June 15, 2024

Buyers report record leakage and pressure from all sides

A task force initially set up to discuss the future role of the travel manager will meet this week with a new, more urgent focus.

The ITM group has switched its agenda in a bid to help members deal with “the stark reality” of their current day-to-day roles in light of growing pressures relating to supply chain disruption and service issues.

Travel managers are reporting record amounts of leakage and out-of-policy bookings and complain they are having to deal with unrealistic expectations from travellers, bookers and stakeholders.

Some buyers say they are even being questioned about the validity of their company’s travel programme and choice of suppliers.

A workshop entitled ‘Controlling the Controllables’ will be held on Thursday with expert insights from Louise Kilgannon of Festive Road.

She will lead a discussion on what buyers, travellers and bookers are experiencing and feeling, both internally and externally, the positive or negative impact of any current measures being taken, and identifying actions that buyers can take to manage organisational expectations.

Kerry Douglas, Head of Programme ITM, explained: “Our buyer members recognise that the industry is doing its very best to meet demand for travel that has returned with vigour, but the ecosystems, infrastructure, resource and service levels are just not able to meet the current business traveller’s needs.  There is a strong sense that the eco-system is struggling and for those returning to travel much of what they experience will be unrecognisable to pre-Covid days of smooth and simple business trips.

“Internally, for many buyers, stakeholders are becoming increasingly frustrated with service failures and patience is running out.  Travel managers are being pulled further and further into the operational challenges and being forced into a position of trying to defend the very basics of their travel programme and supply base which is a far reach from what they want to be doing in bringing strategic value to the company.”