Global travel management company FCM has reported strong signs of business travel recovery, both globally and within the South African market. The company recently signed a number of new clients, which is a clear indication of a prospering corporate travel climate.
Bonnie Smith, GM FCM South Africa, explains that FCM customers are keen to take to the road again. “As more destinations open their borders to South Africans, we are seeing a want and a need to get back to travelling. The vaccine is playing a major role in this recovery. With more and more people getting vaccinated, travellers are becoming more confident and comfortable with the idea of flying again.”
A positive sign of the business travel sector’s rebound, FCM was recently awarded the contract to manage the global travel programme of JTI (Japan Tobacco International), operating in 80+ markets including South Africa and with a travel and expense budget of $160 million in 2019.
FCM secured the contract following a competitive RFP process conducted in an entirely virtual landscape, due to the onslaught of COVID in March 2020. JTI cited FCM’s global and local business model and culture; its blend of top-of-the-range technology with dedicated travel consultants; and its transparency during the RFP process as the key differentiators which led to FCM’s appointment.
Previously working with 16 individual travel agencies to manage business travel, JTI brought FCM onboard to truly globalise the company under one umbrella, while driving standardisation, savings, compliance and a whole roster of efficiencies via its travel management solutions.
Marcus Eklund, Global Managing Director, FCM said: “Given a short, 90-day notice period from its largest incumbent, we have already succeeded in the initial challenge of bringing 52 countries live in under three months.”
Mike Potter, Travel Services Director at JTI said, “Cultural fit is key; we wanted a TMC who understood JTI and its intricacies. It’s a company that’s changing; we’re moving to a better way of doing business and we really wanted people to understand that, and “local glocal” is a phrase that’s used a lot internally.”
Nichola Rimmer, Global Category Manager Travel & Events said: “From the very beginning, we talked through our focuses and implementation plan with FCM. The team were super agile. They knew what was really critical to get this up and running, and what could wait.”
This announcement comes hot on the heels of FCM’s recent repositioning as an alternative to the traditional service offering of large global TMCs and the digital-only business travel offerings.