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As a Travel Management Company (TMC) it can be challenging to pinpoint exactly what value travel managers are looking for in your services.

FCM Travel Solutions, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, teamed up with the African Business Travel Association (ABTA) to find the answer to the question that is keeping TMCs up at night.

Their research shows that Cost Savings is considered the most important value-add South African companies look for from TMC. An astonishing 90% of travel managers rated savings as ‘very important’.

Other areas where travel managers would like to receive more value from their TMC are ‘Service and Support’ with 85% of respondents citing this as very important, followed by Data Collection (81%), Data Interpretation (81%) and Technological Innovation (71%). Surprisingly, only 67% of travel buyers who participated, rated Duty of Care ‘very important’.

Nicole Adonis, FCM Travel Solutions General Manager

“Even though South Africa’s GDP grew more than expected in the second quarter, and it looks like we have dodged a recession, the economy remains under pressure. It’s not surprising to see savings remain an important focus for local companies and enterprises,” commented Nicole Adonis, FCM Travel Solutions General Manager.

With this cost sensitivity in mind, the survey delved further into identifying areas of wastage in travel programmes, with 57% of respondents citing change fees due to bad planning as the biggest money waster for corporate travel. Last-minute bookings followed closely, highlighted by 52% of travel buyers in South Africa as wasted spend.

Out-of-policy bookings cause ‘some wastage’, according to travel managers, as well as unnecessary travel expenses, including upgrades and luggage fees. However, most respondents feel that they have the right relationships with suppliers to eliminate wastage with 52% saying poor relations with suppliers causes wastage. Hidden TMC fees or ancillaries are also not seen as a source of wastage, the results show.

“It is encouraging to see that TMC fees are no longer a source of concern for travel managers,” says Adonis. “Historically, the relationship was transactional, and the emphasis was on shaving a few cents off the cost of the flight, hotel or transfers. However, a TMC like FCM Travel Solutions adds value beyond just the transaction fee. Our role is to look at the bigger picture and create efficiencies that are right for each enterprise, their travellers and travel managers. The expertise of our travel experts, coupled with advanced data technology help track and analyse prices, understand your business and current trends, flag frequent travellers subject to traveller friction, monitor changes in pricing and build an optimum cost strategy to optimise your travel programme.”