Over the past five years, one of the biggest trends in the corporate travel industry has been the large-scale shift from large travel consortiums to independent travel consultants, also known as ITCs. This was one of the topics under discussion at the GBTA Southern Africa Conference, held in Pretoria on 21 – 22 October.
Today, ITCs come in various shapes and forms, from one-man operations to fully-fledged companies with specialist skills – but what links them is that they have chosen not to have their own IATA licence and therefore opt to work through a head office.
But the decision to use an ITC does come with an element of risk. One of the GBTA Conference panellists, Howard Stephens, the former Head of Procurement for Nedbank, points out that before engaging with a new supplier, corporates should go through a checklist to ensure the ITC is legit. “Does the ITC have a bank account, a physical address, and pay VAT? Once corporates have followed due diligence, it is important to assess what value the ITC will bring. It costs a lot of money to put new vendors onto a corporate system – so it’s essential that the organisation establishes what the differential is.”
What tends to seal the deal is that ITCs tend to have specialist skills that are absent in house. Agile, and often highly experienced – there are many reasons for organisations to choose to work with an ITC.