Consolidating travel

"We have four travel management companies globally," wrote one respondent.

"There isn't one who can provide consistent, competitive service globally." Another noted, "The best TMC in one region may not be best in another.

"Soft-dollar" benefits—add-ons like consulting services—gave further pricing advantage to single TMC agreements. A "single" global TMC actually is something of a mythical creature.

The global nature of even the largest TMCs can be illusory, as various agency partners or franchisees, tech systems and service levels can be in place, depending on the locale.

We allow for local input in the process."Indeed, there is a sense among some that the tides are shifting in the favor of a best-in-region approach.

A Hogg Robinson Group official last year estimated that 30 percent of requests for proposals for global TMC services ended with regional selections, not single TMCs, according to .

"We are looking to consolidate but not necessarily to one," noted one respondent.

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"It's generally a very slight advantage to awarding [a single] global [TMC]," he said, noting that hard-dollar savings like transaction or service fees were only slightly better than the best-in-region approach.

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with the technology now, it's very easy to globalize or standardize that data," CEO Ed Adams said.

"The bigger issue is working with somebody in your country and having that support."Click Travel's Harrison likened use of a single global TMC across the world just for data consolidation to wielding "a sledgehammer to crack a nut."And while adherents to a unified TMC structure touted cost benefits, one respondent said a multi-TMC setup produced "better local rates" in addition to better "service support." And that respondent still was "able to get consolidated reporting through a third-party tool."Further, companies also can replicate some benefits of a single-TMC structure by using an agency network like Radius or Global Star Travel Management.