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WORDS MAT THEW PARSONS


INSPIRE


TRAVEL BUYERQ&A


In 2015, Michael McSperrin was thrown in at the deep end – tasked with recruitment specialist Alexander Mann Solutions’ entire global travel programme. He now manages more than 10,000 transactions a year


How long have you been in your current position?


I joined Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) in 2010, managing recruitment teams for clients, including Deloitte. In 2013, I moved into facilities management and then took on indirect procurement. In 2015 I was tasked with the whole AMS global travel programme, just as we were implementing Egencia as our new global provider. I had to get up to speed – fast. At my first Business Travel Show in February 2016 I got a large dose of information and met more ex- perienced peers who had great ideas and advice. I’m from London, but now I’m based in Krakow, Poland.


What are the scale and scope of AMS’s travel requirements?


We have 4,000+ employees globally, based in EMEA, Americas and APAC. Of those, 1,500 travel for work each year, with more than 10,000 transactions. Our top destinations are a mix between those who travel to our Global Client Service Centres (GCSCs) or to our clients. The majority of travel is in EMEA, where we have the highest proportion of staff and also have four of our GCSCs.


What are the key elements of your travel policy? While we have a traditional-style policy, to make it easier,


we created five golden rules that help us get the key messages across. These include booking in advance and online, being flexible and making sure they book through our provider. The policy itself is communicated via regular email updates and reporting, and via intranet. We have our own travel Q&A chatbot, called TRAVIS.


Michael McSperrin


Global head of facilities and support services, Alexander Mann Solutions


Alexander Mann Solutions works with corporate clients across multiple sectors to help attract, engage and retain world-class talent. The company has more than 100 blue-chip client companies. Michael has been shortlisted in the Travel Buyer of the Year category for the Business Travel Awards 2019.


What are your biggest challenges, and what is the “next big thing”?


Our current challenge is finding new ways to improve and develop a mature programme. With compliance and online adoption in the region of 90 per cent, we are looking at things like TRAVIS to help maintain that. The next big thing will be more automation and taking business travel to a more personal level for the traveller. With more products moving to mobile platforms, AI will be more prevalent and help put the traveller more in control.


If you could change one aspect of the travel management sector, what would that be?


I would love to see pricing for hotels and airlines simplified. Quite often a traveller will find a cheaper price for a ticket or room than they are seeing via our provider. It’s only when you dig into it that you can see they are not comparing apples with apples.


How do you relax outside work?


My wife owns her own cafe so I help her, as well as supporting Queens Park Rangers from afar and walking our dog!


buyingbusinesstravel.com 2019 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 49


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