Our background with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a non-profit institution with a staff of about 700 and an operating budget of over USD$55 million. It has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, a principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and offices in West and Southern Africa and in South, Southeast and East Asia.
FCm Travel Solutions took a hands-on approach to deliver a customised travel solution to ILRI and its composite accounts, via a dedicated implant office.
Here's how we made it possible...
In a unique situation, FCm has consolidated five accounts within the ILRI Campus and these are serviced onsite. Four of these accounts are under the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) consortium - a group dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger, improving human health and nutrition, and enhancing ecosystem resilience through agricultural research. These accounts include ILRI, plus the International Potato Centre (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
The FCm team in Nairobi has been managing the travel program of ILRI via an implant office since 2005. This team provides end-to-end corporate travel and expense management services including air travel, airport transfers and car hire, meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE), visa processing and health advisory, travel insurance, vendor negotiation and key account management. FCm provides ILRI with a robust onsite travel program that includes domestic, regional and international travel for their staff and guests from other offices, plus a small amount of staff leisure travel.
ILRI and the composite accounts travel volumes average over USD$4 million per annum (drawn from 2013 figures), which comes from a combination of air travel and other services including transport, meetings and events. The sheer size and volume of this account required expert hands-on management by an experienced Travel Management Company (TMC) with significant resources and experience.
For FCm it has been important to deliver value for money and to demonstrate the benefits of taking a comprehensive approach to their travel needs via a TMC and a set travel policy. From time to time, ILRI staff have been tempted to compare online fares to GDS fares and this has raised the question of cost savings and value.
FCm adopted a range of strategies to effectively manage this complex and busy account.
FCm successfully consolidated the travel programs of five accounts, to provide a range of enhanced high quality services and benefits to the client including significant savings (from the total spend). FCm has also worked hard to demonstrate the benefits of using a TMC for all travel bookings, versus ad hoc online bookings which are often more costly to the organisation in the long run. At the same time, FCm has committed to regularly comparing rates between GDS and online fares.
Due to the volume of travel involved, FCm maintains an in-house travel office within
the ILRI Campus to centrally manage the entire travel operation. This customised solution provides a number of mutual benefits including:
- a comprehensive understanding of ILRI’s unique needs, issues and culture
- booking efficiencies, accuracy and streamlining of approval processes
- relationship management – the development of close and multi-level relationships, supported by FCm’s key account management
- provision of the best deals to leisure travellers for both inbound and outbound through FCm’s Tours Department.
FCm has proactive, volume-driven vendor negotiation strategies in place to deliver cost savings and value for money. Because FCm understands ILRI’s travel volumes and trends, they have been able to negotiate with suppliers to deliver exclusive corporate discounted fares and to strategically align airline market shares to drive cost savings and value for money.
Having an FCm implant within the ILRI Campus, has resulted in better communication, personal service and a greater overall understanding of the organisation’s travel needs. Being on-site has enabled more efficient and effective direct feedback between the client and FCm, allowing any issues which arise to be addressed more quickly. Cost savings have also been delivered through a robust MIS reporting system which is reviewed monthly and action plans agreed upon.
“Our relationship with you over the years has grown and we continue to see marked improvements on service delivery. There is however, a need to demonstrate cost savings and value for money, in light of the recent comparisons with online fares”.