Keeping a close eye on travel costs, looking for efficiencies in procurement, managing travel costs and ways for staff to travel most effectively, will be a top priority in the African region during 2018, according to Wings Travel Management. As a specialist travel provider, Wings forecasts that oil prices will continue to climb steadily in 2018, barring any major disruptive geopolitical influences. This would reignite investment in oil and gas exploration, which energy clients put on hold at the start of the energy sector downturn in 2014. As a result, Wings anticipates travel spend by oil and gas clients to increase by 2019.
“Unprofitable rigs will now become more profitable in areas like West Coast Africa, where knock on effects impact travel positively,” says Frank Palapies, Wings Travel Management COO for Africa and the Middle East. “Oil and Gas also has a ripple effect to the corporate travel sector specifically in associated and related industries, as was evidently seen in 2014.”
For those procuring travel, the choice to alternatively source airfares and hotel rates is becoming easier. Our role as a specialist travel management company is to help clients keep travel costs down in terms of airfares and hotel rates.
“Using our technology not only to source the best fares but also to streamline the booking process saves more time and ultimately cost to the client. This provides us with the ability to simplify complexities and reduce total cost of ownership,” says Palapies.
Wings Travel Management is also forecasting an even greater focus on traveller safety, not only due to the ongoing threat of terrorism, but also geopolitical instability which will add to the complexities of travel in 2018, making personal safety and duty of care a top priority for companies. Natural disasters like hurricanes or volcanoes, will also add to the complexities of travel, warns Wings.
“It goes without saying that safety will still be a priority given the nature of the destinations that energy sector companies are sending their travellers to,” says Palapies. “That includes airline safety, ground transport, transfers and the associated risks. Travellers want to get in and out as quickly and safely as possible. We are therefore encouraging our clients to make use of technology tools such as our goSecure risk management solution and VIMA mobile app.”
Mozambique, where Wings established operations in 2017, will also see increased traffic as the TMC’s energy sector client’s move into this market following the discovery of some 85 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, said to be the most significant find in a decade.
“For our Government sector, as it is post elections in SA, we anticipate stability in travel in 2018,” adds Palapies.
Fees on airfares and hotels will see an increase, as the fuel surcharge would affect this greatly.
2017 was a landmark year for Wings as in addition to commencing operations in Mozambique; the company expanded its presence in the Asia Pacific region with the acquisition of a majority stake in Olympia Travels & Tours in Singapore and also celebrated its 25th anniversary. Founded in 1992 by CEO Tony Sofianos, the TMC’s global reach has grown from humble beginnings with one office in Johannesburg, to become a US$325M global provider of travel and support services, headquartered in London, with 16 wholly owned and managed operations in North America, South America, UK/Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.