Is global warming good for the travel business?

The planning and procurement of travel, like with any other commodity, needs to take into account many factors to optimise the buying decision.

A simple starting point is to determine the sustainability of your organisation’s present travel habits, Roderick Ross, head of TravelLinck International, a travel e-sourcing support service, suggested to delegates at this year’s annual conference of the Institute of Travel Management and Meetings Southern Africa (ITMSA). SmartProcurement was in attendance.

The ITMSA is a professional body representing buyers, managers and suppliers of business travel and meetings in southern Africa.

There are many opportunities to support green technology initiatives in South Africa which can result in significant changes to the way energy is produced and consumed in the future, said Ross.

Never underestimate the importance of sourcing carriers who investigate alternative energy suppliers, it can make a big impact on the future of their bottom line and sustainability: having weathered the immense economic storms of the recent past, the airlines are actually more efficient than they have ever been, he observed.

Managing constant change

While conceptually straight forward, buying travel and its related services is a complex category: while price remains the big driver there are a plethora of other factors to be taken into account.

Procurement Professionals need to constantly ask themselves whether their business travel buying is improving.

Sharon Richards Lund, Secretary ITMSA; Linda Basson, Chairperson ITMSA and Paul Tilstone, CE of the ITM- at Irene Country Estate.

Conference moderator Paul Tilstone, the CE of the ITM and 14 speakers kept the delegates informed on the many issues, subjects and topics that make travel such an interesting and challenging procurement category:

• What are the pros and cons of the ‘best available rate’ (BAR) pricing model, as adopted by hotels?
• Do not consider leaving the planning and administration of meetings, incentives, conferencing and events to the PA; it is very much the duty of travel management professionals – take heed, the “Devil is in the detail”.
• Making sure your organisation has a global travel strategy in place to deal with cross-cultural differences, political systems and currency conversions.
• When planning expansion or trips into Africa, how will your travel planner and buyer manage the pitfalls inherent in certain high-risk regions?
• Determine whether your travel management department is an asset or a liability? Where does it sit on the companies balance sheet?
• Do you understand the different niche environments that the legacy airlines and low cost carriers play within? They are vastly different.
• Do you have weather information of the destination you are headed to in advance? It makes the difference between a serene experience and flying through the eye of a storm.

AVIS at the ITMSA Conference

TravelLinck and Dr Roderick Ross will participate at SmartProcurement World in November to provide these and other insights, which can greatly influence the present and future total cost of buying travel.

The 4th Annual SmartSourcing Conference at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Gauteng on 16 – 18 November 2010 will be offer you the opportunity to network with and hear from you professional colleagues and peers on just what progress they have made in managing crucial commodity groups, like travel.

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