Corporate Traveller Marks 20th Anniversary in the UK

Corporate Traveller Marks 20th Anniversary in the UK

25th October 2019

Corporate Traveller has reached a major milestone this month as the specialist travel management company for clients with an SME-spend is celebrating 20 years in business in the UK. 

Launched in the UK in 1999 with one office in Wimbledon and one team of five travel consultants, Corporate Traveller has since grown to become the UK’s largest TMC providing dedicated business travel services to clients with an annual business travel spend of £50K to £2M. Today Corporate Traveller UK has a total of 400 staff, including 250 consultants operating in 60 teams at 20 offices across England and Scotland. Locations include Bristol, Birmingham, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

Corporate Traveller currently manages travel for over 2000 UK corporates and 200,000 business travellers per annum and continues to experience double digit growth year on year. Over the last 12 months, the TMC has won an average of 50 new clients per month nationwide which led to a 15 per cent increase in transactions this year. Corporate Traveller staff also pride themselves on continuing to deliver savings for their customers.  For example, over the last 12 months, clients have benefited from total air spend savings of £32M and since July of this year alone Corporate Traveller has generated savings of £11.5M via waivers and favours.

Expert Travel Consultants

“The key to Corporate Traveller’s success is our business model which we believe is unique in the business travel sector,” explains Andy Hegley, UK General Manager, Corporate Traveller. “Small teams of travel consultants are based in our 20 offices across the UK, looking after their own client portfolio of locally-based businesses, whose spend can be anything from £50K to £2M. Each team is personally responsible for booking and managing their clients’ business travel requirements on a day-to-day basis. Our travel consultants are dedicated to giving the right support and service that SME-spend companies need, adding value, proactively advising them on ways to generate cost-savings that will impact on their bottom line, and helping them growth their business.

“Our business has seen extraordinary growth since 1999 with double digit growth every year particularly in the last 10 years,” continues Hegley. “However, even though our business has grown and scaled up, personal service is still at the heart of everything we do – that’s what our clients say they value the most. There have been huge advances in technology in the business travel industry and we’ve enhanced our offering to provide solutions such as our online platform YOUR.CT which was designed specifically for the needs of SME-spend clients, and our mobile app Sam for travellers.  Yet our core proposition hasn’t changed. Clients still talk about our people and the relationship they have with our consultants. That’s why they want to work with us.”

Longstanding clients include TR Fastenings Ltd, a division of Trifast plc, whose business travel needs have been handled by Corporate Traveller’s New Malden office since 1999. Hayleigh Horscroft, Executive Assistant to the Board comments: “We are a global company who have been using Corporate Traveller for 20 years to save us time and for ease of booking. That speaks for itself. A dedicated expert travel consultant is available via email and phone who is very quick to respond to our requests. I absolutely love it when Corporate Traveller quotes prices that are cheaper than other online travel providers.” 

Evolution of the SME sector

Priorities and requirements of Corporate Traveller’s SME-spend clients have changed considerably since 1999, but the last five years particularly have seen a major shift in trends.

Donna Joines, Regional Operations Manager who joined Corporate Traveller in 2009 explains: “Initially, it was very much about clients wanting personal offline one-to-one service for booking business travel, as well as some form of data capture, advice on fares, and an SLA. They didn’t need or ask for technology. And in the early days, the primary decision maker in terms of appointing us was the travel booker, PA, or office manager. 

“But we have seen a huge change particularly over the last five years as the SME-spend market has matured significantly. Corporates of this size began taking their travel spend more seriously and realised that they needed more from their TMC in managing their whole business travel programme. Nowadays we see procurement departments and board level directors getting far more involved in the decision-making process. Clients are asking us not only for online solutions, but also for much greater reporting, duty of care support, HR sync, and ISO. They are also looking for a socially responsible TMC and we have far more requests for carbon monitoring and offsetting.”

The SME-sector’s maturity is also evidenced by the huge growth in demand from prospective clients for a formal tender process.  Four years ago, RFPs were usually only made by clients with a spend of over £1M. But nowadays companies with spends upwards of £150K are undertaking RFPs or RFIs. 

Andy Hegley summed up: “We are incredibly proud of Corporate Traveller’s success story. Clearly we are doing something right in terms of providing SME-spend clients with the service and value they need. We look forward to continuing to grow, but can never be complacent. Our business is built around our customer and will only continue to be successful if we focus on the delivery of a customer service experience that clients will not receive anywhere else. We will continue to enhance our digital capabilities and will have some exciting developments to announce next year, but our people are still the best thing about Corporate Traveller. We will always be a people orientated business focussing on personal service and one-to-one relationships with our clients.”

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