GTMC boss urges agents to defend business travel

GTMC boss urges agents to defend business travel

The head of the Guild of Travel Management Companies called on Advantage business travel agents to argue against “travel avoidance” among corporate clients.

GTMC chief executive Paul Wait told business travel members and partners at the Advantage conference in Malaga: “Don’t collaborate with travel avoidance – argue against it.”

He said: “A travel manager told me their company was into travel avoidance. I asked, ‘Do your shareholders know you are no longer looking to expand, that you are not defending your company’s interests against competitors?’”

Wait argued: “Business travel is a commercial strategy, not a cost. Travel policies should be measuring revenue production, not just cost savings.”

He also criticised a tendency among some companies to see video conferencing as an alternative to travel for meetings.

Wait said: “If video conferencing is that successful, why are UK rail transactions going through the roof? Surely it would be easier to do a video conference than take a rail journey?

“But video conferencing is not a replacement for doing business.”

Wait insisted there are grounds for optimism about the economy but argued the trade should not wait for recovery.

“Things are getting better in the economy,” he said. “But there is a still doubt about. It takes time to convince people to invest.

“There is a view that demand comes before travel, but my view is travel comes first.

“I believe we are coming out of recession. Our terminology needs to be positive.

“The economy may stutter, but economic growth is coming back. We need to accelerate it by being positive.”

Advantage corporate director Ken McLeod said: “Looking at our numbers I have no doubt we are on an upward trend.”

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