MacNair Travel Management of Alexandria, VA, a privately owned American Express Representative Office, is celebrating its 20th anniversary by noting the agency’s strong growth in two decades of travel management and vacation planning services. MacNair Travel reports it has grown to over 50 employees, booking 65,000 airline tickets, 28,000 car and hotel reservations, and creating 1,000 vacations. It also manages 25,000 travelers and 300 corporate customers on an annual basis.
"The economy has been tough but we are in the money saving business and that's a good one to be in," MacNair Travel's CEO and President Michael MacNair says. Most impressive to MacNair is the $33 million in annualized air savings the firm delivers to its clients compared to the national domestic and international ticket costs as compiled by Topaz International.
MacNair said convincing companies to manage and procure travel versus allowing travel anarchy has been the biggest challenge he has faced in 20 years. “"I am still working on this challenge, but I wrote a book [Smooth Landings] on the subject, provide educational webinars to customers and prospects and I am an outspoken advocate for travel management procurement practices," he said. "We have been showing companies how to manage these costs and then doing it for them resulting in 15-20 percent savings per year on a consistent basis."
Reflecting on 20 years in business, MacNair notes that his business model completely changed from being paid by suppliers to being paid by customers. MacNair's customers are more educated and, as a result, MacNair's service, advice, tools, technology and even their technology team have had to keep ahead of what's readily available.
"At first, being able to back big online public sites made travel easy for customers, but not recently," he said. "It is hard for companies to control, monitor and support what their travelers are doing. Our corporate customers have become larger corporations needing systems development and an integrated travel management solution that saves time and money, ensures support, and delivers control for this second largest controllable cost for the average US firm."
One tool MacNair Travel employs to ensure cost savings is offering an integrated online and call-in reservation service. "Our online tool offers more fares and more airlines than any one source," he explains. "We offer all these choices and then make sure we drive travelers to what the organization wants them to take. We then support these reservations well and help report on the costs."