buyers believe a single travel management company is the best in class
in every country worldwide, or even in every country in one region. Yet
using just one TMC anyway for consistency of policy and service
delivery, and above all for consistency of data is tempting. One travel
buyer consortium believes it has found a way to square this particular
circle, among the greatest dilemmas multinational travel managers face.
answer, according to Copenhagen-based TravelpoolEurope, a consortium
that manages travel on behalf of 35 different companies with a combined
spend of 85 million euro across 30 countries, is to turn yourself into a
"virtual TMC" via an office identification furnished by a global
distribution system provider, said managing director Søren Schødt.
can work with any TMC as long as it is on Amadeus," Schødt said. "We
have our own central back-office systems. We can just pick another agent
and plug it into the same infrastructure."
The benefit, Schødt
said, is that "you have flexibility in choosing your local partner. If
something goes wrong with a TMC in a country, we can find a new one."
TPE has changed its TMC in recent times in France, Germany and the
United Kingdom. Among the TMCs it currently uses are BCD Travel, Omega
World Travel, Lufthansa City Center, FCM Travel Solutions and the
GlobalStar Travel Management network.
TPE's virtual travel agency
concept is made reality by the allocation of an office identification
from Amadeus. GDSs usually give these IDs to individual offices
belonging to their TMC customers. It is not the same as an International
Air Transport Association accreditation that allows an agency to issue
tickets. Instead, the office ID ensures a record of each reservation
fulfilled by an accredited TMC on behalf of TPE is sent to TPE as well.
data is captured centrally," said Schødt. "We have a mirror of every
booking we do globally. We maintain all our traveler profiles and make
them available across all TMCs working for us."
capture, according to Schødt, gives TPE a much clearer understanding of
spend, as well as higher standards of traveler tracking for security
purposes. "There are a lot more things we can do because we only have to
do them in one place, not with each TMC." One example he cited is
hooking all reservations up to a third-party automated system to claim
compensation from airlines for delays and cancellations under the
European Union's Regulation 261.
latest addition to TPE's centralized system has been a robotic quality
control system built by the travel technology provider Troovo. Although
TPE's TMCs locally carry out their own quality checks on bookings,
Schødt felt it important to add a layer of control. "TMCs are doing
quality control on their business. We are doing quality control on our
spend," he said. "It has been a big improvement. It has saved a lot of
Among the checks the Troovo robot carries out are ensuring
that relevant cost centers have been attached to reservations. Most
importantly, it verifies that anyone booking a trip ostensibly as an
employee of a TPE member company has a traveler profile to confirm they
are authorized to do so.
Next on the list are introduction of a fare and hotel rate assurance tool and virtual payments, Schødt said.
to Schødt, TPE’s combined spend has grown 30 percent year over year in
2019 thanks to new members. The lower TMC fees it negotiates through
collective bargaining and assuming many of the tasks normally performed
by TMCs are enough to fund TPE's activities and produce additional
savings for members. Other savings claimed by TPE include 5 percent to
22 percent in additional rebates through mutual negotiation with
airlines and hotels, and 10 percent to 24 percent in process savings.