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Advantage 'well placed to serve SMEs'

Travel management companies targeting small to medium-sized businesses were predicted to have a lucrative future by a trade veteran.

Speaking exclusively to TTG at the Advantage Champions Conference, industry consultant Mike Platt said the credit crunch had not affected the SME market as much as larger global businesses.

And he estimated that 20% of their spend in the UK goes unmanaged.

“It’s a market that has not suffered as much throughout the credit crunch and becomes more lucrative by the day,” he said.

“And these types of businesses want to work with smaller independent TMCs with whom they can build meaningful relationships.”

The former HRG managing director claimed independent TMCs, such as Advantage’s Focus Partnership members, can also capitalise on an “indifference” shown by the multiple TMCs, such as Carlson Wagonlit Travel, American Express and BCD Travel, towards the SME market.

“The multiples have to decide which business they are in. At the moment they all want the big boys, the global accounts, and are therefore not paying much attention to what is going on beneath them. They are all looking at each other.”

As Advantage unveiled its eWorldShopper tool, a global fares database, Platt praised the consortium for its “creative and innovative”
approach to technology.

“I was always cynical about the technology offered by smaller TMCs. But the products that are available through Advantage are excellent.

“Multiples used to have exclusivity on advanced technology but they’ve underestimated how far consortia have come. By pulling
resources, TMCs punch above their weight and compete.”

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