Travel and Transport
Founded in 1946, Travel and Transport has grown into the fifth-largest travel management company in the United States. It serves clients throughout the country and around the world. Travel and Transport offers corporate travel solutions and vacation planning services designed to create one-of-a-kind experiences for corporate and leisure customers.
“We were the first company that offered group tours to Europe right after World War II,” Chief Operating Officer Tim Fleming says. “For many years, we were predominantly a leisure and tour company for trips to Europe. We became more involved in corporate travel in the 1970s and 1980s, and now our primary focus is on corporate business, working with many top companies around the world in a number of industries. Leisure is still a major part of what we do, and we focus a lot of energy on earning leisure business from our corporate accounts.”
Today, Travel and Transport is a full-service travel management company that offers an array of corporate and leisure travel solutions. It also has a meeting and incentive division as well as a loyalty division that creates personalized engagement solutions. “We are well diversified from an industry standpoint,” Fleming says.
Headquartered in Omaha, Neb., the company is staffed by a team of employees with strong travel backgrounds and an understanding of how to make a difference in travel management and planning. Travel and Transport has been an ESOP since 1991, a characteristic that the company believes empowers its employee-owners to make decisions that will positively impact clients, operations and the industry.
Travel and Transport has also grown through acquisition, as when it acquired Ultramar Travel Management in late 2012. The acquisition allowed the two major travel organizations to increase purchasing power while retaining their respective brand identities, customer service orientation and leading edge technology solutions.
Because of its long legacy in the travel industry, Travel and Transport understands its changing nature. It has seen the advent of new technologies, expanded destinations and additional regulations. The company deals with these challenges successfully by taking a traveler-centric approach to devising travel solutions.
For corporate and leisure travelers, Travel and Transport sees itself as navigators and travel experts that aim to fully understand its clients’ objectives and goals. By aligning its offerings with their goals, it can put its expertise to use in ways that will maximize its travel programs.
Travel and Transport understands that personal interaction and relationship building are critical when it comes to establishing ties to clients. The web has changed the travel industry dramatically, and simple transactions like booking airline tickets are easily done online. That change led to a decline in leisure business for point-to-point airline tickets. But the company is now seeing a change as more travelers learn the perils of booking a vacation without the assistance of an experienced travel advisor.
At Travel and Transport, travel advisors are empowered to serve as advocates who can rectify any travel related situation that comes up. “The web is a good resource for information, but a travel advisor can impact the quality of a vacation,” Fleming says. “If a trip goes awry, that is precious time you can’t get back. Travel advisors can help people know that they are booking in the right place and at the right time, and travelers are placing value on that expertise.”
On more complex trips, the company is seeing a shift away from total reliance on the web. The company feels that collaboration can provide more of what a traveler really needs.
Because of the company’s size, it has a significant amount of buying power that it can leverage from its corporate operations onto the leisure side of the business. It is also part of Virtuoso, an exclusive network of travel agencies and advisers who create vacations for customers. In fact, Travel and Transport was one of the founding members of Virtuoso, then known as Allied Percival International, in 1986.
“Virtuoso is an invitation-only network that includes the top leisure and travel companies in the world,” Fleming says. “Less than 2 percent of travel companies are part of the network. Our size and connections help us to create the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can help travelers manage their time and travel investments wisely.”
Tools of the Trade
Investments in technology are a major part of Travel and Transport’s strategy for success. Of its 1,100 employees, about 10 percent are dedicated IT experts. This team is responsible for the creation of tools designed to help customers enjoy their trips.
“We have our own mobile tool for itinerary management, and we are continuously enhancing its offerings,” Fleming says. “We also have tools that provide customers with mapping capabilities and the ability to manage the check-in process.”
In the future, Travel and Transport believes adventure-type travel will continue to expand as baby boomers retire and younger generations look for more experiential and adventure travel opportunities.
In addition, river cruising is gaining in popularity. Travel and Transport is positioned well to serve clients looking for traditional and non-traditional destinations, as the expertise of its travel advisors in many different markets will be important to the company’s success.
“There is more sophistication and knowledge from consumers today because of the web,” Fleming says. “Our collaborative approach will help us serve members of future generations that want to be part of the planning process.”