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Michael Guiette on Travel Industry

Meet Michael, Unit4's Travel Expert

Posted by  Chris Jennings

We are opening the door to Michael Guiette’s (Senior Presales Consultant of Sabre CentralCommand with Unit4) experience of working with Travel Management Companies for over 20 years. Michael uncovers the change pressures in the travel industry, the problem with legacy systems, how they can improve, and what they can gain by switching to Sabre CentralCommand by Unit4.

What are change pressures for the travel industry?

The travel industry over the past 10 to15 years has seen a lot of consolidation. We’ve seen businesses that have been trying to hold on to market share, trying to find ways to utilize their people better all while consolidating different lines of business such as leisure and corporate travel.

What are the factors within their organization that pressures them to do better?

I think that the service cost is a big driver.  20 years ago travel agencies earned money primarily from their suppliers, but that model has transitioned to more of a service-oriented model and growing revenue by selling the services they offer. The new business shift requires employees to focus and work on different tasks. The challenge that management faces is restructuring or repurposing their employees to align with these new business goals and updating their processes. With a large scale workforce, it’s not easy to promote their business, while maintaining a cost factor low enough to stay in business.

What kind of roadblocks do users run into when they are faced with their existing IT infrastructure?

Due to the paradigm shift I just mentioned and legacy systems TMC’s have continued to use, workarounds become processes. People will find the easiest shortcut they can because traditional travel systems don’t meet their needs. Users become complacent and okay with a few extra steps in order to get the job done. It’s not an efficient or effective way to the job. This also leads to errors in the data, less reliable reporting and high a high cost to the business when you think the attrition rates in the industry and training new staff.

How does Sabre CentralCommand by Unit4 answer to the challenges TMC’s face?

The transition to CentralCommand allows TMC’s to create efficient processes that they can automate and replicate. CentralCommand lets the agency run their business the way they want to and respond to new business models and approaches without all the workarounds. TMC’s can also streamline their IT infrastructure, meaning they can cut down on a number of IT systems it takes to run their business. They can integrate their travel and reservation business (along with multiple other businesses) with their financial accounting. With all businesses integrated with their financial health, they then can produce integral and easy to read reporting and dashboards for their internal and external customers – a win-win situation.

Another benefit, and what we hear from our customers all the time, is that they can do more for their business with less. From creating efficient processes and automating them through the system, employees take on more value-added work and responsibility. Typically, we’ve seen agencies have to throw time and money at problems and what we’ve heard from our CentralCommand customers is that they’re able to do is address those problems more efficiently.

The combination of Sabre’s travel platform and Unit4’s People Platform provides the agility for TMC to be able to look at the best ways to run their business and then adapt CentralCommand to their own processes and new business goals.

What keeps you coming into work at Unit4 every day?

Oh gosh, it’s fun. You know, everybody has always told me, if you love what you do, then coming to work isn’t a job. So that’s really what it’s about. For me, I learn something new about CentralCommand and Unit4 Business World On! every single day, and for somebody who’s always looking for the next best thing, I don’t have to look. I don’t know what I am going to need to know tomorrow but with CentralCommand I don’t worry about it either. And our customers shouldn’t either.

Chris Jennings

Chris is the Marketing and Event Coordinator at Unit4 in North America. He’s interested in travelling, industry trends, and sports.