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SME SECTOR


THERE ARE RARELY TRAVEL CATEGORY


SPECIALISTS IN SMALLER COMPANIES. IT CAN BE THE OWNER OR A SENIOR MANAGER THAT WILL LOOK AFTER TRAVEL


“There is actually an opportunity cost of


booking travel DIY. If someone in senior management is booking travel, then they’re not running the company or bringing in new business. Is that really time well spent?”


STEP BY STEP In recent years, travel management has become more flexible in what it offers SMEs. Smaller companies can buy in modules, whether it’s air, hotel or rail. Costs rise only as service levels increase. In many ways it’s about finding the right level of service. The larger a company is, the more cost savings it can show. Yet with small organisations it’s more about the benefits that managed travel brings to the picture. “We all appreciate travel is a significant cost to manage, so we make sure we’re aligned in how much time we take up and what areas we need to work on with our


TMC,” says David Oliver, procurement manager at Red Bull. “You also have to do the work to ensure you find a good fit for your programme and the TMC’s services. We don’t need a massive back office of experts in international travel as most of ours is UK or basic European trips. We’ve now found the right balance, but five years ago we were with the wrong kind of TMC for our needs, so costs were consumed by services we didn’t require.”


Another thing that smaller companies do want is something personal and personalised, not being pushed out to a big call centre, so working with someone you can trust is a big part of this picture too. “Our job is to demystify all that travel jargon for people, simplify the process and make all that travel


COVERYS: DUTY-OF-CARE CRUCIAL FOR INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS


Coverys is a medium-sized company specialising in medical professional liability insurance. It has around 700 employees and sends some 270 insurance executives out of the office between one and three times a month. Since the company is in the insurance profession, duty-of-care is a big issue. It has brought in a managed travel programme over time, but its policy is flexible. “The key to success is to rely on a great


network of travel professionals I’ve built up over the years since I am on my own,“ explains Ariel Crohn, travel manager at Coverys. “If I want to get a neutral


58 JULY/AUGUST 2019


perspective on a contract, an airline or a booking tool, I know who to call. It’s crucial and that’s why I am also active with the GBTA as well.” Because the company isn’t big, Crohn


works closely with the chief executive and chief operations officer in order to make the programme work. “Having a direct line to the C-suite is imperative. All managers need a stakeholder internally to work with, so they get buy-in from management,” she explains. Coverys has a high adoption rate for


the travel policy it has introduced. Crohn puts this down to the fact that she’s


buyingbusinesstravel.com


hands on and gets on the case of anyone who books out of policy. The company uses a TMC, Travel and Transport Statesman, but it’s not a big account. “We still expect personal service, though. Because we’re risk averse, it’s good to use a TMC, because it deals with the duty-of-care issues for executive travellers better than I can on my own,“ states Crohn.


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