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TRAVEL MANAGEMENT CoMPANIES Y O U R

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G U I D E

AS BUSINESS TRAVEL RESTARTS, THE ROLE OF THE TMC WILL BE MORE VITAL THAN EVER. HERE'S OUR GUIDE TO THE LATEST TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS Introduction, 3-5 / Covid response, 6-9 TMC sector update, 10-12 / The Directory, 14-17 Spotlight on TMC fees, 18-20 / Insight, 22

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Postage stamp that changed the world Rowland Hill, a teacher, invented the Penny Black in 1840. The world’s first ever adhesive stamp set the price by weight instead of distance. His pioneering thinking was the Victorian equivalent of the internet and changed the world – going from 80 million letters in a year to 2.3 billion worldwide.

Pioneering a better way to pay Photo by isco on Unsplash

With the global travel industry enduring a shutdown for an entire year, many conventional business travel practices might prove unsustainable. So now is exactly the right time to re-set expectations; giving clients a choice on how to pay for managed travel services in a way that makes more sense. We’ve wrapped our travel services under a single subscription fee that takes care of everything your travellers need, keeps them within policy and helps to achieve your travel programme goals. It isn’t that radical, but it is an entirely fresh approach and perhaps remarkable in the days of Netflix and Amazon that Blue Cube is the first travel management company to implement this for its clients.

Breakthrough thinking changes more than just the rules of how a market works, it also delivers greater customer value.

TO FIND OUT MORE TALK TO US ON 0208 948 8188 - OR EMAIL sales@bluecubetravel.co.uk

www.bluecubetravel.co.uk

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21 16:01

Introduction / TMCs

T I M E o ut

Photo by isco on Unsplash

The business travel pause has given corporates the chance to rethink and reset – and TMCs are stepping in to help, says Gill Upton

T

iming is everything, so the saying goes, and this couldn’t be more true during a global pandemic. While the first few months were busier than ever for TMCs and corporates alike – with frantic repatriations, refunds, cancellations, learning best practice and certifying Covid-friendly suppliers – after that, there was a vacuum.

For travel managers with time on their hands it offered a time for reflection and the chance to review travel suppliers to ensure they were still the best fit. While there has been some RFP activity, most notably BP, Google and the U.S. Army, for the most part the last two quarters of 2020 and the start of 2021 triggered a rash of internal policy and process reviews.

“It feels like travel managers came into 2021 on the attack and with a clear plan as to what needs to be done this year,” observes Caroline Strachan, Partner in Festive Road. “As companies start to articulate their return to work, or virtual first strategies, travel managers have a great opportunity to align purposeful travel to their new organisational ways.” 

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TMCs / Introduction

It feels like travel managers came into 2021 on the attack and with a clear plan as to what needs to be done this year”

Ironically, as James McIlvenna, UK Head of Account Management at Corporate Traveller, remarks, “All the key players have been on the ground and in the same country so they have been able to do the analytical work necessary.”

Strategic direction

Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Corporates know they are able to operate virtually and are questioning whether that would be the right strategy going forward. Supporting such a move is the very real condition of traveller anxiety; Road Warriors have enjoyed downtime with family and may not be keen to kick-start that multipleRed-Eye style of working life. Travel disruption in 2020 also meant that sustainability targets were met, so how do they maintain that for 2021 and beyond? These are all issues the TMC can provide solutions to. Corporate Traveller, for example, has witnessed an about-turn in how its clients want TMC reviews to be undertaken. Says McIlvenna: “We normally stage quarterly reviews, of cost efficiencies mainly, but that’s been stripped away as now we need to show value. We’ve created specific reviews around topical subjects, including duty of care, policy tools, wellbeing, supplier vetting and how to run a greener travel programme.” These elements were always part of the reviews but only as sub-categories; now they are main agenda topics. “It’s been great to re-set the dial on that,” says McIlvenna.

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While TMCs have undoubtedly proved their worth during Covid, their challenge for now is to have sufficient cash in the bank and staff on the ground to meet the new demands of their clients. According to GBTA, 79% of 1,000 TMCs surveyed globally have laid off staff, 86% have been furloughed and 77% are likely to make further reductions in staffing levels over the next 12 months. Some 25% of the sample were European TMCs. “It’s a challenge in terms of resources and skills set,” says Catherine Logan, Regional Vice President, EMEA, at GBTA. A follow-up GBTA survey in February 2021 of the same sample tracked the measures corporates took as a result of Covid, revealing that 55% laid-off employees, 46% furloughed employees and 44% cut pay. Among respondents who report their company has furloughed employees, almost half (45%) say that some have returned to work. An additional one-quarter report all (10%) or most (15%) have returned to work, while almost one-third (30%) say all furloughed employees remain furloughed or have since been laid off.

