Expert insight

Our mission is to help businesses work, meet and travel smarter

3 September 2018 by James Parkhouse

By mixing tech, behavioural science and expertise, we offer the perfect solution for savvy businesses explains James Parkhouse.

Capita is an entrepreneurial organisation with a history of looking at different markets and spotting gaps. We are curious – constantly asking if we can provide UK plc with something that isn’t being provided, even if that means exploring areas we’ve had little grounding in. For Capita Travel and Events, however, we merely had to look around us. After all, who better than businesspeople to know when businesspeople aren’t being adequately catered for?

That was the case with the travel, meetings management and events sectors. We knew from experience that there were a few huge global players serving the market, and plenty of smaller companies, many with long-standing relationships to other suppliers. We were also aware that businesses had a heavy domestic spend but not a huge amount of choice in suppliers. 

We recognised that companies needed not only a provider with negotiating clout which can manage at scale, but also the spark, creativity and relationships small independents provide. At Capita Travel and Events, we could see what was missing: a huge gap in the middle for a company that truly understands the mechanics of British business and is constantly helping them work smarter.

Many companies spend a small fortune moving people around the UK via our dense rail and motorway networks; it’s a major part of their travel, meetings and event spend. We realised they weren’t being catered to and that’s why we stepped in. Every year our customers spend a combined £300m on accommodation, so what we don’t know about the sector isn’t worth knowing. And one thing we’ve found for certain is there’s little to be gained from a travel arranger shopping around for a hotel or serviced apartment that charges £100 a night, rather than £110 – especially once the time cost is factored in.

Saving you money

But we’re also very interested in the factors behind expenditure. The sort of questions we’re encouraging customers to ask themselves are: “I’m spending £100k – or £15m – a year on travel and accommodation, but am I spending the right £100k or £15m? Are these meetings necessary? Should I even be travelling?”

That might sound self-defeating for a travel management company – after all, the more travelling a customer does, the more money we ought to make, but we don’t see ourselves that way. For instance, rather than profiting every time the company spends on travel, we might charge our customer a percentage of the money we can save them instead. That way, their interests and ours are properly aligned. We look at what our customers want and come up with ways we can offer it to them.

We use a combination of behavioural science, expertise and pioneering technology to work out a range of options based around cost and impact, highlighting where savings can be made – whether it’s £10 or £200. People like being able to come back with a good price – but they also like knowing they’re in charge. We’re giving customers the tools to make better decisions.

We don’t sell ourselves as a travel company or a stand-alone venue-find or events agency. We’re an intermediary, and an intermediary who sits between buyers and sellers has to add value. We facilitate, we aggregate and we develop relationships based on trust. We want our customers to understand how we work, but, equally, we love surprising and delighting our customers through giving our events the wow factor – we pull out all the stops to make our customers look good.

Of course, we handle the basics, but we do so much more than that – we help you travel smart and work with you to grow your business into an even better one.


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