Nomura, an Asian-based financial services group, changed its travel management company (TMC) for sound business reasons. But the move brought up challenges for the teamsof travel bookers and agents who were faced with new policies, services, tools and contacts. They needed help to work together.
The change of TMC to Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) took place three years ago and for Nomura's250-300 travel bookersthat meant getting to know a whole new set of agents. To ensure that CWT agents understood theorganisation’s cultureand levels of service expected, a number of events were arranged by travel manager Carol Neil.
Getting to know you
Monthly events were introduced to bring together bookers and agentsin a relaxed setting. These have proved to be great relationship builders, with staff on both sides looking forward to them.
Site visits for Nomura travel bookers and CWT agents were arranged and proved fundamental to each party sharing information and gaining understandingabout how the other works.
For the first two years of the relationship, CWT ensured there was a dedicated employee on site five days a week to help to train bookers and answer queries.
Sue Cowe was section manager of the Nomura team during implementation.
“We spent a lot of time with the client learning what they needed. The travel policy was evolving and we had to keep up with it. Carol's feedback on our performance was quick and helpful”Sue Cowe
Nomura trained the dedicated business travel agents in branch and CWT developed a training and development process, supported by Nomura, which emphasised the importance of the corporate travel policy.
“CWT agents are checked on our deals, policies and wider questions about the industry. We need really switched-on agents, who are best in class. The one thing that the bookers don't like is to spend ages on the phone. We need agents who are quick and on the ball. We update CWT immediately about any changes to our policy”Carol Neil
Following a successful first two years, programme manager Rob Coomer was appointed to work on Nomura’s strategy, tools and reporting along with a dedicated business analyst, Simon Brown.
As the third year of the relationship draws to a close, all parties agree that this is anoutstandingpartnership with trust and respect at its core. At the Business Travel Awards 2014, Carol was named Travel Buyer of the Year.
“Everyone is pleased that I got the award but I'm under no illusions. I won it because I have a great team within Nomura and CWT.” Carol Neil