Shift in demand

Skeleton staff won’t be able to service an increasing demand for high-touch, white glove service. BTA CEO Clive Wratten points out that there are a lot of experienced staff made redundant last year who still haven’t secured jobs but who can be re-employed when business returns. The pre-Covid trend of placing more travel into a self-booking tool has been mothballed for now, with most industry observers predicting that once traveller confidence returns demand for online bookings will surge once again. TMC financials are another matter, as gone are the buckets of supplier commissions exacerbated by greatly diminished transactions fees. A survey of travel buyers by ITM at the end of 2020 found 63% would be open to changing the structure of their TMC agreement to support recovery. When buyers were asked what changes they expect to their TMC commercial model as a result of the pandemic, 10% said they expect a move to menu pricing, 10% said a shift to a management fee, 15% specified 'other', 2% to a subscription fee model and

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Introduction / TMCs

38% said they expect to see a mix of all of those. But at the same time, over a third (37%) said they don't expect any change. Recognising the need for change, the BTA commissioned consultants Nina & Pinta to publish a guide on future TMC financial models (see feature on page 18-20). Future charging mechanisms mean similar fee levels but new ways of paying. Next on the agenda is a guide to the RFP process.

If your TMC relationship has survived the extraordinary and unprecedented last 12 months then it’s certainly worth saving and avoiding the cost and angst of an RFP. “Hold fire,” is independent consultant Chris Pouney’s advice. “Every TMC is in a massive flux and so are the corporates,” he says. “It is hard to fully appraise or select a supplier when you have no idea what your business will look like in 12 months’ time though, so there are pros and cons to this.” Arguing for no change is Kate Watson, Head of Consulting UK & Nordics at Areka Consulting, who says: “It’s not the perfect time to switch TMCs in such a volatile marketplace at the moment.” Corporates will be adjusting the size of their travel spend in a downwards direction and focussing on duty of care and a stronger approvals pre-trip process as part of their Return To Travel programmes, “and for that they need to work closely with their TMCs,” adds Watson. Corporates do not know what they don’t know and TMCs can fill that void. In their corner “C-Suites see the value of the TMC more now,” says Areka’s Watson. Nicola Cox, Director at Midas Travel, believes the pandemic has brought to the forefront the real value of the TMC service "We have become the go-to font of knowledge for clients. We’ve demonstrated our level of consultancy and increased our capacity to advise far beyond the basics of point-to-point business travel," she says. "Our sources are continuing to widen; as not only do we need to be up to speed with the latest legislation and in-country travel requirements, but also the daily changes and product variations of our suppliers. We’re becoming more and more of a full travel management solution for clients.“ Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner of Festive

Photo by isco on Unsplash

Stick it out

Road, predicts that as the business travel sector comes out of the pandemic crisis TMCs will play an integral role in the new focus on why employees should travel. “Until now, TMCs have been primarily focussed on the 'what and how' of travel programmes – delivering policy, booking travel, collating data and so on. But in an era of purposeful travel there are all sorts of opportunities to develop some of their more valued capabilities we have seen evolve over the last decade," he explains. Tilstone believes that designing policies and processes to support the implementation of a purposeful travel programme will present another opportunity for TMCs to demonstrate their value, along with their ability to analyse new data to continuously refine the approach and develop services which meet the new requirements. “In a purposeful travel era, where travel budgets are built from the bottom up and the focus is on where travel brings value, there are all sorts of implications for the commercial relationship between TMC and buyer too," he adds. “If TMCs can support companies to become more strategic with their travel investments, then the commercial dynamic is changed and true value can be realised both for the customer and TMC. A natural side-effect of this, of course, is that buyers will only contract a TMC for services their company values, but this isn’t to be feared.”

If your TMC relationship has survived the extraordinary and unprecedented last 12 months then it's certainly worth saving and avoiding the cost and angst of an RFP”

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TMCs / Covid response

SUPPORT systems With a raft of new products and services TMCs are playing a vital role amid the current travel complexities. Gill Upton reports

H

ere’s the dilemma: the dire economic climate is forcing companies to introduce more rigid travel policies and reductions in spend while Covid-19 dictates that those changes must accommodate a far more robust duty of care programme, in terms of traveller wellbeing and safety, which often means higher cost. It’s a tough balance to strike between cost and risk mitigation and TMCs have been demonstrating just how to deliver that through real-time traveller tracking, a tighter pre-trip approval process, up-to-date travel alerts, Covid-related intelligence and a raft of new-fangled reports to dice and slice to maintain cost controls.

It's taken a global pandemic for TMCs to prove they are vital partners in the travel space, something that historically they have not been good at articulating" 6

“Clients already have access to this,” argues Nicola Cox, Director at Midas Travel. “What they’re seeking more of is an integrated and advisory approach. Our clients know us for our proactivity and rely on our advice on traveller wellbeing, protecting supplier partnerships and restoring traveller confidence.” The picture of Covid readiness varies among TMCs but generally they have not been idle. Ahead of the curve initially were the digital TMCs. The likes of TripActions, for example, swiftly added new functionality to help instil confidence and protect travellers. This included an enhanced Covid-19 report, deeper policy controls and customisation, real-time data for travellers, automated unused tickets and waivers within the booking flow, a recovery app to assess the safety of planned travel and webinars to log best practice for travel managers. More recently, travel data platform Shep has added Covid-related perimeters to its browser extension, sharing guidance on thousands of websites. Tripkicks has done something similar, adding actionable insights to its Concur booking overlay. 

