News of a new travel consultancy made the rounds today. Travel consultants come and go, about as often as travel managers lose their jobs. What makes this announcement noteworthy is that the consultancy is launched by GetThere, and is headed by Duane Futch and GeThere’s EMEA Director Jason Geall.
GetThere is a leading provider of self-booking tools, and is owned by Sabre, a major player in the travel technology industry. Futch was Wal-Mart’s head of travel management, where he won the prestigious Travel Manager of the Year award from Business Travel News. Between Sabre’s money, GetThere’s customer base and Futch’s street credibility, this consultancy has some good ingredients.
What’s not yet clear is how this consultancy will compete against the consulting arms of the major TMCs (American Express, Carlson Wagonlit, BCD Travel’s Advito). The TMCs are powerful distribution partners for GetThere. Consulting revenues are very important to the TMCs (an understatement, in these tough times). GetThere says that the business will initially focus on European clients, but if it works there, I’d expect them to target U.S. firms pretty quickly.
Something that is clear, to me anyway, is that Concur, GetThere’s biggest rival, will need to ante up its consulting services or risk losing some competitive ground. Will these new consultants generate significant value for their clients, or will all this end up as window dressing in the value-add department? That, gentle reader, is not yet clear.