In 1997, Frank Pawley and a business partner set up Global Travel Management, a travel management company, based in Surrey, England. The plan was to create and build a company that could fix the three issues which face any traditional travel management company.
- First, with declining – and disappearing – commissions paid by travel suppliers, travel management companies needed to find a pricing structure that meets the needs of all clients.
- Second, the service level offered by travel management companies was typically compromised by a high level of staff turnover.
- And third, travel management companies were typically either too small to be able to offer a full range of travel products; or too large to offer a fully personal service.
Frank hired his son, Scott and Scott’s wife Natalie to run the business. And to solve the first issue, Scott and Natalie devised a totally flexible pricing structure, based on eight different pricing models. In this way, any business can take advantage of the most relevant and most cost-effective price plan. And, if none of the eight plans fit, GTM simply creates a bespoke one. “One size fits all” no longer works for businesses that need their corporate travel to be managed. So GTM’s flexible approach means that every company can have their travel arrangements managed within a cost-effective, transparent price structure.
For the first couple of years, Scott and Natalie ran the business, “twenty-four seven” from mobile phones. This sometimes meant taking calls from passengers in the middle of the night. Although, these days, GTM customers are provided with a full, professional, round-the-clock “out of hours” service.
While Scott had extensive experience in business travel and Natalie had an equally thorough grounding in all aspects of leisure travel, GTM was the first travel management company they had run. Scott and Natalie were able to provide the highest level of customer service to every client because they had vast experience of dealing with reservations on a day-to-day basis. But, as they expanded the business, it was clear that any staff they recruited must have a full understanding of the basic principles of travel management, specifically undertaking complex reservations on behalf of clients. So the decision was made that vacant positions would be filled by staff with travel reservations experience. In this way, every department within the company is staffed by individuals who know about business travel, understand the issues clients might face and can provide knowledgeable support.
Now, when family circumstances mean that staff members have to leave the business temporarily, they are welcomed back in the role that best suits their changing circumstances. That is why you will find experienced reservations staff in every part of the business, providing knowledgeable, relevant and expert customer service from every department. And that’s one of the reasons GTM has an enviably low level of staff turnover.
GTM has now grown from a staff numbers and revenues of zero to more than 35 employees and over £26 million annual turnover, with offices in Woking, Surrey and, following a recent acquisition, in Watford, Hertfordshire. The growth is not stopping there, however, as GTM intends to grow both organically and by acquisition into the future. But the size of any travel management company is vital. And Scott and Natalie – as well as their growing management team – have taken steps to ensure they offer a level of service that demonstrates all the personal service level of a smaller company, but with the critical mass of a large, multinational company.
By ensuring that each client is always dealt with by experienced reservations staff that take into account every aspect of the client’s requirements, GTM is able to offer a personal level of service that matches the best of any smaller travel management company. But, by retaining influential membership of the Advantage Focus Partnership – where Scott was Chairman of the Technology Panel for four years and GTM’s Paul Baker continues membership of the Air Panel – GTM is provided with enviable access to airlines and other travel suppliers and able to negotiate preferential opportunities.
In this way, GTM, an independent, medium-sized travel management company is able to react to clients’ changing needs and circumstances. And, through being superbly tech-savvy and commercially influential, GTM is able to offer its clients an unrivalled range and level of service.