Selective Travel Management, headquartered in Belfast but serving organisations across the UK and Ireland, has been quick to capitalise on the rising confidence of the business community as it prepares once again to take to the skies, post-pandemic.
During lockdown Selective successfully tendered for major high profile contracts including NI Government, Government Framework in Kent, NEST Corporation and the University of Sunderland, delivering an estimated value to the company of c. £135M.
Managing Director Keith Graham says, “Travel was one of the first sectors to feel the commercial impact of the pandemic and it has, arguably, been one of the hardest hit, with tourism taking the brunt of the blow. Full recovery will obviously take considerable time and may prove patchy across the world but, in business travel terms, we are beginning to feel that the worst is behind us.
“After a year plus in lockdown many businesses and organisations are recognising that, despite their obvious convenience, virtual connections cannot totally replace face-to-face meetings, site visits, product inspections or networking sorties. Many of our existing customers have already been testing the waters with limited, essential travel, and we see that pattern ramping up swiftly as more countries get the green light. Business leaders are desperate to make up for lost time and they are planning ahead; corporate travel is back on their business agenda.”
Covid continues to colour travel plans however, and not only in terms of red, amber or green ratings. Selective has responded by forging key covid-testing partnerships with Randox and Qured and providing real-time advice and information across technology platforms which are instantly accessible to its travelling customers.
Growing market confidence has been reflected for Selective Travel Management in a spate of retained and new contract wins over the past year, with new SME business spread across a range of sectors. Notably, Selective has retained significant contracts within Higher Education, reinforcing its acknowledged strength in this growing specialist sector.
Significantly, the company also retained the Northern Ireland Government Contract and, in addition, was one of three Travel Management Companies to win a place on a new UK Government framework which will operate as a ‘select list’ for Government-related travel across the UK. Selective has the advantage of being ranked as Number 1 Supplier but will compete in a series of ‘mini competitions’ for travel business which may incorporate Councils, Police, Health Bodies, and Central Government Departments.
Keith Graham says, “This expansion of our Government Division strengthens our expertise on Government Contracts and paves the way for other opportunities in Europe as well as the UK. This year we are ranked #22 in Europe’s leading Travel Management Companies. That is a solid and enviable position but we remain ambitious and we are determined, and ideally positioned, to grow and develop still further.
“We have used the time in lockdown wisely, and our business ‘war chest’ gave us security to weather the storm and the scope to continue to invest in inhouse technology and to update our technology platforms. We further developed our Traveller Tracking and Traveller Profile Suite and launched an enhanced self-booking tool, featuring everything from the latest Covid information to lowest carbon options. We also introduced mobile app and risk management software which have been key for travel during the pandemic. All our IT developments are our own Intellectual Property which gives us vital standout in a technologically-aware market sector.”
Armed with renewed ambition and firmly focused on the future, Selective Travel Management has embraced new growth goals for 2022 and backed them with new work practices. “The economic impact of the pandemic has been such that we cannot expect simply to pick up where we left off,“ says Keith. “If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it is that success belongs to those who meet problems with agility, adaptability and determination.”