Travel management companies have been urged to step up their efforts to attract new corporate clients ahead of a predicted slowdown in 2009.
Advantage Travel Centres’ director of business travel Norman Gage has said TMCs may have underestimated the potential effects of the credit crunch on business travel budgets.
He said: “On the whole, our business travel members are reporting that bookings are relatively buoyant and they have not experienced much evidence of companies cutting back.
“But we have to acknowledge the wider economic situation, and also appreciate that many big corporate customers are spending to budgets that were set last year. Those clients who have their year-end in either October or December could certainly tighten their belts for 2009, and that could be bad news for the TMC sector.”
Gage stressed it was vital for TMCs to increase awareness of their services in their local markets – an especially strong selling point for independent business travel agents.
“One good way to get a foot in the door is offering companies a free business travel audit. Being able to save them money is certainly going to get them interested in all the other benefits that using a good TMC brings,” he said.