging as airlines look to different ways of distributing their content this year, starting with American Airlines in April. Any booking tools that have NDC content will be able to access AA, including Atriis and Vibe Corporate.

“Most airlines are taking different approaches from each other so there are different formats,” explains ITM’s Scott Davies. The big improvement will happen when non-GDS content – including NDC contentstarts to flow through the GDS. Improved sustainability and traveller wellbeing content centres around guiding travellers to greener options and carbon emissions at point of sale, the latter essential as long as it is backed up with policy rules to drive behavioural change.

Off track

Rail is another frustration. The need for individual train company licences is arguably the main complication but Trainline, for example, has a global API which skirts arounds the Deutsche Bahn licence, so things are improving.

The legacy providers in particular have been singled out for being slow to update, in particular SAP Concur. Paul Dear, the company’s Senior Director Supplier Management, says he understands the comments that have been made and points to the huge undertaking of moving the legacy system to the public cloud “so we can move quickly”. The last customer moved across at the end of 2022.

“Our platform is now state of the art,” claims Dear, with a good base of UK rail content, but European rail content is limited when it involves multiple countries as multiple licences are required.

“If anyone thought NDC was complicated, try doing European rail,” says Dear. Concur is working with aggregators who are turning into a GDS of rail.

Concur has partnered with Travelfusion and will provide American Airlines content from April. Dear points to the Evolution of Concur Travel, with a car hire release in Q1 which offers searches for hybrid and electric cars, pick-ups from home and office and carbon emissions from partners CHOOSE

and Thrust Carbon. Q2 will see a hotel release offering searches for green properties, CO2 calculations per room and so on, but an air release has yet to be confirmed. The green messaging will be at point of sale and be more graphical.

Another legacy provider, Sabre’s GetThere booking tool is also getting a makeover to add more accurate and granular carbon emissions data.

TMCs with in-house tech capability have speedier solutions as the OBT can be configured to what the client wants but the flipside is that the buyer is locked into a contract for three years.

CTM re-wrote its OBT during the pandemic with a focus on sustainability, wellbeing and risk. New features include carbon budgeting, limiting same-day travel and risk alerts.

Brian Sheerin, Chief Technology Officer, CTM, explains: “OBTs are only as good as their suppliers and there are sometimes issues on European rail with providers not always having the full content available. In these instances we are working not just with our suppliers but also directly with the rail companies to integrate direct API connections.” Sheerin reckons NDC content would improve if only airlines and the GDS worked more closely together. The TMC workaround is direct connections and links to the GDS and other aggregators.

Customisation

It is arguably more difficult for those TMCs locked into third party tech, particularly if it’s a contract with one of the legacy OBTs but Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director at Advantage Travel Group, presents a different picture. “For years and years we’ve heard that the legacy OBTs should step up but much of the issues are outside their control, so you can’t always blame the technology,” he argues.

He says most OBTs are not being used to their full capability and advises buyers to check the configuration. “The buyer may have the standard, vanilla, out-of-the-box configuration and it hasn’t been tweaked and customised for you. TMCs can overpromise so it’s the duty of the buyer to ask the right questions, get a live demo, put the time in and undertake a detailed analysis.”

Nonetheless, buyers can’t get everything they want in an OBT so need to need to decide what’s most important. “Get an account manager, buyer and IT guy in the same room together – all of whom understand the programme – and that will make it fly,” advises Snelgar.

Many TMCs offer multiple OBTs to offer flexibility. FCM, for example, offers clients both Amadeus Cytric and SAP Concur but is going one step further by rolling out its own booking tool, FCM Booking, over the next six to 12 months, which will sit on the FCM digital platform as the live interface.

”It’s designed for the digitally-savvy workforce looking to make decisions based on CO2, but we’ll utilise all three OBTs,” says MD Andy Hegley. “We want to control the content and tailor it to our customers and provide consistency as it’s not possible to have the same OBT in every country.”

In the first phase UK rail will go live, followed by European rail in phase two. Meanwhile the big hope on the horizon is AI’s capability to power OBTs to do more and improve the user experience. SAP

Concur is already using machine learning on its expense product so has the technology but Dear reckons it will happen in the leisure space first and much later for business travellers

Open AI’s launch of the ChatGPT chatbot content platform last November could be transformative. Johnny Thorsen, VP Strategy & Partnerships at Spotnana, reckons

The big improvements will happen when non-GDS content – including NDC content – starts to flow through the GDS”

ChatGPTs ability to optimise the service delivery is almost unlimited.

“By the end of 2023 it is likely we will stop talking about a shortage of staff and focus more on how we can improve the overall business and service model. ChatGPT can evolve into the world’s first AI-powered travel assistant capable of answering 95% of all questions within seconds,” he says.

TravelPerk has integrated AI into its platform to improve the user experience while Navan (formerly TripActions), is utilising ChatGPT in Ava, its virtual assistant to offer what it claims is human-grade support and delivering succinct answers to questions, a conversational booking experience and data But not everybody agrees on how quickly or effectively it will transform the corporate space. “It’s really exciting but there is no benefit for the corporate user yet," says Advantage's Snelgar. "Chatbots currently are more sophisticated versions of Alexa so think three or four years away. Chatbots can only learn from the data they have but there are definitely opportunities there.”

ITM’s Davies also voices a word of caution. “A savvy traveller will work out when they’re not talking to a human as there are only five different responses,” he says. “Underdeveloped chatbots drive dissatisfaction.”

It’s steady as she goes for now as tech applications mature into the game-changers we hope they will be and buyers and TMCs go back to the drawing board to finesse what they already have.

TMCs / OBTs OBTs / TMCs 18 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com 19 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
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