Case Study: Last Minute Travel Arrangements
Coventry-based Expert Tooling & Automation relies on Travel Counsellors for their last-minute travel arrangements
Travel Counsellor Suzanne Barney is surrounded by engineering companies where she’s based in Coventry and it was only a matter of time before at least one of them would materialise into a client. And so it is that Expert Tooling & Automation, the UK's leading manufacturer of industrial automation systems, assembly tooling and robotic assembly to the automotive, aerospace, medical and energy sectors, among others, relies on Travel Counsellors for its travel bookings. What began as a visa service for the sales personnel five years ago has grown into a fully- edged travel service. The company’s project managers were then travelling on contracts to unlikely places in Russia and China, although a current project in the Netherlands means a more traditional service.
“I book their flights their Eurotunnel and hotels,” explains Suzanne. “It’s been 30 guys going out at different times, with a lot of changes, seven days a week including Bank Holidays and weekends. It’s been quite complicated as bookings are often left until the last minute and there are cancellations and name changes. It’s been quite full-on but we’ve kept on top of it,” she explains. Travel Counsellors’ group department is able to seamlessly deal with the hotel bookings, while Suzanne ensures that those arriving from different airports leave and arrive at the same time so that ground arrangement are more cost efficient.
"Suzanne’s input is invaluable to the efficient running of our global business,” says Jack Bland, Project Engineer at Expert Tooling & Automation, “Our project managers and technicians need to get to where our project is, on time and in good shape, with changes often made at a moment’s notice; Suzanne delivers that without a fuss.” Expert’s travel policy is for a balance of convenience over price. "We try to get them out on an early flight say, at 06.50am on a Monday so they can go straight to work. I then arrange late check-out at the hotel and breakfast packs and get them home at weekends.
“The nature of our business is such that we need our guys to move fast but also keeping the bookings as efficient as possible. Overall, the aim is to keep costs as low as possible, however; our travel policy is not absolutely set in stone and there can be a fair amount of flexibility built in,” explains Jack, “We’d rather pay slightly more for the flight and get them there, make the most of their time in the day, and keep our clients happy.”
“My client doesn’t want to be bombarded with quotes, they just want it done but I tell them if the airfare is really high,” explains Suzanne. “I also gave my client a spreadsheet of all the flight times between Dusseldorf and Birmingham so they can see which flights would suit and make the decision. It’s more efficient.”
“Quite frankly, I don’t know how we would find the time to arrange the travel, especially on this project, if we didn’t have Suzanne. She does a magnificent job for us.”
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