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Covid response / TMCs

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TMCs / Covid response

Travel is going to get more complex and clients want somebody to take it all away from them and own it. If TMCs sell that vision clients won't baulk at the cost of the service” Fello introduced the Amadeus platform to collate the latest Coronavirus travel information and a chatbot, Feasy, to pull all relevant travel information together into one place by destination, saving consultants time and removing potential errors. The Focus Partnership introduced Pinpoint so members and their clients can check where travel teams have been and are due to go. It sends direct messages to travellers on the move and each traveller location is overlaid with FCO and Covid intelligence. Reed & Mackay (R&M) undertook a rash of developments. It integrated hotel Covid-19 safety intelligence, such as Stay Safe, so clients could make smart decisions about 'Covid-friendly' places to stay, and it did the same for airlines. The TMC also introduced enhanced risk intelligence, including a Covid-19 traveller tracking map and emails to remind travellers to complete health forms, for example. R&M has also partnered with CityDoc to provide Covid-19 tests and an exclusive agreement with Healix International will provide clients with a layered risk assessment tool with instant assessments of the medical and logistical risks of proposed travel itineraries. The TMC’s clients can also view air travel carbon emissions at point of sale, whether using R&M/Book or booking through a travel team, and see how a modal shift would save carbon. This data flows through seamlessly to the post-trip reporting. Additions at Advantage include a duty of care product suite covering traveller tracking and risk management products, Maiden Voyage Covid traveller training models and accommodation accreditation in partnership with GSA. The consortium has also introduced carbon off-setting and reporting tools, enriched its 2021 GDS accommodation programme, and will introduce new

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corporate travel insurance policies via Advantage Financial Services. Travelport, meanwhile, has added a new Stay Safe feature for agents connected to its API or Smartpoint agency desktop solution. American Express GBT launched Travel Vitals, a single source of information aggregated by multiple sources by destination, airline, airport, hotel chain, train operator and ground transport provider. It flags up Covid-19 hotspots and shows traveller restrictions by location. The TMC also launched a push notification feature in its mobile app, called Program Alerts, which allows travel managers to send messages to travellers. A third product launch, Expert Auditor, allows clients to configure and customise rules to be applied automatically to bookings and flags noncompliant travel for approval. Amex GBT also launched two new features on its booking tool Neo: a new sustainability feature which filters carbon emissions by air and rail, and a facility to display the hotel option that meets a client’s environmental standards and criteria. Aside from launching Covid-related tools, FCM staged internal client surveys to gauge traveller sentiment about a return to travel. CTM launched a Covid Hub with centralised access to up-to-date Covid insights. “We also include supplier updates and integrate it all in to our self-booking tool,” explains CTMs General Manager Sales Shelley Matthews.

The TMC is also providing a Covid testing facility clinic, home testing kits and has enhanced its approval tool to incorporate permission to travel. A traveller wellbeing dashboard enables clients to identify traveller behaviours and trends that could impact traveller wellbeing, while CTM's Climate + programme, set up in partnership with South Pole, provides tools to track the environmental impact of travel, and also solutions to help clients reach carbon neutrality goals. Over the next few months CTM will improve user functionality on its portal and self-booking tool to improve visuals and reduce the number of clicks. The message that TMCs are the vital conduit of relevant Covid-19 information for travellers has reached the normally hard-to-access firms in the unmanaged space and many TMCs are reporting brisk business in this area. It’s taken a global health pandemic for TMCs to prove they are vital partners in the travel space, something that historically they have not been good at articulating. “They have communicated that they are clients’ centre of excellence and will make sure that travellers have everything they need. Travel is going to get more complex and clients want somebody to take it all away from them and own it,” says independent consultant Chris Pouney. “If TMCs sell that vision, clients won’t baulk at the cost of the service.“

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Traveller safety & cost control?

Yes.

Ensure business continuity and recovery with the TripActions Enterprise Edition T&E platform.

Trusted by 4,000+ customers:

www.tripactions.com/uk/enterprise

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX TMCs / Consolidation

SURVIVAL of the fittest

Covid has already triggered TMC consolidation, and some failures too, so what does the future hold, asks Gill Upton

O

f the 57 members of the Focus Travel Partnership, two have sadly gone to the wall – maritime specialist Horncastle Executive Travel and Thorntons Travel – and others have changed hands, resulting in inevitable job losses. It’s a sad legacy of Covid-19 and many fear it won’t end there. “I’d like to think that was it but it would be naive to think there won't be more disastrous consequences of Covid,” says Abby Penston, CEO of the industry body that provides buying power and support for SME TMCs. To secure Focus membership, TMCs are fully vetted, including checks from airlines and the need for an IATA licence. The

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organisation is also supported by the Federation of Small Businesses. Members go through similar financial checks and due diligence as part of the application process at the Advantage Travel Partnership. “However, the main benefits include elevated positioning, as part of a larger collective group, aggregation of spend to drive collective rates, value and terms and drive efficiencies for the tri-part relationship," explains Sonia Michaels, the group's Head of Business Travel Services. In terms of other consortia and industry membership organisations, no BTA members have failed to date and it’s encouraging that the organisation

represents 90% of all TMCs in the UK. However, hit with the double whammy of zero supplier revenues and zero customer revenues it’s difficult to imagine how any TMC has managed to survive the last 12 months.

