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REFLECTING ON ONE YEAR WITH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT A US Foods and Travel and Transport Success Story

Seamless Implementation | Significant Increase in Service | Consultative Approach

US Foods is one of America's leading food distributors servicing restaurants, the healthcare industry, and more. As US Foods was experiencing low service levels with their TMC, they wanted help enhancing their policy, improving their program, best practices, and above all, to establish a true partnership with their TMC. That is when they started their journey with Travel and Transport. A year later, they are reflecting on the seamless implementation, significant increase in service and the consultative approach that only Travel and Transport can provide. We sat down with Kathy Christel, VP Indirect Procurement, and Laura Magee, Director Indirect Spend, to uncover what has made this partnership so successful. Below is the US Foods and Travel and Transport success story.

Why did you determine you needed to go out to bid? What were you looking for in a new travel management partner?

"We were looking for a partner who was willing to evolve with us and provide solutions that fit our budgetary needs. Travel and Transport did just that and allowed us to grow and evolve our solutions with ease."

In the past year, what are the most positive changes you have seen in your travel program?

"We’ve experienced strong benefits from having improved service levels and enhanced engagement. We’ve been very pleased with the positive feedback we are getting from our employees about the service Travel and Transport is providing. Travel is one of those categories that typically you only hear when something goes wrong, so to get unsolicited positive feedback about the level of service you are providing speaks volumes.

"Travel and Transport seeks to understand what we are trying to accomplish and why. When I come to the team with what I am looking for, they don’t just say “here is what you asked for,” they say, “here is what you asked for but you can also do it this way” and that goes above and beyond most suppliers I have worked with. They are consultative and strategic in their approach."

Lastly, our transition and implementation was well planned and flawless—zero disruption.

You have a robust and unique travel program. What are the elements that you feel make it such, and how does Travel and Transport accommodate for those intricacies?

  1. "We are very cost focused; we look for solutions and are focused on driving air and hotel costs, not only on the transaction. Travel and Transport helps us solution and does it very well, bringing us benchmarking and ideas we have not thought of.
  2. "We move large groups of travelers and given the complexities of that; we were looking for a solution to handle this without additional workstreams. Travel and Transport provided us with a terrific solution and has made this travel seamless.
  3. "We are U.S.-based and have more spend on hotels than we do have on air. Travel and Transport was more than willing to be a true partner to us as we executed our air travel RFPs and this was a huge benefit to ensure we could optimize our air spend.
  4. "We have very good relationships with hotel vendors and whenever possible, we appreciate the opportunity to partner with them on cost analysis for stays and conference needs. While we look to them for added cost benefit solutions, the way that Travel and Transport has offered to partner with us AND our hotel vendors to find cost-efficient solutions has been invaluable. We appreciate their dedication to collaborating with our vendors on our behalf."

US Foods sets high expectations for its travel program. How is Travel and Transport specifically meeting expectations?

"Your account management and operations teams are outstanding. Our account manager provides us with terrific support and has a very positive teamwork attitude which makes her a joy to work with. We appreciate the fact that she includes the operations side on a regular basis, and they can hear directly from us about what we need and any potential issues. This set up is truly unique and something that sets Travel and Transport apart."

Top providers can get you what you want, if you have their “A” team. Every time I think of Travel and Transport, I know we have an “A” team.

What are the three things that makes Travel and Transport different from the rest of the industry?

"People, culture, technology. We chose Travel and Transport because we felt the people were like minded to US Foods and our culture. Specifically, we have an accountability culture and challenge the status quo. Travel and Transport brings us unique solutions. Travel and Transport understands our business which is really important because we are a little unique."

What recommendations/guidance would you give other travel managers that are looking at going out to bid?

"Focus on fit with the company. You have to blend with the company and people you’re working with. My recommendation would be to ask, “do the folks that answer the phones mirror your employees?” Find a TMC that provides solutions that are the best option regardless of the financial benefits to them. Find an account manager that works well with your team and enjoys the interaction."

What has been the best customer engagement story you have heard over the last year? One that embodies who you are and shows our true partnership?

"The overwhelming consensus is travel is stressful, but the person on the other end of the line tries to take a bad situation and help fix the problem, but also make it enjoyable. We had a number of people complaining about weather and cancellations, but they specifically said the advisor that helped was understanding and helpful during a stressful time."

Check out our take on the importance of a collaborative partnership with your TMC.

© 2019 Travel and Transport, Inc.

Credits:

Created with images by Skitterphoto - "airport man travel" • Corinne Kutz - "untitled image" • rawpixel - "achievement business collaboration" • Ross Findon - "untitled image" • Daria Shevtsova - "untitled image" • rawpixel - "adult group meeting" • William Iven - "untitled image"

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