Covid-19 will have a significant and most likely permanent impact on the entire travel industry. Airlines in particular are seeing a considerable transformation. The scope and size of the big 4 will be reduced by 30-40 percent. Their entire organizations will become smaller as well. Results of this include
- Increased focus on building and defending their hubs.
- Reduced (or elimination of) service to smaller markets.
- Change in focus to cleanliness from on-time performance, completion factor, and in-flight service.
- Increased flexibility as it applies to restrictive type airline tickets.
- Reduced size of sales organizations will impact TMC and corporate relationships.
To their credit, airlines have always had a strong focus on cleanliness. Covid required them to take their game to a higher level. With the introduction of new protocols, including electro-static spraying, use of HEPA air filters, social distancing, and masking, the experience is cleaner than ever. In addition, limited pre-flight Covid testing has already begun in certain market segments.
These developments makes the relationships between travel programs, TMC and suppliers even more critical.
Better business travel outcomes with strong supplier relationships
It’s all about who you know, even when it comes to corporate travel solutions. As a travel agency serving business, vacation and meeting and incentive travelers, having trusted supplier relationships with our vendors has a big impact on the customer experience. Here’s how strong supplier relationships can benefit travelers and corporate travel programs.
A trusted travel management system
What exactly is a supplier relationship in the travel industry? It’s an ongoing, dedicated relationship between a travel agency and a vendor. Whether it’s air, cars, hotels or tour operators, supplier relationships help travelers ensure they have the best travel contracts, vendor support and so much more.
At Fox World Travel, we have a team dedicated to nurturing existing supplier relationships and forming new ones. Thanks to their knowledge of the travel industry and advanced negotiation skills, this team excels at finding the best supplier fit for corporate travel programs.
“Our unique roles help you identify the best suite of preferred vendors at the most advantageous contractual terms,” says Mike Heck, Vice President of Supplier Solutions. “We know and understand the value of these supplier relations. It’s all about the three-way partnerships our team is able to build and nurture.”
University of Chicago Travel Manager Stephen Mitleider has first-hand experience utilizing Fox as part of his travel supplier strategy. Even with more than 40 years of travel management experience, partnering with his TMC is crucial in gaining a full picture of the market before making any decisions. “Due to typical confidentiality agreements, there aren’t many sources I’m able to benchmark against to understand the true value of the contract, so this is where I rely on my relationship with my TMC to be especially strategic and valuable,” says Mitleider. “My approach is to use the expertise and fact-based advice from Fox’s supplier solutions team to get the best contract for the University of Chicago travel program. I couldn’t do that without the help of my TMC.”
Four ways supplier relationships improve business travel development
The partnerships we have built with suppliers offers many benefits to travel managers and travelers that they may not otherwise experience. From contract negotiations to traveler support, here’s why strong supplier relationships matter to your corporate travel program.
1. Trusted Advisors
With more than 60 years in the travel industry, Fox World Travel has a long history of working with air, car, hotel and other travel suppliers. Fox understands the offerings of trusted suppliers and knows the client’s needs. The supplier solutions team works throughout Fox to ensure the entire team is familiar with preferred vendors. This combined knowledge of preferred vendors and company travel requirements results in the best possible corporate travel solutions.
2. Fair contracts
Fox assists customers during contract negotiations by supplying the right information to make the best vendor decisions.
“We analyze vendor trends to ensure our customers are getting the best contracts,” says Heck. “It’s a constantly evolving marketplace and it’s our job to identify the changes and how they impact our customers.”
3. Contract maintenance
Signing an agreement is just the beginning of the vendor-customer relationship. It’s important to nurture the relationship through regular communication and performance tracking. Fox provides opportunities for vendor – customer interaction through conference calls and meetings where performance is reviewed. “Regular communication and performance analysis is key to success of any new or existing program,” says Heck.
4. Travel support
With more than 100,000 domestic flights daily, disruptions occur that negatively impact the traveler experience. Fox understands the importance of the vendor relationship to support the individual traveler. “Our strong vendor relationships allow Fox to assist in speeding the service recovery process,” says Heck. “The key is knowing who to call and when to call them.” With strong vendor relationships, lines of communication are always open, giving the opportunity to discuss and improve when negative experiences occur.
Finding the right fit
“We know what’s important to your program, and we will find the perfect supplier to fit those priorities,” Heck says. “We trust our vendors and know our ongoing relationships with them ultimately benefit the travel program.”
Our supplier solutions team is ready to work with you to provide proper corporate travel solutions and develop vendor relationships to drive success. Contact us to learn more.
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