Cash reserves

There is seemingly no rhyme or reason for which TMCs make it and which go to the wall. As BTA Chief Executive Clive Wratten points out: “Size is no guarantee or the governing factor in survival. Being small and nimble is often better."

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Consolidation / TMCs

Size is no guarantee or the governing factor in survival. Being small and nimble is often better”

Wratten does concede, however, that cash allows the ability to innovate. Clarity has Middle Eastern money backing it while venture-capitalist-backed TMCs or those with good investment pots behind them have endured and even expanded their horizons. Last August, for example, FCM's parent company Flight Centre Travel Group announced its acquisition of San Franciscobased WhereTo, while the following month CTM purchased Travel and Transport, including its Radius Travel business. In October, American Express GBT acquired technology start-up 30SecondsToFly, a specialist in artificial

intelligence and business travel messaging. In December Blue Cube Travel launched a franchise venture, Blue Cube Associates, in an effort to soak up the skills of those made redundant, while 2021 kicked off with two purchases: TravelPerk acquired Santa Monica-based business travel platform NexTravel, as part of its expansion plans in the U.S. market, and American Express GBT bought high-touch TMC Ovation Travel Group. Most recently, acquisition-hungry Traveleads purchased Omega Business Travel. It also snapped up Southamptonbased Sterling last June. Those TMCs who are busy building new capability also have a good chance of 

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX TMCs / Consolidation

 survival. Developing new products and services will win over corporates but sitting back and waiting will not. “TMCs have to provide a greater value proposition after Covid as those are the differentiators in the business,” says David Chappell, Country Director UK at travel software Midoco. One potential growth area for TMCs is those corporates in the unmanaged SME space. Indeed, Corporate Traveller won 42 new SME clients between July and October 2020, with a combined annual pre-Covid spend of £18.7 million.

Emergency measures

When Covid hit most TMCs acted quickly to take their business models back to basics to future-proof their organisations. Next came redundancies and furloughing of staff, along with mothballing of offices and a move to remote working when the technology and funds allowed. Adapt or die has been their modus operandi and Focus’ Penston believes that technology will be the key in building back TMC business in a post Covid world. “Fuse that with their knowledge and skillset and you’re going to see some exciting TMCs,” she says. Focus, for one, has been investing in technology, expressly Pinpoint traveller tracking software and Farecast data reporting tool. Arguably, technology will eradicate the need to bring back all redundant or furloughed staff, according to one industry observer who preferred to be anonymous. “Everything can be automated. I won’t need to bring back all my workforce,” she says. American Express GBT used the period last year to reset. It has expedited

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technology launches, re-designed service configurations, launched Neo1 for the unmanaged sector, given its GMs more customer focus and created global customer partnerships. Some 60% of Amex GBTs workforce was already remote working so the TMC already boasts a large flexible workforce. “We have implemented many changes,” says Jason Geall, VP & Regional GM EMEA. “Our business response plan is in place. We've had to look at the size of the organisation and we've achieved most of that reduction with voluntary redundancies, making sure we’re ready for the return." Reed & Mackay has also re-sized its business. “We’ve cut our cloth accordingly and protected as many jobs as we can,” says CEO Fred Stratford. It has private equity firm Inflexion behind it. “They see the long-term value of our sector,” he adds.

Skills gap

One concern in the sector is the loss of key skills, including those in centralised management functions. The upside will be leaner and fitter TMCs, layered with an element of de-globalisation, a move to be best-in-market and growth in niche TMCs in industries such as entertainment and oil and gas. Chris Crowley, Partner at consultants Nina & Pinta, neatly sums it up as “specialisation, regionalisation and marginalisation”. As we come out of the pandemic, corporates will be understandably nervous about the financial viability of their TMCs and are asking questions about business continuity, cash liquidity and forward planning for the most part. “Some clients are nervous about the stability of their TMC,” confirms Shelley Mathews, GM Sales at CTM.

