Spotlight on: TMC partnerships
Increasingly more TMCS are signing partnerships around the world to expand their presence and better serve their fast-growing clients.
“Business Travel Direct delivers global TMC alternative with ATG” – that was the key marketing message from Uk-based BTD after tying up a deal to become the exclusive UK franchise partner for the Ohio-based agency.
“As an independent TMC we have many strengths that our clients value such as intimate market knowledge, a real focus on innovation and the ability to provide a personalised service but with global standards,” says Julie Oliver, BTD Managing Director.
“But we had a challenge in not being able to provide the same levels of service for clients on a global level. With ATG, we have found the missing piece,” adds Oliver.
ATPI Group's new transatlantic deal is also about strengthening its presence in North America. It has teamed up with Us-based Direct Travel to form Direct ATPI Global Travel. Each business will continue operating under its existing name, but the new venture – in which the TMCS have made equal investments – is targeting midmarket companies with global travel needs.
“We're big in North America and ATPI is big in the rest of the world. It's the perfect coming together of two companies,” says Ed Adams, CEO of Direct Travel. “Direct ATPI Global Travel is perfectly aligned to service any company that requires scalable, personal service on a multinational basis.”
ATPI'S Chief Commercial Officer, Gary Pearce, says that although the TMC'S network is strong globally, there is some room for improvement in North America and the deal with Direct Travel enables it to better serve its globally growing clients.
“As existing clients need help around the world we can push Direct ATPI, giving them a seamless operation globally,” he says.
Both TMCS have grown through mergers and acquisitions which puts them in good stead, says Adams. “People on both sides understand collaboration. If you can manage change – and change is not a bad word – then you will get the most out of people.”
The venture has already won a number of joint bids totalling £50million's worth in business from a mixture of UK, US and European companies.
It is a different arrangement to BTD'S and to networks such as Radius, Globalstar and WIN Travel Network. Each set-up has its own merits, but Direct's Adams believe it has hit upon the ideal arrangement.
“Direct has been part of other global groups and had other one-off partners outside North America but things weren’t always that efficient. Buyers wanted a relationship with a one-company feel and that's what we've now got,” he says.
What works best is down to the particular needs of a client, but a market with more TMCS geared up to offer regional expertise on a global scale, is good news for us all.
We had a challenge in not being able to provide the same levels of service for clients on a global level”