Post-pandemic, TMCs are having to adjust to a very different marketplace. Drastically reduced corporate travel budgets, fewer trips, greater focus on traveller wellbeing over cost savings and more scrutiny on the merits of face-to-face meetings. Each is throwing up new challenges.
TMCs have been further distracted by the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions involving some of the biggest names in the industry. M&A activity may not be a new trend in travel management, but the combined pressures of Covid on revenues and changes in client demand requiring significant investment in technology is adding to the pressure.
Compounding that pressure is the poor performance that dogged many TMCs during the pandemic. Clients often found it hard to get refunds or to have problems resolved because not enough staff were available, including senior staff, at either TMC or supplier level to deal with issues as they arose.
Some predict that a third of TMCs will be in financial trouble; either not able to survive the pandemic or not able to make the investment required to manage post-pandemic protocols. The post-pandemic TMC landscape looks like unchartered territory, which is why your TMC may not be as focused as it should be.
One of the biggest challenges facing TMCs is staffing. According to a February 2021 study, 83% of travel suppliers and TMCs laid off staff and 74% furloughed employees during the lockdown.
As a result, a huge amount of talent has left the industry, from reservations consultants to senior management and the ‘art’ of business travel – managing complex travel and providing great service – is in danger of being lost forever. Some have found employment - and greater job security - in other sectors and are unlikely to return. Others have found the better work/life balance of home working preferable to office life.
Consequently, as business travel resumes, a skills gap is emerging. To replace the lost generation of talent, TMCs are scrambling to attract and train new talent, whilst persuading staff who have been working from home for the last 18 months to return to the office.
This talent shortage means that travel buyers (and travellers) are finding a very different TMC partner to the one they worked with pre-pandemic, one who may not know their client anymore or understand what their needs are. They must establish new relationships, trying to replicate knowledge and understanding gathered over many years of collaborative working.
In larger TMCs, relocations and continuation of furlough may mean some management staff are only available one or two days a week, whilst service levels suffer as resource is ramped back up.
There is some good news though. There is a new TMC on the block that is fully focussed on the new business travel landscape and is not shackled by short-term thinking or the Covid hangover that other TMCs are wading through.
A New Different
TakeTwo has been created to manage travel for companies and individuals for whom travel is mission-critical and who need the personal touch.
Chris Thelen and Julie Cope have enviable reputations for dedication to their clients, innovative travel management solutions and a highly flexible approach and they’re ready to meet the new expectation of travel managers and business travellers alike.
Chris and Julie were the driving forces behind the multi award-winning Chambers Travel. Now, they’re back and have assembled the finest, best-qualified team of specialists – cherry-picking the top tier from the talent that flooded the market when established TMCs shed their staff.
However tough the assignment or complicated your needs, the TakeTwo team has been making the complex simple for over thirty years. In fact, we do the complicated particularly well.