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INDEPENDENT AGENTS' CONSORTIUM Advantage Travel Centres claims Britain's smaller businesses are, between them, "wasting" £175 million a year by making their own travel arrangements.
Advantage reckons there are 235,000 small companies in the UK, with five or more employees, spending around a total of £700 million a year on business trips. The consortium suggests that its travel management company members could save a quarter of that spend.
Below the five-employee mark, Advantage admits, TMC costs outweigh the savings. But Norman Gage, the group's director of business travel, said: "The current economic situation means businesses in all sectors will be looking to make savings as we go into 2009 and beyond. But it is a fact that many cannot avoid the necessary expenditure on travel - and that is where the expertise of a good business travel agency can be invaluable.
"It is absolutely crazy for companies not to manage their travel budget effectively. The level of wastage revealed in our calculations is simply astonishing. Any small business that is still letting its own staff book flights and hotels themselves on the internet needs to think again," he added.