Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 08/10/01
Author: Page Number: 32
Copyright: Other

Travel Management Companies

BTIUK predicts consolidation as companies fight to survive

BTI UK’s chief executive has warned that business travel agencies may have to consolidate to survive.

David Radcliffe admitted business travel had been hit badly by the events in the US, but insisted he would not be rushed into knee-jerk reactions that could harm the company in the long term.

“I think the whole sector will be exploring consolidation and no-one will be immune to that,” said Radcliffe.

“One way to protect yourself for the future is to become bigger so you get more revenue through the same cost base.”

He added: “Smaller travel management companies will find the pressure is really on their cash and without cash you die.”

BTI UK is one of the biggest business travel management companies in the world but it will also be exposed to these pressures. Radcliffe said: “I’m not in favour of a reduction in working hours and salaries unless it’s voluntary. Also, our staff have worked very hard in the past few weeks and I’m very proud of them.

“Like everyone, we are examining areas of unnecessary expenditure but I don’t want to make short-term reactive decisions that will damage us in the long term. If that means a short-term drop in profitability, then so be it, because business travel will return to normal and grow. We need to be in a strong position when that happens.”

He added: “The mindset of a lot of executives I’ve met is that they want to get on with business. If you delay any longer, you are playing into the terrorists’ hands.”

Radcliffe: not-one is immune to consolidation