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SOURCING


is issued by suppliers, and buyers talking about the goals of the review, which helps to inform the process, irrespective of whether the requirement is global, regional or local. “The result is a better understanding of what the RFP needs to achieve, how suppliers can provide solutions, and any emerging, often unseen, opportunities and risks. Car rental is embracing a much wider range of mobility services. Organisations that have not put out an RFP for four or more years might not be aware of what rental car businesses can now deliver, and how they can integrate with other providers to deliver a far better end-to-end experience for business travellers.” ANA’s Murphy says she would be


disappointed if one of her team could not understand what is happening in a client’s programme. “What is important is understanding how the buyer is buying,” she notes. “Professional integrity is also key to relationship. If a buyer is pro-active in selling their programme, that helps our understanding and ability to put forward best proposals.” Meanwhile, Leigh Cowlishaw, director


of proposition, Capita Travel and Events, believes the balance of power between buyer and supplier has shifted. “In the past, corporates could dictate their pricing. It is now more challenging in key locations on certain days of the week, so we aim to support our customers’ objective in terms of savings and availability. Brexit uncertainty is also making it harder for corporates to commit to certain volumes. “We are seeing less of a single focus on cost and more around productivity, traveller satisfaction and common-sense factors,” she says. “It is no longer good enough to simply focus on room night volume in specific


locations. Instead we help our clients make their proposition more attractive in terms of length of stay, shoulder nights, F&B spend and overall value.” “Our company is not as brand-dependent as it used to be,” says Omnicom’s King. “Suppliers’ creativity and experience are essential. We work with hotel representation companies so that we get consistency in style and delivery to travellers.” For UBS’s Carr, commitment to the relationship is essential. “We have to make sure there is a good fit and that the two parties are mutually compatible. There’s lots of choice out there so we must be careful. Two-way success requires both parties to deliver.”


ROLE OF THE INTERMEDIARY So what role will the TMC play in this new world of business travel sourcing? King believes larger corporates need more from their TMCs. “I expect my TMC to know more about the hotels on our programme,” she says. “The role of TMCs in sourcing decisions will increase over the next few years because their ability to plug into critical content is very important. The key thing is knowing what’s coming and what we need to do about that now.” Looking ahead, continuous sourcing will provide travel managers with the opportunity to interact with a wider cross- section of the business travel supply chain but leaves them facing a bewildering array of technology services and products. The opportunities for TMCs around new thinking in sourcing are exciting, too, provided TMCs have a clear technology strategy, know what their core business is and avoid trying to be too many things to too many people.


SOCIAL PEER SOURCING: BRAND LOYALTY AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE “We are in a one hub location, with


Social peer sourcing is an emerging procurement method that recognises how a traveller’s loyalty can shift from hotel brands preferred by their employers to brands preferred by their social networks. “Social peer sourcing means finding


the right experience through your social media networks,” says Gemma King, director of corporate Travel, EMEA APAC, at Omnicom Group.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


5,000 people, so it’s easier to share information. As well as getting lots of feedback from our agencies about the programme, we are also kept up to date with upcoming product launches and so on, so we can make sure our accommodation is the right fit.” The importance of smarter


communication with travellers is echoed by Leigh Cowlishaw, director


WHAT IS


IMPORTANT IS UNDERSTANDING HOW THE BUYER IS BUYING


of travel managers remain unfamiliar with continuous sourcing


42% SOURCE: ACTE/HRS


of proposition, Capita Travel and Events. “Social peer reviews are driven by a younger mindset, so TMCs need to know their supply chains inside out. “Loyalty points will become


outweighed by the brand experience, while buyers, suppliers and intermediaries will need to look at the level of personalisation in their programmes rather than freebies.”


2019 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 147


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