By Bev Fearis, published 11/11/20
Despite Covid uncertainty, Corporate Traveller UK managed to win 42 new clients between July and October, with a combined annual pre-Covid spend of £18.7m.
The TMC, which specialises in managing travel for companies with an SME size annual travel spend of £50,000 to £2 million, said the wins were across diverse industry sectors and UK regions.
New clients include London publishing group Hachette UK; Aquaterra Energy, an offshore oil and gas engineering company headquartered in Norfolk; the University of Law in London; and Tyne & Wear-based GreCon Ltd, a provider of fire protection and industrial measurement systems.
In the technology sector new clients include CentralNic, a global domain and web services provider, and Investis Digital, a global digital communications and marketing company.
Notably half of the new clients requested to sign two-year contracts in order to meet heightened duty of care obligations amid the pandemic.
Corporate Traveller said this marks a major shift in its usual servicing model as one of the TMC’s key differentiators is that SME clients are not usually locked into any form of contract.
“Many of our customers are also now asking to sign contracts, so that they can feel reassured that they have the right duty of care measures in place because we are managing their entire travel programme in the longer term,” explained Andy Hegley, UK General Manager.
“Traveller safety and duty of care have become top priorities for companies as they start to resume business travel, as well as those who kept travelling throughout the crisis. This is particularly relevant for SMEs as they don’t have a dedicated ‘travel manager’ and the person who owns travel may have multiple responsibilities.
“Pre-Covid, companies may have been booking their own travel, or using an online TMC, but post-Covid, they need specialist advice and support from a dedicated travel consultant, as well as technology solutions such as traveller tracking.”
Corporate Traveller has also begun to see positive signs of corporate customers resuming travel.
It said air travel bookings for the period August to October were up by 36% against the previous three months and hotel transactions increased by 33% for the same period.
A third of clients who are resuming travel are in the manufacturing, technology and finance sectors.
Offline hotel bookings also increased from 32% in March to 59% in October, as customers are increasingly seeking advice from their consultant before making a booking.
Low-cost hotel bookings have dropped by 39% as clients are shifting towards booking higher end properties to ensure travellers have access to facilities such as on-site restaurants, room service and 24-reception facilities.