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SOURCING


T


HE WAY IN WHICH CORPORATES COMPILE their travel programmes is changing. Sourcing air, hotel and car rental content, traditionally undertaken through an


annual RFP, can take three months and cost thousands in lost productivity. No wonder corporates are looking at alternatives. Contemporary sourcing is dynamic, using real-time and predictive data for decision-making in partnerships between buyers and sellers, based on mutual trust and understanding. Business travellers’ needs have changed,


too. Programmes must satisfy baby- boomers, millennials and multi-screening Generation Z. Travel buyers are also taking notice of “social peer sourcing”. With global hotel rates predicted to rise by up to 3 per cent this year and air fares by up to 2 per cent, corporate thirst for value – and ways to realise that value – has never been greater. So, it’s time to find out what industry buyers, suppliers and intermediaries are saying – and thinking.


IN MOTION Gemma King, director of corporate Travel, EMEA APAC, at Omnicom Group, believes travel sourcing is becoming less proscriptive and more flexible. “The whole ethos on our programmes is changing,” she says. “We no longer use the unwieldy RFP process in our mature programmes because the carriers aren’t changing.” In their recent joint research, A New


Horizon in Hotel Sourcing, ACTE and HRS found that 51 per cent of travel managers who have changed their approach to hotel procurement in the last three years have saved money as a result. Meanwhile, 10 per cent of programmes have scrapped traditional hotel RFPs in favour of continuous sourcing and are benefiting from improved traveller compliance and satisfaction, financial savings of up to 14 per cent and increased flexibility. The mystery is why 42 per cent of


WORDS MARK HARRIS 144 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


travel managers remain unfamiliar with continuous sourcing. Chris Crowley, vice-president of EMEA at HRS, says: “API access, travel 3.0, more informed buyers and a new generation of travellers is changing the way people


are thinking. Technology stakeholders are disruptive, creative-thinking people untainted by traditional mindsets. There’s more data out there and more ways to aggregate and interpret that data to enable informed choices to be made.” Investment bank and financial services company UBS has recently changed its approach to sourcing, as Kevin Carr, group corporate services, global travel management, explains: “UBS sourcing has been relatively traditional, in-sourcing an annual RFP for our hotel programme. We realised that’s no longer relevant and decided to introduce more two-year agreements and to make our programme more flexible, so it can be changed or renegotiated at any time.”


WHAT ABOUT AVIATION? Daniel Cadeau, who is responsible for UBS’s air programme, says he does not accept that continuous sourcing works only in hotels – but believes wholesale corporate adoption of continuous or dynamic sourcing in his segment may be a while off.


Cadeau predicts that NDC will bring multiple levels of change to sourcing, “so we need to balance the benefits to the supplier with benefits to the buyer. As a buyer I am


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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