Known best for its flagship leisure brand, the Flight Centre Travel Group is one of the world’s largest travel agency groups. It has company-owned operations in 23 countries and a corporate travel management network spanning more than 90 countries. The group aims to provide customers with amazing experiences, working with an extensive list of suppliers to make that possible. Engagement with these suppliers is managed by the group’s Travel Experience Network (TEN). Theirs is a huge responsibility made easier after turning to Salesforce to help streamline and transform the procurement process.
TEN’s suppliers include airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and other travel providers such as touring companies. Its relationships with these suppliers can be complex and involve multiple contracts and rates. For instance, TEN may have one contract with a hotel and another contract with the hotel’s chain. It may also have contracts reflecting special rates for different brands and regions. TEN needed a single platform to manage these relationships and simplify the management of contracts. It also wanted to automate the processes happening down the line like uploading inventory into booking systems.
“As a travel business, we need to be agile in responding to a changing marketplace, and the fragmented processes we had in the past were not aligned to that goal,” said Calvin Goulding, CIO. “We needed to standardize and streamline our processes and conducted an RFP for the best solution. Salesforce ticked all the right boxes and ended up exceeding our expectations in terms of speed to value.”
The implementation was led by PwC, a Salesforce global strategic alliance partner, and it took only nine weeks to roll out a solution to 400 users globally. This rapid timescale was made possible through an agile approach and Salesforce Accelerator sessions and templates. The templates helped TEN standardize workflow and adopt Salesforce with very little customization.
Service Cloud has replaced disparate tools used by TEN’s procurement team to provide a 360-degree view of each supplier, including all of their contracts and past interactions with the Flight Centre Travel Group. The technology also automates workflow surrounding contracts and price negotiations. These processes are now managed as cases with set triggers to keep work flowing between internal teams and TEN’s suppliers. One of these processes helps ensure the best prices for customers by enabling travel agents to initiate rate reviews. For example, if they see one of the hotels used by TEN advertising a lower rate elsewhere, they can request for this to be investigated. A case is automatically assigned to the relevant team and managed in Service Cloud.
Another process that’s been streamlined using Service Cloud is TEN’s annual rate review. In the past this involved procurement sending manual emails to each supplier to confirm rates for the year ahead. Now, a standard template for these emails can be sent automatically. Responses are tracked in Service Cloud and any requested changes trigger a case to be managed by the pricing team.
“We went from a very chaotic way of working to having fully optimized processes which sets us up well for the future,” said Goulding.
TEN’s new streamlined workflow extends to processes like updating inventory and prices in the group’s booking systems and sharing the same information with distribution partners. This is a huge benefit to suppliers as it helps shave a week off the average time for new inventory or pricing to be made available to the market.
A new portal set to go live on Community Cloud will further benefit suppliers by allowing them to raise their own cases, including requests to update rates. The portal will also make it easier for TEN to push information out to suppliers.
Rameez Zubair, Technical Business Analyst at TEN, said, “The portal will help us better engage with our suppliers and be more proactive in our communication. I also believe through the alignment of Salesforce and our strategy we’ll be able to support the group’s journey to digitize its core and improve the experience of customers, partners and employees.”