Duty of Care: Meon Valley Travel Group
An Early Adopter: Meon Valley Travel
Julian Munsey is an experienced man.
He began his journey in the business travel space with Hillgate Travel, progressing through operations, account management, and strategic development, before ultimately becoming Head of Sales.
As part of the subsequent sale to Reed and Mackay, he became Senior Manager for Strategy and Consulting before stepping in and securing the Group Sales Director position at Meon Valley Travel in the early part of 2021.
He knows a thing or two about our industry.
As an early adopter of our new duty of care solution, we wanted to pick Julian’s brains on what it means to be an early adopter, the long-lasting relationship between Travelogix and Meon Valley, and the importance of technologies that take duty of care as seriously as we do.
Travelogix: So, let us dive in, why Travelogix?
Julian: From my industry experience, Travelogix are different from most tech suppliers I have come across. They have their ears open to the customer’s needs and innovate in line with that requirement. Small technology firms can sometimes be caught up in the here and now, but Travelogix are always looking down the track at innovations that can solve the problems of tomorrow.
For me, as a customer, I know that the Travelogix team are listening and that is something I deeply value.
When I engage with prospective clients, I always like to demonstrate the technology that we can offer. Service will of course be experienced. But the technology side of things is tangible and the Travelogix products are vibrant, exciting, and engaging.
Travelogix: We are seeing two things cement their importance in the travel industry post-pandemic: duty of care and sustainability. Why do you think that is?
Julian: I believe that duty of care, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and savings make up the four pillars of a post-pandemic travel programme. But I’ll focus on duty of care and sustainability for the moment.
With net zero targets to be achieved by 2030, to get anywhere close to that, we need data to manage this piece effectively and accurately. It will take true behavioral change to make this achievable.
Solutions like offsetting will only be effective if a myriad of other practices are to be included such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), greener choices down the supply chain, and re-thinking what responsible travel means in 2021 without impacting the world economies to their detriment. These are all crucial in our race to net zero.
Secondly, duty of care has never been higher on the agenda for companies and TMCs alike. The recent global event in Covid-19 has increased this need across the industry.
Travel is more complex now or there are many moving parts to simply taking a trip overseas these days. Making sure travellers are safe and well-informed 24/7 is a crucial offering as we move into life post-pandemic. Travellers will become more central to travel policies and duty of care SLAs.
Travelogix: Do you think this heightened value on both sustainability and duty of care will continue?
Julian: Absolutely. No question. For the next 12 to 18 months, duty of care will not only become best practice but almost seen as a prerequisite by many – from TMCs through to corporates.
We will be adapting our lives so that we are able to live with the virus (and its variants), so it will be needed now more than ever. Duty of care always increases in its value and importance in line with large-scale global events.
The pandemic has forced these two important topics to the very top of the list for all companies who travel.
Travelogix: Could you outline Meon Travel’s stance on duty of care and the active role the company is playing to offer up a solution to its clients.
Julian: Issues that involve our customers are issues we take very seriously. Ensuring our customers have total peace of mind is a core component of our service proposition.
To be able to offer proactive assistance is the point of difference between systems that are effective and those that are not.
At Meon Valley Travel, we aim to:
Immediately understand that a global event has taken place.
Use data to identify who may be affected.
Effectively communicate with the traveller and, if required, be proactive and creative with the response that we provide.
Due to the nature of time zones and true global business travel management, the responsibility cannot just sit on the shoulders of the travel managers.
These processes can, and will be, made easier by robust and accurate technology – like the new Travelogix duty of care platform.
Travelogix: Please talk to me about the importance of becoming an early adopter for Travelogix, and more specifically, the duty of care product you will be using.
Julian: Having a uniquely joined-up approach is essential for any technology solution to be truly efficient.
In the past, we have had separate pieces of technology, like tracking tools, but the new Travelogix product provides us with a single technology that mitigates any complications from a client viewpoint. It’s all in one place.
When I present our offering to prospective clients, I talk about service and standards, but these are things you would naturally experience once the management of your business travel is underway. The technology I demonstrate is a tangible example of our capabilities.
We feel incredibly proud to be working with Travelogix as an early adopter. The feedback was welcomed, and we really feel like this is going to be a core offering for our business and sales efforts going into a recovering travel market.
Travelogix: Regarding the platform, how will this help you realise your duty of care objectives?
Julian: Our objectives are centered around one simple idea: the one system approach. A single platform that encompasses all the products needed for effective business travel management.
This platform assists us in achieving our objectives when it comes to duty of care. It allows us to track, locate, and communicate with our travellers when situations arise.
When it comes to data, Travelogix provides one single point of truth.
We needed a modular approach that will provide scalability. We can sharpen the offering for our clients as we go forward, which is a rare and quite unique relationship to have with a technology partner.
Travelogix: Where does this project leave Meon compared to other TMCs in the business travel space?
Julian: All TMCs will claim to be innovative and creative. However, Meon has been critical in the early development stages of this product, which truly highlights our willingness to be forward-thinking and innovative in our own right.
Travelogix invited us to provide crucial input due to our industry experience and we genuinely feel that in doing this, it separates us from many other TMCs.
Travelogix unveil their new duty of care solution at their biennial client assembly in Birmingham on 24 November 2021. You can sign up to attend here and view all the information pertaining to its running order and theme.