Business Travel iQ shares tips from Andreas Wellauer of Galiant Consulting who gave some advice during a masterclass on Adding Asia to Your Travel Programme at the Pre-Business Travel Show Hosted Buyer Conference.
1. Any successful integration of this region into a managed travel programme needs to take account of intangibles (history, culture, language) and tangibles (TMC, air, hotel, ground). Andreas stressed that taking travel solutions that worked in other regions and transplanting them to Asia would not result in a successful integration. Many factors in the different countries would lead to different conclusions about what comprises successful processes and ways to approach elements of a travel programme.
2. Understanding business culture is necessary for successful contract negotiation. It is important to understand the different nuances of such factors as hierarchy, attitudes to work and punctuality, gestures, age and business etiquette to achieve successful contracts.
3. In Asia it's "service, service, service". High service levels are expected in Asia and are more often than not the most important factor in decision-making.
4. Online booking tools don't make financial sense in all of the countries of the Asia Pacific region. In some countries labour is cheap so offline transaction fees are inexpensive and boarding passes might be hand-delivered. But an online tool is likely to be a preferred option in Australia and New Zealand.
5. A global programme will still require local knowledge. Multinational travel management companies can successfully be used across the region because they will all have local partners. That partner will have local relationships, understand the culture and service expectations and might work with more than one of the global TMCs.
6. Using national carriers is much more the norm in Asia. Significant air volume is the prerequisite to any air negotiation in the region unlike other regions where strategic reasons such as market share might come into play. Loyalty is important in many of the area's cultures so corporate programmes are much more likely to use the home carrier.
7. Travellers expect luxury hotels. Five-star hotels are expected for business travellers in the region and there is a wide gap between the luxury level and the lower levels of accommodation. Real volume is needed for corporate negotiations. Using the TMC's rates is likely to be the best alternative.
8. Car rental is not an element in travel programmes. Self-drive is not practised by visiting business travellers.
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Download Andreas' presentation