Ares Management Corporation is one of the largest, global alternative asset managers, with three complementary and market leading investment groups: credit, private equity and real estate. When Ares realized they needed to reevaluate their current travel management partner, they turned to Travel and Transport as a trusted, flexible and innovative organization that was willing to truly listen to their needs. We sat down with Doug Weeks, Principal Corporate Services, Head of Global Travel, to discuss the changes and expectations that Ares needed in a partner. Below is the Ares Management and Travel and Transport success story.
What were you looking for in a travel management partner?
Flexibility. A partner who is willing to listen to what we're really trying to accomplish. Travel and Transport came in and started looking at our short-term goals in terms of improving service for travelers and travel arrangers, but also worked with us to establish long-term strategic goals. They brought to light opportunities we did not know about. We know how Ares operates. But we don't know how the rest of the universe operates. We are always looking for business partners that bring new insights to us.
Ares sets high expectations. How is Travel and Transport meeting these expectations?
We've received a lot of compliments on the quality and knowledge of the travel advisors that are deployed on our account. I think in an immediate way, we've increased the confidence level our people have in the travel program. The responsiveness and quality that the advisors are putting forth is being noticed.
Travel and Transport invested in providing adequate training, from web sessions to in-person training and on-site support the week of launch. Attention to details such as this continues to drive confidence. The active involvement by senior level management, and the true engagement from the firm, has also been outstanding.
How has Travel and Transport’s relationship with Concur helped with your program development?
Having the resources and knowledge to support Concur on the TMC side is something that should never be overlooked. We are able to leverage Travel and Transport's partnership with Concur which has proven to be extremely beneficial.
The Travel and Transport technology team spent a lot of time with us on demos and were in lockstep with us throughout the whole process. We get a lot of questions and feedback about the Concur product from travelers. We don't have all the answers, but Travel and Transport gets the answers for us because they act as a true extension of our team.
I can't tell you how many emails I've seen Travel and Transport tech specialists send asking questions and addressing situations. I think this is why our adoption rate is already at 80%, which is much higher than I anticipated it would be this early in our partnership.
What recommendations would you give other travel managers that are looking at going out to bid?
I think you have got to look at it from the standpoint of "who can you partner with to manage your overall travel and not just focus on managing down the cost of the TMC." The industry seems to be hyper focused on agency costs. I think that is the wrong way to look at it. You have got to look at it as a total and figure out who can help manage the entire travel spend. What is the overall value to the entire program that can be provided?
who can you partner with to manage your overall travel and not just focus on managing down the cost of the TMC?
It also really comes down to who can you trust. Look, we all know the agencies have their own deals with airlines, hotels, GDS organizations, etc., but a trusted TMC will not put their deals ahead of their client needs with blatant promotions. A true partner puts the needs of their customer first and that is exactly where we are with Travel and Transport today.