New technology being put in place by dnata Travel will give Global Travel Group agents better access to exclusive availability and prices negotiated globally by the travel giant.
Andrew Botterill, managing director of the Emirates Group-owned firm’s European B2B division, said the development will enable Global agents to benefit more easily from dnata’s size.
Dnata has created a single global air and ground product buying team and moved all of its contact uploading to an administrative centre in the Philippines.
Asked at this week’s Global conference in Dubai about the opportunity for this structure to see Global agents get access to exclusive deals, Botterill said: “The reason we are doing central purchasing is to make sure that we get those exclusive deals. We have buying power but that means nothing unless we do something with it.
“We have to make sure we buy well, and load it speedily and accurately. There will be times when it works for us to put that through the Global network.
“But you need technology. The reasons we have not done that is down to limitations with technology.”
When pressed, Botterill would not put a precise timescale on when the technology would be in place, saying only he hoped it would be complete “within the next six months”.
All product loading from contracts negotiated by dnata will be transferred to Clark over the next six weeks.
“Then we need to get it out to all sales channels and that’s where work needs to be done,” said Botterill.
Following a period of heavy investment in the UK travel industry since 2012 when it bought lading OTA Travel Republic, dnata was said to be “on a pause” in terms of acquisitions in the market.
Botterill said focus was more on opportunities in Asia and the southern hemisphere where there are gaps in its growing travel portfolio.
He said the focus in the UK was on integrating what it has, including two leading one-time rival trade suppliers Gold Medal, based in Preston, and Travel 2, which is based in Glasgow.
“Over the last 12 months we have done a lot of work bringing the brands together. The teams have been restructured and everyone is sitting in the right place.
“Internally some people have moved on to bigger and better things. Gold Medal and Travel 2 are well-loved and well respected. I’m under no pressure for either of those brands to disappear.
“I do not think when you are in a B2B environment it’s important to have one brand, but we continue to debate that internally to make sure we make the right decisions.”
Botterill said trade sales for the two brands this year were up 40% which he said was a vote of confidence in both.
“Less than 12 months in, the results are great. The owners are happy and it’s been a success,” he said.
As well as consolidation at management level, Botterill said the division’s scale means it can drive synergies in back office systems including a major global telephony project.
And Botterill said he was happy with the 30% of business suppliers in the dnata group represent for sister consortia agents in Global.
“I don’t think it will be helpful to grow that anymore. That 30% is a healthy number; 70:30 is a sensible split and I would expect it to stay at 30%. We think it’s hit it’s natural level.”
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