In a capital city that prides itself on its financial services sector, it’s no surprise that Wings Travel Management‘s London office looks after a large slice of hedge funds, private equity and asset management companies, along with spin-off companies such as fintech firms that underpin London’s vibrant economy.
Over 300 such financial services concerns and city institutions rely on Wings to ensure that their senior board members get to investor meetings and exploratory site visits for potential investments on time and in comfort. Over 80% of them have been stayed loyal to Wings for more than five years.
Not for these travellers the impersonal self-booking tool to book their travel; Wings has carved out an enviable niche in the TMC world to service these executives with a particular brand of high-touch personal service.
“Many are Senior or C-Level travellers with complex requirements and high expectations,” says Richard Turpin, Director of Account Development and Consulting at Wings Travel Management.
They want certain seats on the aircraft, will often change their ticketing arrangements while travelling, and will usually book at short notice, often within seven days of departure. (See panel for the more unusual requests).
“It’s a dynamic sector,” says Turpin. “These clients know what they want as many travel every week and any personal preferences that aren’t met can magnify into major irritants. They are normally working within tight time constraints, so all the little touches that we can build in, such as seamless ground arrangements and transfers, are important.”
The spectrum of individual client requests can be diverse and non-standard, including chartering a helicopter. Which enabled a client to view four potential investment properties, geographically spread throughout the UK, in a single day.
Flight destinations are worldwide, with a bias towards the world’s financial centres, from Frankfurt, New York and San Francisco to Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo. Travel is usually in premium cabins and accommodation in four and five-star hotels. Often Wings is able to utilise its own private airfares and special preferred hotel rates, driving large cost savings for clients. Understandably, if a traveller is paying multiple pounds to fly long haul to New York or San Francisco, they want their travel experience to be seamless, arriving at their end destination in the right frame of mind to do business.
Itineraries are often complex and multi-sector in nature which is why Wings’ full-service provision, with round-the-clock access to experienced, senior operations staff, ticks all the boxes.
Wings ensures that the right airline seats and hotel room types are booked, at the best possible prices and that where required, appropriate meeting rooms are also sourced and secured. Where the airline doesn’t provide complimentary ground transfers, included within the air ticket price, Wings can organise a standalone transfers. VIPs can even be picked up from the doors of their aircraft.
VIMATM (Wings’ own virtual itinerary management mobile app), helps to keep travellers fully abreast of pertinent flight information, such as status and schedule changes. This provides useful live updates at the travellers’ fingertips, allowing them to make informed decisions.
For those travelling to less stable regions, Wings’ goSecureTM and goSecure+TM tools come into their own, alerting travellers to potential hazards and threats, both pre-trip and during travel. These help Wings clients to meet their Duty of Care obligations.
“We’ve built very strong relationships over many years with these companies and they know we have their backs and are always available to them should there be travel disruptions, such as the recent spate of Eurostar problems,” says Turpin.
Executive Assistants (EAs) are the usual conduit between Wings and the traveller, while the company’s full out-of-hours service gives worldwide 24/7 coverage, kicking-in outside of normal day office hours. This means should the traveller need assistance they or their EA can call from any time zone, at any time of day, and personal assistance will be at the other end of the phone to respond accordingly. That’s service for you.