ABTA Luanda event has travel stakeholders calling for more

Luanda event
3 min read

The value of Corporate Travel in Angola is hugely misunderstood and undervalued. This, according to African Business Travel Association (ABTA) founder, Monique Swart, who delivered an inspiring talk to Angolan travel stakeholders at a recent ABTA event in Luanda’s Talatona Convention Hotel.

“There seems to be some confusion in Angola between what is regarded as leisure travel vs corporate travel. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the split is 25% corporate and 65% leisure, although Angolan stakeholders believe it is actually the inverse.

“For Angolan TMCs to start attracting international business, they will need to start focusing on their brands and services that meet the specific needs of corporates.”

Swart illustrated the difference between corporate and leisure travel during her presentation. “Leisure travel is holidays and vacations, tours and tourist guides, spending time with family and, most of all, paid by the traveller. This kind of travel is managed by a travel agency.

“Corporate travel is MICE, making money for your company, signing new deals, meeting new business partners, missing your family and, most of all, paid by the company. This kind of travel is management by a Travel Management Company (TMC).”

One of the biggest takeaways was the need to differentiate between corporate and leisure. “There’s nothing wrong with offering leisure services, but you need to clearly differentiate the two in different areas of your website, or even as separate websites so the corporate does not think you are not clear on the difference.”

Swart also suggested that TMCs in Angola secure:

• A company email address, and not Gmail or Yahoo.
• A professional email signature, including various points of contact.
• A professional logo
• Business Cards
• A Google Business Listing

In addition to booking flights and accommodation, TMCs need to manage suppliers and secure preferential rates, says Swart. TMCs in Angola need to support the travel policy of their corporate customers, as well as:

• Provide Data on what is being spent, with whom and to where.
• Duty of Care requirements, including traveller tracking.
• Providing expert advice.
• Providing extras, such as visa assistance, transfers and travel insurance.
• Helping manage the Corporate’s total cost of travel.

Concluding her presentation, Swart highlighted the 12 things that TMCs in Angola should do to attract international corporate business:

1) Understand the difference between a Travel AGENT and a TMC.
2) Get your brand right – Website, Logo, Email address. DIFFERENTIATE!
3) Get your company listed where clients can see it (Google, etc.).
4) Understand the different elements of a Corporate Travel Policy.
5) Manage suppliers – preferential rates versus standard rates.
6) Research different data tools and how to use them for your client.
7) Understand duty of care and traveller safety – how can you help?
8) Identify what makes you ‘different’ – Expert knowledge of the market.
9) Establish partnerships for the ‘Extra’s’: Visa assistance, Transfers, Travel Insurance.
10) Research the concept of ‘Total Cost of Travel’.
11) Stay up to date with global travel trends – read travel publications.
12) Stay informed about new companies coming into Angola and approach them.

The globalised world and ever-changing technology makes it essential for travel agents to evolve, says José Dias Cardoso, General Manager Michelle Angelo, a Luanda-based TMC. “The event exceeded expectations. I learnt a great deal and also had an opportunity to share my knowledge. I hope ABTA returns to Angola more often to share their knowledge.”