One concern in the sector is the loss of key skills, including those in centralised management functions. The upside will be leaner and fitter TMCs" “Are they ready to do business again, as that really is a concern,” says Crowley. He believes TMCs will have to move forward with smaller management teams, more central operations, less deployment of technology, and centralised quality control and payment processing, all geared to diminishing the fixed asset cost. “TMCs are focussing on cash containment and they’re not at the end of that road," he adds. So, how can clients be sure of a TMC's viability? The general consensus is to ask what reserves they have at the bank, how long can they survive without income, and ask them to share bank statements. Transparency is key if the relationship – yet alone the agency – is to survive. Independent consultant Chris Pouney says many customers are making contingency plans should the worst happen. “Traditional financial instruments such as reporting do not work well here as it’s unlikely that a TMC in distress would simply go under; more likely that they (and more precisely their client book) will be acquired.” A rash of M & A activity this year will be inevitable but to what extent nobody knows. What most industry pundits do long for, though, is BTA Clive Wratten’s prediction for the year: “The industry is relatively intact and I hope that 2021 will not be any worse than 2020.”

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Strike a balance Do you spend every day walking the tightrope of corporate travel? Are you trying to develop a travel programme that will deliver on your business goals and save on cost, whilst caring for your travellers and the world around us? If so, Direct ATPI is ready to be by your side.

Delivering what really matters™

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13/10/2020 09:13 10/22/20 06:24 PM


TMCs / The 2021 Directory

TMCs 2021: Who does what

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

Website

Online / Offline

Company size

Head office

Established

Alliance membership

abt-global.com

70% / 30%

8 UK staff/ 1 office + 400 staff globally

London

2001

Advantage / Focus / LCC

accessbookings.com

30% / 70%

115 staff / 6 offices

Lichfield, Staffordshire

1985

ACE Travel Management

acetravel.co.uk

80% / 20%

12 staff / 1 office

Brentwood, Essex

1992

ATG / Advantage

ALTOUR International Ltd

altour.com

29% / 71%

200 UK staff + locations worldwide

London

1991

Advantage / ALTOUR Global Network

amexglobalbusinesstravel.com

Not disclosed

Not disclosed

London

2014

arrangemy.com

70% / 30%

60 staff/ 1 UK office/ 1 implant

Worcester

1990

Advantage

atpi.com

45% / 55%

1500+ staff / 100+ locations worldwide

London

2002

Advantage

bbtm.co.uk

10% / 90%

5 staff / 1 office

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

1895

Advantage

bcdtravel.com

Not disclosed

14,900 staff globally

London

1981

beyondbusinesstravel.com

80% / 20%

Not disclosed

Belfast

2010

Advantage / Focus

bluecubetravel.co.uk

30% / 70%

30 staff / 4 offices

London

2003

Advantage

bfp.travel

20% / 80%

24 staff / 1 office

Beaconsfield, Bucks

1997

capitatravelevents.co.uk

80% / 20%

430 staff / 3 offices

Derby

1972

GlobalStar

claritybt.com

78% / 22%

400 staff / 7 locations in UK&I

Manchester

1959

Radius Travel

Click Travel

clicktravel.com

90% / 10%

150-200 staff / 1 office

Birmingham

1999

Advantage

Clyde Travel Management

clydetravel.com

20% / 80%

83 staff / 2 offices (plus US/India/Sweden)

Glasgow

1989

Advantage / Focus / Hickory

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Europe

travelctm.co.uk

Not disclosed

2,700 staff globally

London

1994

Owns Radius Travel

ctbusinesstravel.co.uk

30% / 70%

50 staff / 4 offices

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

1988

GlobalStar / Uniglobe

mycwt.com

Not disclosed

14,500 staff in 153 offices globally

Minneapolis (global HQ)

1994

dialaflight.com/corporatetravel

100% offline

130 staff / 4 offices

London

1980

diversitytravel.com

48% / 52%

141 staff in Manchester, London and U.S.

Manchester

2008

Advantage

EFR Travel

efrtravel.co.uk

6% / 94%

46 staff / 3 offices

Bushey, Hertfordshire

2002

Advantage / Focus

Egencia

egencia.com

87% / 13%

Not disclosed

London

2002

Eton Travel

etontravel.com

50% / 50%

86 staff / 2 offices

Eton, Berkshire

1969

FCM Travel Solutions (inc. Corporate Traveller)

fcmtravel.co.uk

46% / 54%

570 staff / 20 UK offices (6,000 staff globally)

New Malden, Surrey

2004

fello.co.uk

25% / 75%

40 staff / 1 office

London

1995

Travel management company ABT-UK Access Bookings Ltd

American Express Global Business Travel

arrangeMy ATPI Baldwins Travel (BBTM) BCD Travel Beyond Business Travel Blue Cube Travel and Consultancy Ltd Business First Partnership Ltd Capita Travel and Events Clarity

CT Business Travel CWT DialAFlight Corporate Travel Diversity Travel

Fello

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Advantage / American Express GBT TPN

