What TMC mergers and acquisitions mean for travel programs
It’s long been safe to assume that merger and acquisition (M&A) activity comes down to nothing more than corporate politics, and when you hear that your TMC has merged with or acquired a new company, you may not think anything of it. However, it might be time to pause and note how your TMC is growing, as these changes often directly impact your travel program’s operations and are made with you in mind.
We sat down with John Morhous, Chief Experience Officer at FCM’s parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), to discuss how he approaches M&A within the FCM ecosystem, how FCM approaches new partnerships, and what TMC M&A means for travel managers.
Decisions inspired by you
“You can’t make these massive decisions in a bubble,” said Morhous. “Everything we do regarding M&A keeps the stability of our clients’ corporate travel operations front-and-center, including the direct impact on travel manager’s jobs and the traveler experience.”
In FCM’s case (and across FCTG’s brands), the most important and non-negotiable requirement for any M&A is: will this partnership provide tangible value and improvements to our clients’ travel programs? One example is the increased investment in TPConnects, which enables FCM to expand airfares options and rates.
A culture that clicks
Culture fit is always key to partnerships, so it’s even more essential for a merger or acquisition. Especially since the integration of people, technology, and other resources need to weave together seamlessly for the benefit of our customers.
“Like any agile company, we must always understand innovation and trends in the travel industry, while also addressing the pain points our customers have. The companies that marry those two ways of thinking are the ones that make sense to invest in,” said Morhous.
Take the FCM Extension, which was created out of FCM's partnership with and eventual acquisition of Shep. After gauging customer interest, FCM invested in the product to help build the value of the brand and the tool itself. When it appeared obvious that the technology complemented our product vision, it was a natural move to bring the team and tool in-house, eventually rebranding.
What it means for travel programs
Remember, M&A doesn’t always mean new technology. There’s huge value in bringing on new talent, capability, and intelligence, such as the appointment of Jo Lloyd and integration of Nina & Pinta, the appointment of Glenn Thorsen, and the expansion of our global network, most recently in Japan and Senegal.
Why does it all matter? M&A activity keeps your program ahead of the speed of business, expands its capabilities, and keeps it moving forward in a world where change is the only constant. “We all know that sticking to the status quo doesn’t work anymore, and we can’t ignore the shifts in the way we work and travel. Pay attention to the movements your travel partner is making; they are the key to developing a modern travel program that your adapts to your business and traveler behavior,” said Morhous.