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ASK THE EXPERTS


WORDS CATHERINE CHETWYND


work against the interests of the customer in the marketplace. Do these comments apply to the heightened activity in the TMC sector, where other factors such as economies of scale, culture and areas also come into play? Our experts share their own interpretations…


NEWALLIANCES T


HE TRADITIONAL VIEW is that mergers and acquisitions can reduce competition, give some players undue amounts of clout and


Consolidation is not a bad thing. Pulling together huge TMCs can mean taking the best of both companies, so they will be more innovative. What some lack in certain areas – meetings & events, for example, they acquire. It’s a positive these companies can come to buyers collaboratively to offer enhanced services. I don’t think prices will rise because either you pay a management fee or nowadays, a transaction fee, so you pay for the services you want, whether that is high-touch or online booking tools, you pay for that regardless. Because Wood globally acquired


Amec Foster Wheeler, we’ve now got a lot of agencies, so we are consolidating our programme and we are doing that with American Express GBT which now has HRG, which, in turn, has good technology. We are also using consultants from the GBT side for some of the tenders


BBT asks a travel buyer, a consultant and a TMC about the ramifications of the mergers and acquisitions activity that was prevalent last year


RYAN TAYLOR, GLOBAL TRAVEL MANAGER, WOOD


we are running and HRG consultants for others; there is definitely a complement of strong knowledge of the industry and technology, which is a good thing. Whether you go to a TMC or an independent, there will be consultancy costs regardless of whether there are fewer TMCs. I would be interested to hear from buyers why they think there is going to be a lack of competition. Before the acquisitions, if you ran an RFI (request for information) and went to eight TMCs to get that down to four, you would only be negotiating on transaction fees or the consultancy services they can provide, so what is the difference? Even with fewer TMCs, if you get the fees down, it will have a knock-on effect on your service. I don’t see why my travel should cost more as a result of consolidation because I pay for the transactions it takes to run the programme.


56


JANUARY/FEBRUARY


2019


buyingbusinesstravel.com


THE BUYER


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