Travel managers are urging TMCs and other suppliers to be more transparent over staff shortages in the face of ongoing servicing problems.
UK, EMEA and global travel managers at ITM’s recent Buyer Knowledge Exchange ITM say they need more open communication on operational issues, staffing limitations, plans for recruitment and timeframes for scaling up businesses.
While they acknowledge the industry has suffered an exodus of talent in the last few years, buyers are struggling to manage the expectations of their travellers and internal stakeholders.
Some buyers say their travellers are opting to book directly with airlines, hotels and car rental companies after becoming frustrated with TMC wait times, which is causing further issues around compliance and duty of care for these buyers.
Buyers working with their TMC on a management fee basis have been less impacted by servicing issues.
ITM is supporting its buyer member community with a ‘State of the Industry’ resource and communication templates to share internally with their bookers and travellers.
Kerry Douglas, ITM Head of Programme, said: “The overriding concern right now is how staff shortages across the TMC community and supply chain are impacting negatively on service levels.
“Whilst buyers are empathetic to the challenges that TMCs are facing, their internal stake holders are not so accepting of disappointing service.
“Buyers are facing a difficult task explaining to their bookers and travellers that staff shortages are an industry wide issue and that the travel experience in 2022 is still very different from that of 2019. That’s why our buyer members are asking their TMC and other suppliers to be transparent about the challenges they are facing, which positions they need to fill and progress in recruiting relevant staff.
“Buyers also need support with communications within their business to manage expectations of travellers and bookers. Hence we are developing a toolkit of resources to help our buyer members with this process.”