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Filter in or out as many as 200 cities, as well as hotel and car rental class and meals of the day and watch as the per-diem calculator automatically adjusts per diems to your program. Drill down into cost breakdowns and export the results.
Arguably the dominant philosophical debate in corporate
travel in 2012 has been whether "consumerization" will lead to
corporate travelers deserting their managed travel programs and booking who and
how they like. It is a scenario that conceivably could lead to travel
management companies losing business to the unmanaged travel sector.
Graham Ramsey, chief executive of the Anglo-Dutch
multinational TMC ATP International, does not subscribe to this view. Even if
such a trend were to develop, he believes his company would be immune to
account losses because it specializes in client sectors with a particular need
for heavily managed programs. Around 50 percent of its turnover derives from
the marine, oil and gas sectors. ATPI also focuses on servicing clients in
other energy businesses, as well as the retail, sports and legal sectors
"If your company is doing point-to-point travel, you
could argue travelers can do it themselves, but if you are trying to organize a
crew change, or sending oilmen to difficult destinations, you need the back-up
of a TMC," he said. "We focus on sectors where there is complex
travel and a need for complex reporting." Ramsey added that many of his
clients' employees do not fit the profile of "consumerized" travelers
who have the desire, skills and tools to arrange their own travel. "There
are a lot of blue-collar workers out there, on oil rigs for example, without
corporate cards or even Internet access," he said.
Although ATPI's target sectors may need more attention than
others, such as when ATPI was involved in the evacuations of oil workers from
Libya in 2011, Ramsey believes the demand for managed travel will remain
widespread. Without travel policies and mandated booking channels, he said,
companies will struggle to know where employees are and will lose money through
noncompliance with corporate deals.
Ownership of ATPI is split between its management (40
percent, with Ramsey the largest shareholder) and Equistone, previously
Barclays Private Equity (60 percent). The company since its formation in 2002
has grown substantially through the merger of two U.K. TMCs: Ayscough Travel
and Seaforth Travel. When Ramsey bought Seaforth in 1998, it handled gross
travel sales of $50 million. Today, he said, "we are turning over gross
sales north of $1 billion. In the last six years we have doubled our turnover,
with less than 25 percent of that growth resulting directly from
ATPI made one major acquisition, the global marine
specialist Instone Travel, in 2009. A couple of months later, it quit the GlobalStar Travel Management international TMC partnership to expand its own
overseas network, set up the previous year. ATPI has wholly owned offices in 20
countries and partners or franchisees in another 13, some of them former
members of GlobalStar. One-third of its business still originates in the United
Ramsey said he is looking to make further acquisitions,
especially in countries that could act as hubs to attract business in
neighboring markets. He also intends to continue growing organically, using the
company's market intelligence team in India to identify more sectors that fit
its high-touch model. The strategy means that there are some companies,
especially larger ones, that ATPI will not accept as customers. "We are
not interested in clients using a TMC just for fulfillment," he said.
Paradoxically, Ramsey originally bought Seaforth because he
liked its proprietary self-booking tool, Ticket Window, which it launched in
1997. "We've got Son of Ticket Window, which we use extensively in the
Netherlands," said Ramsey. "We are still developing it, but we are
not trying to compete on that." He added that ATPI is working on a mobile
version of Ticket Window to add booking functionality to its On the Go app,
launched last month.
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