With online booking tools on the rise, Gant Travel Management refocuses their role

Last week, we featured the innovative ways that our partner, Cognizant Technology Services, has transformed the way they do business with Concur solutions. This week, learn how Gant Travel Management is using Concur solutions to complete their mission of becoming the best TMC in the world for the Concur traveler, create The Perfect Trip for their clients and gain more transparency and control with the use of TripLink. Patrick Linnihan, President of Gant Travel Management, took the time to speak with us about the creative ways Gant Travel is staying ahead of the changing travel industry by redefining their role as a TMC as the use of online booking tools increases.

Concur: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us your mission at Gant Travel Management?

P: I’m Patrick Linnihan and I’m President of Gant Travel Management. Gant’s mission is to help control the expense and the experience of travel for our clients. We have a goal of becoming the best TMC in the world for the Concur traveler.

Concur: That is a great mission. Why do you think that Concur works well for your clients and for Gant?

P:I think it’s a great fit. Concur isn’t focused on automated workflow per say, instead their vision is the perfect trip. That’s exactly what we want our travelers to experience, so we fit perfectly together.And we are actually, if you listen to our people, our sales presentations et cetera, we like to position ourselves as the people behind the Concur software.

Concur: Before implementing Concur, would you say that you were concerned about online booking tools?

P:Before Concur, boy, I think that I’m not exaggerating to say that our organization felt threatened by online booking tools. We’ve all had accounts go online and watched what happened to fee structures and our contact with that client.However, after Concur, we began to see what our role was in taking care of the client. We’re allowed to work on the real tough travel problems and the simple travel problems are being completed by the online booking tool. Just like you wouldn’t use a calculator to add one plus one, you don’t need a travel agent, in many cases, to book round trip Chicago to Minneapolis.We’re allowed to do the calculus level travel problem behind the scenes.

Concur: How does Concur help you focus on what matters most?

P:Let’s be honest, we’re in business and we exist for two reasons:  to take care of our customers, and of course, make a profit. So, that actually mirrors our business with Concur. We use Concur in two ways, we use it inside our company where we’re actually a customer-- we are using the expense reporting tool to control our cost, automate our workflows, re-deploy people in a manner that’s more efficient.And on the other side, Concur is serving our clients. For our client experience has to match what Concur is offering, we have to be on the same page. So it’s helping us scale our services because so much of what Concur does allows us to concentrate on the real tough problems and allow the simple problems to be take care of by technology.

Concur: How does using Concur help you achieve greater transparency?

P:Concur helps us achieve transparency by allowing us to scale very simple processes that normally no one sees. In our own experience, making sure that we can elevate what expenses look like by account. For example, we’re using Concurforce, so we get to see at the sales person level what expenses look like associated with an account.That level of transparency of what we see is incredibly important. On the other side, clients get to see all the available fares that their travel policy allows. They get to see clearly what their travel policy looks like and when changes are made.The transparency of Concur, what Concur brings to the traveler, allows corporations to achieve a leadership goal of their travel policy and ultimately transparent leadership. We all know how important that is. Concur is a valuable asset in making sure that everyone can see, really, what’s happening inside the travel programs.

Concur: Have you implemented the use of TripLink? If so, how has it changed the way Gant Travel does business?

P: So, Trip Link is actually, a revolutionary concept that attacks an age old problem in travel and I like to describe this in very simple terms.It helps you achieve control and knowledge of what actually is going on inside your travel spend. Now, a lot of people will say that TripLink does not help you gain control, and what I think that that doesn’t acknowledge, is the brutal fact that there are real reasons why people are booking outside normal channels. What TripLink does is helps you pull that information in so you know where they are and you know that information when it comes time to negotiate.

Concur: How do you think that Gant innovates to stay ahead of the changing travel industry?

P: On innovation, there are two areas that I think we separate ourselves. Number one, the way we think inside of our company. We understand that the Concur platform is going to help control and streamline our client’s travel programs. We are then allowed to really tackle the tough problems, and that’s where we bring the most value. That’s how the Concur platform fits into our overall philosophy of customer care: let the machines do the easy work, we’ll do the doctor level travel problem solving that people need and will value us for. The second area of innovation that we feel is important to discuss is making Concur work better for our accounts, for our clients.

Concur: That’s great, Patrick. We’re glad to see that the Concur platform works for you and your customers. You’re also using Concur Expense and Concurforce. How are those working for you?

P: We are a 100 person company and our sales team is extremely busy-- we run lean. Now, the last thing I want to do is distract them with learning one more platform. So when Concur rolled out the expense integration into Salesforce, Concurforce, it was natural that I could go to our team and say, “Hey everyone, you’re already on Chatter, you’re already recording valuable account information in Sales Force, now all you have to do is click on the expense tab and submit your expense reports via Concurforce.” So, they naturally fit nicely together. Lastly we’re able to run reports and really, we’re able to see where our sales people are spending time and dollars on our prospects and the accounts we close.

Concur: Last question, Patrick. What is the perfect trip to you? And why does it matter?

P: The perfect trip is no stress. Everything is coordinated. No surprises, no bad surprises. We’re a corporate travel agency. We serve the hardcore business traveler. Any stress that our travelers feel degrades from their ability to do their job. We want the fresh, we want them thinking creatively. If they’re worried about, ”My hotel room key doesn’t work, the check-in experience was horrible, I’m overly tired, I had to stand in long lines..”, all of those experiences that detract from a perfect trip degrade someone’s ability to work while they’re on the road. So that’s how we see the perfect trip fitting in with serving our clients.

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