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TRAVELLER BEHAVIOUR


ROGUES IN FASHION: A BUYER SPILLS THE BEANS


“I’m very fortunate at my current company that my travellers are good corporate citizens and both volumes and average costs have reduced in my year here, but I have some top tips on dealing with mavericks based on some I’ve dealt with in the past (who didn’t remain rogues, or indeed employed, for very long):


Don’t get too excited


about sitting front row at an overseas fashion show on the company dime, if it’s totally unre- lated to your role, as the company boss might sit directly opposite you.


If you work very hard


to get approval for an unusually lengthy trip to a destination where we have no presence or customers, it’s a bad idea to share photos of yourself sightseeing all over social media.


Believe your travel


manager when they explain that JetBlue New York-Virgin Islands will have plenty of hold room for luggage, and is the most time-efficient and cost-effective route to your destination. If you insist on charter from St Maarten, you will discover that it is, in fact, the vomit-inducing pud- dle-jumper he described, and not the private jet you imagine, with space for either the crew or their equipment and not both, meaning two return trips at double the price, pushing the costs way over budget.”


90 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


THE CASE: Repetitive cancellation syndrome OUR TRAVEL DOCTOR: Jodie Edwards-Locke, managing director UK, TAG


THE PATIENT: An irate travelling executive called our TMC’s out-of-hours service, frustrated that she had been booked on the wrong train. At the time of calling she was extremely dissatisfied, with little tolerance, and demanded another booking, instantly, for the next train. The issue was that we don’t use


the TMC she was calling to book rail tickets, but another company. So the TMC could not find the original booking anywhere, of course. However, the traveller had little


patience for the mix-up. She just wanted the issue fixed. We’re all human and mistakes happen from time to time. It doesn’t matter who it is – the rail booker, the TMC or the travel manager. It costs us in the end with the use of the out-of-hours service and the extra rail ticketing via the TMC. We didn’t have time at that late hour to go back through the original supplier – the rail provider.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


THE CASE: Hard pressed in Hong Kong: the high cost of treatment


OUR TRAVEL DOCTOR: Ken McLeod, director for industry affairs, Advantage Travel Partnership


THE PATIENT: Mavericks come in all shapes and sizes, but the most outrageous request I’ve had to deal with was from an executive traveller calling from a five-star hotel in Hong Kong. He wanted his trousers pressed, so instead of dialling the in-house service because the price was too high, he called the 24-hour, international TMC helpline instead. He wanted us to arrange for someone to pick up his laundry and return it to him duly pressed and ready for use. He was clearly oblivious of the fact that we were billing his company for this service and it probably cost three times the amount compared to the hotel service.


THE DIAGNOSIS: The request was dealt with politely, we talked to the hotel manager and arranged for the hotel to handle it free of charge. We had leverage since we were booking the hotel on numerous occasions. It was eventually brought up at the review meeting with the company and used to show them ways to save money, rather than rebuke this maverick. If TMCs are going to continue to thrive in this personalised world they’re going to have to provide more concierge- type services anyway, but as long as everyone’s aware of the costs.


THE DIAGNOSIS: The TMC was called in, everything had to be explained to our accounting department and why a new rail invoice had to be issued. The good thing was that the TMC wasn’t defensive. The key thing here is for there not to be a culture of blame. Resolution is crucial; so is professionalism.


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