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17 October 2016 , 11:38 am

Why you need a merchandising strategy for your managed travel program

Staying in contact with your business traveller at various stages of the journey is the difference between good and great service. Whether it’s knowing that your corporate traveller’s preference is for a hotel room in front of the ice machine, (yes, that may be the case!) or the ability to easily change their flight seats at the last minute, personalisation can vastly help improve the corporate travel experience.

Even if travel management companies (TMCs) do not (yet?) offer personalised services to that degree, there is a huge range of services a traveller does want and is a willing buyer if only someone would offer relevant services at the right time. As such, there’s an amazing business opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of when it comes to personalisation and merchandising in managed travel.

Servicing the needs of the corporation does not mean that you cannot service the needs of the corporate traveller. Balance is key and this is where TMCs can play an important role as a trusted advisor to both. Contrary to some naysayers, an effective merchandising strategy can help better control costs while at the same time providing corporate travellers with the unique services that differentiate levels of service. TMCs that understand the needs of the traveller and who are able to action this will lead the way in personalised managed travel.

Some TMCs have started to test the waters when it comes to making merchandising part of their offer, but very few have actually jumped in the deep end. I recommend that you test the waters, because you never know, you may just discover a whole new sea to swim in.

I invite you to have a look at our video series on Personalisation & Merchandising in which Gianni Pisanello and myself from Amadeus as well as Igor Marchal from Egencia look at how the industry has changed, how each key player fits in, and most importantly, how TMCs can provide personalised services to their travellers, while reaping the benefits of the merchandising opportunity.

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This post was written by Arlene Coyle

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