Based in Eton, UK, with over sixty TMC partners, ITP has received numerous messages and adverse feedback based on comments from clients who will be directly affected by the introduction of the charge.
Richard Lovelock Director of Business Travel Management with ITP, has spoken with many of ITP’s TMC partners and their views are consistent. “Our partners are surprised and disappointed that LHG does not appear to understand how corporate clients and TMCs work together”, said Lovelock. “It is as if they have completely failed to grasp the fundamental principles of Travel Management and Corporate Responsibility”.
Feedback from ITP partners also identified other flaws in LHG’s plans and operating model. These include the inability to provide security reporting and other data and concerns about the processing of cancellations and refunds which could lead to reductions in TMCs’ productivity and consequent cost increases for corporate clients.
Lovelock added, “This action clearly says to a business traveller that if you book through your TMC it will cost you more. LHG carriers’ websites can sell a ticket but will they offer the client all the support they need? What we are seeing is the possible ‘de-professionalisation’ of Travel Management as we know it and I can’t see how LHG can separate itself from the current Travel Management model and expect business travellers to follow.”
ITP is supporting all efforts to persuade LHG to review its current strategy in alignment with the efforts of all Travel Industry organisations that are lobbying for change.
“The big question is how other airlines will respond”, said Lovelock. “Could this be the catalyst for more disruption for professional Travel Management? At ITP, we are all for change but only when it represents positive developments for the Travel Management Cycle. I can’t see how this proposed change by LHG can be described in this way.”