African Business Travel Association
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Are travel buyers finding TMC fees too expensive? This and many other topics were discussed at the annual African Business Travel Association Conference (ABTA) in Rustenburg, South Africa.

During the conference, ABTA and Carlson Wagonlit presented the results of a comprehensive annual corporate travel industry survey. “There is a clear gap when it comes to getting meaningful information about the travel industry. This is why we decided to conduct this study,” said Louis Van Zyl, CEO Carlson Wagonlit.

The study shows amongst others that although TMCs often think buyers find their fees expensive, this is in fact not the case.

Most (57%) of buyers say they feel the TMC fees are fair. Click To Tweet

“Buyers are saying that they are okay with the fees charged by TMCs, but the TMCs say they think their own fees are expensive,” said van Zyl.

Even if TMCs feel pressured to justify their fees, the survey showed that buyers are even ready to pay for additional services. Buyers are also generally satisfied with the service they receive from their TMC, with 62% of buyers saying the service levels are ‘good’.

The survey also showed there is a disparity between the way travellers and buyers view the company’s travel policy.

ABTA Founder Monique Swart said that 60% of buyers thought the company’s travel policy was flexible, with 40% saying it was rigid. The travellers, meanwhile, had a very different view, with only 38% saying the policy was flexible, and 62% saying it was too rigid.

Delegates agreed that more communication is needed around the travel policy. Van Zyl added: “We see a lot of travellers say they try and stay within policy. But it would be amazing if the travellers understood better that the rigidity is there for a reason.”

Said Swart: “There’s a disconnect here. Travel managers are increasingly doing surveys, but there’s more work to be done. There’s a need for a balance in the travel programme.”

“Finding your Balance” was also the theme for the ABTA Conference this year. Presentations and workshops around traveller friction, duty of care, technology, the RFP process and training in the travel industry.

Several industry training experts shared insights into the skills gaps that they are seeing in the industry, what global trends are, what training products can help to fill these gaps, and the overall value this will deliver.

Traveller friction and personalisation were also a much-debated topic. During an interactive session, delegates addressed how companies can strike the balance between ensuring traveller wellness while still keeping strong controls on their travel spend.



Amadeus was one of the sponsors at this very well-attended conference that saw delegates from the travel industry across Africa.