Advantage / Focus / GlobalStar


The 2020 Directory / TMCs

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Utilities

Telecomms

Transport

Technology

Touring

Sports

Retail

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Recruitment

Professional services

Public sector

Pharmaceutical

Oil/Gas

NGOs

Media

Marine

Logistics

Manufacturing

Legal

Insurance

Health/Medical

General SMEs

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Entertainment/TV/Film

Finance

Energy

Defence

Creative

Construction/Engineering

Charity

Advertising

Academic/Education

Business sectors in which clients operate or the TMC specialises in

Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual figures quoted refer to a TMC's most recent financial or calendar year and to UK corporate business only unless stated otherwise. *inc. Altour, Pro Travel, Tzell & Colletts Travel

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TMCs / The 2021 Directory

TMCs 2021: Who does what

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

Travel management company

Website

Online / Offline

Company size

Head office

Established

Alliance membership

Flightline Travel Management

flightline-travel.co.uk

18% / 82%

8 staff / 1 office

Haddenham, Bucks

1999

Advantage / Focus

globaltravelcollection.com

5% / 95%

55 full-time staff in 5 offices 100+ independent travel advisors

London

2006

Advantage / Virtuoso / Select

gtm.uk.com

25% / 75%

18 staff / 1 office

Woking, Surrey

1997

Advantage / Focus

good-travel.co.uk

30% / 70%

28 staff / 1 office

Kingston Upon Hull

1833

Advantage / Altour

gdg.travel

57% / 43%

200 staff / 4 offices

Colchester, Essex

1865

Advantage / Radius Travel

harridgebusiness.com

1% / 99%

13 staff / 1 office

London

1983

Advantage / Focus

inntel.co.uk

75% / 25%

80 staff / 1 office

Colchester, Essex

1984

Advantage / Focus / Radius Travel

keytravel.com

67% / 33%

140 staff in 9 countries

London

1980

Advantage / CCRA in U.S

meonvalleytravel.com

50% / 50%

60 staff / 1 office

Petersfield, Hampshire

2002

Advantage / Focus

midas-travel.com

15% / 85%

25 staff / 1 office

London

1998

Advantage / Focus

noradtravelgroup.com

12% / 88%

39 staff / 1 office

Liss, Hampshire

1981

Advantage / Focus

omegabusinesstravel.com

10% / 90%

12 staff / 1 office (before being acquired)

Hersham, Surrey

1982

Advantage / Focus

omegaworld.co.uk

60% / 40%

22 staff UK + 300 in 30 U.S. locations

London

1972

Advantage / Focus / GlobalStar

quintessentiallyctm.com

20% / 80%

26 staff / 2 offices +3 offices globally

London

1971

Advantage / Focus

Reed & Mackay (inc. Business Travel Direct)

reedmackay.com

34% / 66%

Not disclosed

London

1962

Advantage / R&M Intl Partnership

Review Travel Limited

reviewtravel.co.uk

50% / 50%

10 staff / 1 office

Cheshire

1982

Advantage / Focus

Selective Travel Management

selective-travel.com

25% / 75%

65 staff in Belfast & Dublin

Belfast

1974

Advantage

Simplexity Travel Management Limited

simplexitytravel.com

5% / 95%

13 staff / 1 office

London

2011

Advantage / Focus /Virtuoso

Sunways Business Travel

sunwaystravel.co.uk

10% / 90%

14 staff / 1 office

Longfield, Kent

1973

Advantage / Focus

tag-group.com

4% / 96%

186 UK staff + 354 staff globally

London

1988

Advantage / Virtuoso

trailfinders.com/corporate

100% offline

1,100 staff / 39 offices

London

1970

business.travelcounsellors.com

100% offline

250 Corp. Counsellors in 7 countries

Manchester

1994

Traveleads

traveleads.co.uk

20% / 80%

63 staff / 4 offices

Leeds

1971

Advantage / Focus

Wayte Travel Management

waytetravel.co.uk

100% offline

30 staff / 3 offices

London

1903

Advantage / Focus

www.westendtravel.co.uk

100% offline

18 staff / 2 offices

London

1972

Wexas Travel Management

wexastravelmanagement.co.uk

35% / 65%

45 staff / 2 offices

London

1970

Advantage

Wings Travel Management

wings.travel

15% / 85%

80 staff / 2 offices + offices worldwide

London

1993

Advantage

Global Travel Collection UK (GTC UK) Global Travel Management Ltd Good Travel Management Gray Dawes Group (inc. Amber Road) Harridge Business Travel Inntel Limited Key Travel Meon Valley Business Travel Limited MIDAS Travel Management Norad Travel Limited Omega Business Travel (Traveleads) Omega World Travel QCTM

TAG Trailfinders Corporate Travel Travel Counsellors for Business

West End Travel Ltd

16

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


The 2020 Directory / TMCs

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Telecomms

Technology

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Utilities

Sports

Retail

Recruitment

Public sector

Pharmaceutical

Oil/Gas

Professional services

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NGOs

Transport

Media

Marine

Manufacturing

Logistics

Legal

Touring

Insurance

Entertainment/TV/Film

Energy

Health/Medical

General SMEs

Finance

Defence

Creative

Construction/Engineering

Advertising

Charity

Academic/Education

Business sectors in which clients operate or the TMC specialises in

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Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual figures quoted refer to a TMC's most recent financial or calendar year and to UK corporate business only unless stated otherwise. *inc. Altour, Pro Travel, Tzell & Colletts Travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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TMCs / Fees

