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SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZE ENTERPRISES


somebody’s time, billing becomes too com- plicated or they are using multiple sources so there is no trip continuity. Duty-of-care comes into it, too. Sometimes there is an incident and companies don’t know where their people are.” Roe says: “Staff are more conscious of the


risk of business travel and, if they happen to be in a country where something is going off, they want their employer to have something in place to take care of them.” “It might also be spend,” says Banks. “They


know they are spending a lot but have no management information to authenticate it.” Sarah Smith, who heads up Clarity Travel


Management’s Hub, a dedicated service for SMEs, says: “One of the main things SMEs are looking for is data consolidation. They want full visibility and want to know how they improve buying behaviour.” Even with one of the triggers above, one


of the biggest challenges for TMCs in getting an SME to move from an unmanaged envi- ronment to a more managed one is that they will now have to pay to book their business travel in the form of transaction fees.


DO SMEs GET IT? Regarding paying transaction fees, Norad Travel Management’s commercial director Bob Govan says: “Some get it, some do not; there’s still a regular need to explain our business model, and in so doing we clearly tie the true value of our fee to the M for management service aspects and benefits, rather than the T for travel [booking] in our industry nomenclature.” Andy Hegley, general manager of Corpo-


rate Traveller, the dedicated SME division of FCM, says: “The actual fee is a very small percentage of the total – less than 5 per cent of the travel spend – we provide reporting year-on-year and can show the value is there.” The company targets SMEs spending between £50k and £2 million on travel and has around 4,000 of these on its books, including 2,500 that travel on a regular


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


basis. “Within that spend category, we have dedicated account managers with blended technology called Your.CT. Some companies only require some profile management, but as they grow they need to track spend on their reports, which requires an online booking tool. Then we introduce FCM.” Clarity’s Sarah Smith adds: “If someone asks me why they should pay a fee, I show


“One of the main things SMEs are looking for is data consolidation”


Healthy


relationship


ESSENTIA, A SPECIALIST CONSULTANCY that helps public and private sector organisations maximise the value of their built assets, is typical of the nearly 6 million SMEs that drive the British economy.


Essentia is owned by Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust and comprises more than 70 experts covering healthcare planning, property, capital development, sustainability and technology. The company spends between £80k and £100k each year on business travel, mainly in the UK, visiting client sites and meeting potential new customers. “We also travel to the Middle East quite a bit as our services are in demand there. Doha has been the most popular of the overseas destinations recently,” says the company’s head of marketing John Hughes.


When the company first started in 2013, it did not use a TMC. “In the early days we used the internet and booked trips as we went along. It was OK when the business was small


but we have had rapid growth as a consultancy,” he says. Growth meant that the company needed help and it turned to Corporate Traveller, FCM’s specialist SME arm. “We were looking for a company that could support us when we needed help with getting the best value and often turning around some detailed travel plans under pressure. We also wanted to work with a professional company that would add value by suggesting other options that might save us money and time in the long run,” says Hughes.


BBT July/August 2018 53


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