Syngenta Crop Protection aims to cut out middle men with online travel tool

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 November 2014

The head of travel buying at Syngenta Crop Protection wants to develop an online system that cuts costs by bypassing travel management companies (TMCs) and global distribution systems (GDSs).

Peter Brodbeck, head of global travel management at Syngenta Crop Protection, told a webinar he wanted the system to feed into the company’s expenses system to improve policy compliance.

“The goal is everything to do with travel should start in one place,” he said. “The system should decide which should be booked online and offline and then feed into the expenses system to see if people are following the policy.”

Brodbeck said the system would have access to varied online content as well as direct contact with airlines and hotel chains to “overcome discussions with travellers [who say] ‘I can find it cheaper on the internet’”.

“I am hoping by having direct lines into airlines and hotels we will bypass GDS, we will bypass the TMC,” he said. “My hope is we will be able to negotiate better rates because GDS is a cost factor for the supplier. If we eliminate that part I’m hoping to get favourable rates from suppliers.”

The webinar, hosted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, heard that technologies such as taxi service Uber and Airbnb, which allows people to rent out rooms in their homes, were changing the landscape.

“I don’t see an issue with Uber; I am thinking of using this,” said Brodbeck. “I am a bit more concerned with couch surfing and Airbnb for business. This would be a no-go for safety reasons.”

David Meyer, travel services lead for the Nordic region at Accenture Workplace Solutions, said: “Travel insurance: does it cover if someone stays on the sofa of a stranger?

“We are not yet prepared for the apps that are out there but we need to face the fact these apps are here to stay and will only become more and more important.”

Marijke Poppink, EMEA travel manager, global procurement at Reed Elsevier, said her company would consider using the technology that allows people to share private cars. “I have just shared my personal car,” she said. “I think the technology behind these sharing platforms, sharing the personal car, [is such] that I can’t imagine we would not have something like this on the corporate side.”

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