Stake­holder Man­age­ment... help!

Travel Daily - - News - Tony O’Con­nor is the MD of But­ler Caroye, Joint-CEO of Airocheck, and Di­rec­tor of the GBTA in Aus­tralia and NZ.

PRO­CURE­MENT and Sup­ply Aus­tralia’s MD, Nigel Wardrop­per, told me stake­holder man­age­ment is con­sis­tently the top of buy­ers’ big­gest con­cerns.

Pro­cure­ment man­agers, and even CPOs, have trou­ble get­ting “buy-in” and ac­cep­tance of the sup­plier deals and pro­cesses that they put in place for the ben­e­fit of the com­pany.

This is cer­tainly the case for travel man­age­ment.

Travel is a con­tentious and sen­si­tive thing in­side many com­pa­nies. Nearly ev­ery­body ex­pects a nice lounge, a bet­ter seat, and a flash ho­tel and many staff think they are bet­ter travel agents than travel agents. In­ci­dents or sto­ries of poor ser­vice or ex­pen­sive pric­ing rip­ple out and con­firm the naysayer’s neg­a­tive be­liefs.

The com­plex­i­ties of travel and book­ing it are given lit­tle thought & clients ex­pect per­fect out­comes 100% of the time.

Given the com­plex­i­ties and the num­ber of par­ties in­volved, dis­sat­is­fac­tion with travel sup­pli­ers in­evitably hap­pens.

When­ever a client has a prob­lem, it’s an op­por­tu­nity; a chance to im­prove your ser­vice and re­la­tion­ship by help­ing them to solve it. Travel buy­ers are of­ten re­luc­tant to raise in­ter­nal is­sues with their TMC and so this op­por­tu­nity can go un­recog­nised and unat­tended.

Whether you’re pitch­ing for new busi­ness or pro­vid­ing ac­count man­age­ment ser­vice to an ex­ist­ing client, I think it’s a good idea to ask about the level of sup­port travel ar­range­ments have in­ter­nally.

If the buyer doesn’t know, of­fer to help with a suit­able in­ter­nal sur­vey to find out. If they aren’t in­ter­ested, at least you’ve shown your en­hanced ser­vice stripes.

Be ready with an un­der­stand­ing of the is­sues that can oc­cur and their causes, prac­ti­cal ideas for im­prov­ing in­ter­nal un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance and be ready to cop one on the chin if one of the re­sults is a com­plaint about you.

If you don’t have a re­li­able means of gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion, is­sues can go unat­tended and bad feel­ings can fester.

I’ve seen pro­cure­ment man­agers are usu­ally happy to stay with a TMC de­spite ser­vice is­sues, if the prob­lems seem likely to be fixed. From the TMC, there needs to be recog­ni­tion, ac­tion and out­come, pretty quickly once the sit­u­a­tion is known.

Ide­ally, there are no prob­lems, but if there are it’s much bet­ter for the TMC to dis­cover and act on them first with­out hav­ing to be told about them by the client.

“When­ever a client has a prob­lem, it’s an op­por­tu­nity… ”

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