Group announces major recruitment drive
The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has scrapped its £7,000 joining fee as it prepares to embark on a major recruitment drive.
In the last two years the organisation has invested heavily in boosting its profile as a credible political lobbying force, claiming to have made concrete inroads into both the current Labour administration and the Conservative opposition.
But newly appointed chairman Michael Hare told members, partners and guests at the GTMC's AGM that the group would need to represent at least the top 50 travel management companies in the UK if it is to be regarded by civil servants and politicians as the "natural beacon" of the business travel sector.
He said efforts to entice new TMCs would kick-off properly at next month's Business Travel and Meetings Show at Earls Court in London.
The decision to abolish the joining fee came after an independent review of the GTMC recommended changes to the structure of membership.
Incumbent members have agreed to increase their own annual dues over a three-year period, bringing them into line with a £5,000 annual fee payable by new recruits.
From April the associate membership status for suppliers will be scrapped. According to office bearers the current associates were already in talks with the GTMC about upgrading to the remaining partner status of supplier membership.
The cost of partner status has also been modified in order to bring more value to participants. Hotel group Jumeirah - which hosted the GTMC's annual conference last year in Dubai - announced it was withdrawing from the organisation altogether at the turn of the year.
But an optimistic Hare said the changes were designed to help the GTMC "survive and thrive in the uncertain period ahead", and revealed the theme of his two-year tenure would be "We Mean Business".
"No two-year period has ever seen as many [economic] changes," he said.
"The next five years will, in all probability, be the toughest times many of us will ever have had to face - in every facet of our professional and personal lives.
"The only way we can show we mean business is to be the true voice of the industry for travel management companies - and the suppliers and partners to this sector."