BREAKING point After exposing the fragility of the TMC business model, will the Covid crisis serve as a catalyst for change? Bev Fearis investigates

18

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Fees / TMCs

U

nderlying health conditions. It’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again in the pandemic and, according to Chris Crowley, Partner at consultants Nina & Pinta, it’s one that can also be applied to the TMC business model. The trouble with underlying health conditions is that they often build up slowly over time and can be difficult to shake-off. They can lie dormant, just about manageable, but then along comes a trigger that exposes the weakness, and…bang. To its credit, the TMC community was already aware of its vulnerabilities before Covid came along. “Whilst the pandemic has been a further catalyst to this situation, the need for a change to TMC pricing has been evident for years,” says a White Paper published by the BTA last October. Produced in conjunction with Nina & Pinta, the paper shaped an eight-week consultation with TMCs, suppliers, tech companies and travel buyers that was initially planned for later this year but was pushed forward because of the devastating impact of the

coronavirus. The result is a 14-page document, released in January, which attempts to establish clearer guidelines on the three predominant pricing models – transaction fees, subscription fees and management fees – in the hope that a new ‘2020s’ approach to pricing will be adopted and make everything better.

Medical history

To understand the root of the sector’s underlying health problems, we need to go back to the roaring nineties, a time when the acronym TMC hadn’t yet been invented and when the BTA was called the GBTA (before it became the GTMC), and a time when GBTA didn’t stand for ‘Global Business Travel Association’ but instead for ‘Guild of Business Travel Agents’. Business travel agents – remember those? In those heady days, business travel agents relied purely on suppliers for their income, in the form of commissions, incentives, overrides, or rebates, which were sometimes shared with corporate clients and were part of highly-complex deals shrouded in secrecy. But with the arrival of the internet, suppliers began to find cheaper ways to distribute their products and from the mid1990s commissions began to be capped and then scrapped altogether. This prompted the emergence of transaction fees and, for the first time, saw agents rely on their corporate clients for part of their income stream. Then came the 9/11 terror attacks, which brought duty of care to the forefront and made corporates realise they needed traveller tracking, management reporting, and a whole host of other services, prompting business travel agents to invest sizeable sums in technology to meet the new requirements and, effectively, evolve from agents to TMCs.

Critical period

Fast forward to the beginning of 2020 and the TMC business model remained split, typically with around two-thirds still coming from suppliers (in various complex guises) and a third of income supplied by corporates in the form of fees. Transaction fees, in the UK at least, accounted for around 80% of contracts: roughly 15% were management fees and the remainder a mix of the other – bundled, menu, open source, enterprise, mobile, and

others, plus one in particular that was gaining traction – the subscription fee. Then Covid-19 brought travel grinding to a halt and TMCs were left frantically dealing with repatriations, cancellations, refunds and policy overhauls, but with almost zero bookings. The flaws of the transaction fee model, already under scrutiny, were well and truly exposed.

The remedy

The sharp business travel downturn has demonstrated, beyond doubt, the unsustainability of the TMC business model and the need for TMCs to find new ways to package and price their services. The BTA’s White Paper acknowledges that “people only place a value on what they pay for and when all corporates perceive they are paying for is the booking process that is all they really value”. Instead, says BTA CEO Clive Wratten, there should be “strategic partnerships which recognise that the value a TMC offers goes far beyond delivering everyday transactions. "It’s one that encompasses knowledge and expertise which enables them to help corporates deliver a duty of care to their travelling employees – something that’s more important than ever in this new Covid era”. With the crisis wounds still fresh, there’s been a more frank and open dialogue from both sides and a better understanding of what’s required going forward. "There's definitely an appetite (from both sides)," says Nina & Pinta's Jo Lloyd. "The vision of the solution might be different but both sides see transaction fees aren't helpful." Crowley believes the shift requires "more backbone" from the TMCs. "They need to be more forthright and tell buyers – either you want me to manage costs, or if all you want is to buy a commodity this is what it costs and stop asking me what salaries I pay my staff." In order to simplify the options, the BTA guide likens the three main fee models to mobile phone contracts. Transactions fees are, it says, like a pay as you go contract with central costs being the handset charge. Subscription fees are like a mobile phone contract with minutes, texts and bolt-on services included in a monthly fee. Meanwhile, management fees are like an enterprise mobile phone contract where an organisation purchases phones and plans for all of its employees. 

