Leading the Travel Industry
Business 888-380-9872  |  Vacation 800-756-6342  |  Meetings 855-847-4698  |  Group Air 877-252-3415

Media Contact:  Jackie Olt - Omega World Travel - jolt@owt.net

  ✣   ✣   ✣

Corporations' Reliance on Travel Agencies Still Strong

Changes in the travel industry happen faster than flights landing and taking off during the early-morning rush at Memphis International Airport. One after another, day after day, it's virtually impossible to track all the rate increases, decreases, specials and flight schedule additions and deletions.

Corporate travel specialists deal with a fluid travel world every day. They are force-fed all those changes and digest them into useable data.

In an industry estimated to produce revenues of $200 billion a year, every change has the potential to become an important issue.

"There is never a dull moment, it changes daily," says Amy Marek, regional sales manager for Omega World Travel and secretary of the 51-member Mid South Area Business Travelers Association. During recent years, Marek and others in the corporate travel business have noted that companies whose employees do a lot of traveling generally have instituted travel policies to set standards for taking business trips. A large part of those trips is making the actual reservations.

What seems simple -- making a flight reservation to a destination where a rental car and a hotel room are waiting -- is actually a more complicated procedure than some imagine. And multiplied by scores of employees making trips, the management process becomes exponentially more complex.

One of Marek's clients is First Horizon, formerly First Tennessee bank. The Memphis-based financial institution sends its employees on trips that yearly total millions of dollars. Marek says with that kind of budget, it's natural to want to get a handle on what's happening with the travel funds.

"We just installed an online booking tool for them," Marek says. The Cliqbook software (produced by Outtask), Marek admits, could effectively take her agency, which has a travel management contract with First Horizon, out of the reservations-making loop and mean a loss of a service fee. The agency service fee in Memphis averages about $35 per reservation.
v But it's all part of doing business in the corporate travel world.

And it's a world that has changed dramatically over the last decade. Back in the 1990s, the advent of the Internet and the eventual founding of online booking sites like Orbitz and Travelocity all but predicted the quick demise of the traditional travel agency. And, true enough, some did close their doors, but whether the failures were prompted by Internet competition is a matter of debate.

"Well run, adaptable agencies are going to be here. We've actually grown since online booking came around," says Sandy Brewer, general manager for one of three Carlson Wagonlit Travel franchises in the Memphis area.

Brewer has found that business clients still seek the personal touch -- an element that took many in the travel industry by pleasant surprise -- of dealing with a human when it comes to actually making the reservations.
v "We offer personal service they'll never get online or from the airlines," Brewer says. "Businesses need agencies to manage travel. We're here to manage their travel dollars."

And that hasn't been lost on companies seeking to institute managed travel policies within their organizations. Brewer says one local company requires its employees to book travel reservations online; many of its employees, busy with the work of their job or not wanting to deal with computerized booking, call Carlson Wagonlit to make their reservations, paying the agency's service fee out of their own pockets.

Bobbi Landreth, vice president of MSABTA and senior director of Carlson Hotels, says most companies with sizable travel budgets maintain an affiliation with a travel agency: "Travel companies have set up Internet sites with tools to comply with their (respective) travel policies."

Caleb Tiller, senior public relations manager for the 2,500-member National Business Travelers Association, says companies desiring to establish travel policies have a virtually unlimited choice of options they can include or exclude from their programs.

"They can package them any way, it's a la carte," he says. Marek pointed out that few companies maintain their own corporate travel departments, but many will contract with agencies that sometimes establish a manned office at the company's location. She says that an agency takes the potential for abuse out of the hands of employees who might otherwise be making their own travel arrangements.

  ✣   ✣   ✣

About Omega World Travel
Omega World Travel is a woman-owned, diversity supplier, and one of the largest travel management companies in the US. With worldwide headquarters in Fairfax, VA, Omega serves corporate, government, meeting, and leisure clients throughout the US., Europe, and the Middle East. Omega World Travel also owns Cruise.com, one of the largest sellers of cruises on the Internet, and TravTech, a software development company and Omega Meetings and Conference services.


Omega Achieves Top Rankings in 2020 Book of Lists

Announcing: Omega Travel Consultancy Group

Omega Named to Meetingsnet’s 2019 CMI 25 List

Gloria Bohan Named Executive Leader of the Year

Omega to Sponsor and Exhibit at WBENC Conference

Omega Appoints Industry Veteran as Regional Sales Director Covering New York Region

Omega Achieves Top Rankings in 2019 Book of Lists
Gloria Bohan Receives Business Travel Hall of Fame Award
Omega’s 46th Annual Holiday Client Luncheon
Omega Commits to Achieving Gender Parity by 2030
Omega Launches Omega Go App
Omega Named to Meetingsnet's 2018 CMI 25 List
Gloria Bohan Receives Prestigious ASTA Lifetime Achievement Award
Omega Exhibits at ASTA Global Convention
Gloria Bohan Speaks at GWU "Politics of Tourism"
Million Women Mentors with Wells Fargo Launch MWM Entrepreneur Mentoring Program
Omega to Exhibit at GovTravels 2018 Symposium
Gloria Bohan Named Godmother of Riviera’s MS Robert Burns
The Beginning: A Fredericksburg Story
Royal Caribbean Names Cruise.com as its 2017 Online Partner of the Year
Omega's Winter Clothing Drive to Benefit Artemis House
Omega and Delta’s Gift to Junior Achievement Students
Omega Honors Enterprise with Car Rental of the Year Award
Omega Honors Delta with Vendor of the Year Award
Omega Celebrates a Journey of a Lifetime at Holiday Luncheon
Omega World Travel to Sponsor Fairfax Fall Festival
MeetingsNet Unveils 11th Annual List of Largest Meeting and Incentive Travel Companies
Omega World Travel to Sponsor and Exhibit at GovTravels 2017 Symposium
Interview with The Omega Man
Omega World Travel Makes Washington Business Journal 2017 Book of Lists
2012 Omega Extends Global Travel Reach With GlobalStarDelta Named Vendor of the Year by Omega World Travel for Second Consecutive YearOmega World Travel Receives Award for Excellence in Community Involvement ProgramsDC's travel queen talks about building her $1 billion businessOmega Sponsors German School Washington 5K Oktoberfest RunOmega Announces its Participation in the 26th Annual Pakistan Festival 40 Years in Business and Appointment to Washington Business Hall of Fame Omega Selected as a 2012 “Top Business” Recipient by DiversityBusiness.comOmega Named to SmartCEO’s Smart100 List and Hold Luxury Travel and Cruise TradeshowOmega to Celebrate its 40th Year at the Global Business Travel Association ExpositionOmega to Unveil New Agent Desktop Solution at Global Business Travel Association’s Technology SymposiumOmega Announces its Participation in the Society for Government Travel Professionals’ EdCon 2012 Omega to Hold Luxury Travel and Cruise Tradeshow in Bethesda, MDOmega Receives High Rankings from Leading Travel Industry Sources for Success, Fast Growth and InfluenceOmega Awarded UNICEF Travel Management ContractCruise.com Moves to Expand South Florida Headquarters Office in FloridaIndustry innovator created one of nation's largest woman-owned businesses Omega is honored to be named to DiversityBusiness.com’s 2012 List Celebration of 40 Years in Business and Appointment to Washington Business Hall of Fame Mark Fulfillment of American Dream for Omega World Travel