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TMCs / Fees

 The BTA guide also tell corporates – and this is where it gets tricky – to provide their best estimates of spend, travel patterns, preferred agreements and transactions. "Everyone understands it's not an exact science at the moment. It's a best guest of how travel will come back, but corporates need to provide parameters," says Lloyd. In order to find the right match, the guide says corporate customers should aim to be as transparent as possible about the services they require and what value they are looking for in their travel programme. After all, some

With the crisis wounds still fresh, there's been a more frank and open dialogue from both sides and a better understanding of what's required going forward”

will want a simple transactional service with no traveller tracking, reporting or account management whilst others will be looking for a full suite of services. The answer for some could lie in the emergence of a new type of fee being thrown into the mix – a hybrid of transaction and subscription, which will see corporates paying a fee to cover the basics and then pay extra for any additional services they require, plus a smaller transaction fee on top. This new kid on the block is yet to be officially named but for now the term 'transcription fee' is being banded about. Watch this space.

The BTA’s guiding principles to help corporates select the best pricing model for their business CONSIDERATION

TRANSACTION FEE

SUBSCRIPTION FEE

Your business is very transactional in nature (there and back trips)

You have a high online adoption rate for your bookings

MANAGEMENT FEE

Your teams organise a lot of complicated or multi-sector trips that require a lot of support

Your travellers book the different components of a trip (air, hotel, car) at different stages or use a lot of other services like

concierge, ground transportation or re-shopping You have clear pre-trip approval processes

Each department pays for its own travel

Your travellers pay using individual corporate cards

You use a central lodged card (BTA or CTA) or invoice to pay for your bookings

You pay for your TMC costs as a central function within your business

You have a high proportion of regular travellers within your traveller database

You are an enterprise customer and/or have dedicated teams for your TMC that services your travel requirements. (Note: the TMC can fulfil all other aspects of the services as well but a management fee works best with a dedicated team) You encounter a lot of noise from the travellers within your business about paying TMC fees

You have a high proportion of central programme costs through additional services such as account management, online

travel managers, traveller tracking etc You are able to self-initialise an implementation (sign in and go) and do not require a TMC implementation team

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TMCs / Insight

NEW POINT OF FOCUS What you wanted from your TMC before might not be what you need now, says ATPI's John Nixon

T

he many challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic mean the role of travel management consultants is changing and new skill sets are required. Travel buyers need to know their TMC can deliver in some key areas that may have been less important pre-pandemic, particularly if an organisation’s travel destinations and type wasn’t traditionally categorised as risky. Areas of focus when assessing a TMC in this new normal should now include:

Traveller tracking tools

Knowing the location of all travellers at any one time is essential. Tools should also allow two-way messages so that travellers can check-in, receive important updates on a trip – including new restrictions that may be in place, and provide feedback on their experience. Plus, any traveller-tracking tool should integrate with traveller profile information so that status updates on health test results can be included. Your TMC should be able to advise you on how to ensure that travellers engage correctly with the tools, most importantly so that contact details are correctly provided and they can be contacted in an emergency.

24/7 support in the event of an emergency

Access to an on-call person isn’t enough. Check your TMC can provide seamless service 24/7 wherever in the world your people are. This should also include ensuring your TMC has partnerships with medical and security specialists who can arrange medical or emergency evacuations

22

from even the most hostile locations. Your chosen partner should have experience of arranging repatriation charters.

Approach to travel approvals

A comprehensive travel approvals system is going to play a more significant role in travel management than ever before. A TMC should be able to advise clients about the entire process and should help to establish a protocol for a ‘permission to travel’ policy. This policy cannot be linked to cost alone, and must integrate sign-off from HR, risk management, as well as finance teams. Focusing on addressing the permission process ensures traveller wellbeing is at the centre of all decisions, and saves time if only the roles and departments where travel is permitted have access to relevant systems.

Flexibility

Policies and processes need to be revised constantly, and therefore the technology tools that support them need to fit-forpurpose in an ever-changing world. Your relationship with your TMC should have some flexibility too, as travel volumes are likely to have peaks and troughs for some time. This means that other supporting services such as duty of care packages need to also be flexible and take into account a different approach to travel. A one-size-fits all approach will not be suitable, or cost conscious.

Good people

The far-reaching impact of the pandemic means travel and duty of care policies will include more planning for extreme scenarios than ever before. Innovative technology is an enabler of excellent service, but TMCs would be nowhere without brilliant people. Technology will continue to play an integral role, but the role of experienced and exceptional people with a robust understanding of not just the business travel sector, but the industries important to their clients, has never been so important.

JOHN NIXON John Nixon is Global Director of Operations for ATPI Group, which comprises ATPI Corporate Travel, Direct ATPI, ATPI Marine & Energy, ATPI Mining & Resources, ATPI Corporate Events and ATPI Sports Events. He joined in 2018.

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INSIGHT

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A lot is changing in business travel. But what won’t change is how we care for our customers.

Want to know how BCD is making a difference? Go to bcdtravel.com © 2021 BCD Travel. All rights reserved.

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The Business Travel Magazine - Travel Management Guide 2021  

The Business Travel Magazine - Travel Management Guide 2021

The Business Travel Magazine - Travel Management Guide 2021  

The Business Travel Magazine - Travel Management Guide 2021