NEW YORK -- Travel Leaders Network is applying its lead-generation
technology to the corporate side of the business, playing matchmaker between
corporations and travel management companies.
The program was announced
during the network's annual news conference here Tuesday.
"We have been extremely successful in lead generation
for leisure travel -- individuals looking for an expert in cruise or Alaska or
bike riding or whatever it might be," said Roger Block, president of Travel
Leaders Network. "We're taking that same technology, those same learnings,
that we have developed over the last seven or eight years on the leisure side,
and we're going to be launching that for corporate accounts that are looking
for a new TMC."
Block said TMCs often hire corporate salespeople as
employees, which can be a large expense. Flying that team across the country to
meet with potential new clients adds to that expense.
"If we can identify corporations that are looking for a
TMC, identify their needs and then match them with a TMC that provides those
services, that's going to be a win for the corporation as well as for our
agency," he said.
Travel Leaders Network's matchmaking efforts entail looking
at a number of factors to tie the right corporate account to the right agency,
including the corporate account's vertical. For instance, an oil drilling
company might prefer to work with an agency that has worked with other oil
drilling companies and has experience with that type of travel.
Block said the service is expected to launch this quarter.
There will be a tiered fee for agencies to participate. The first, less expensive
tier is for pure lead-generation services. For agencies who opt for the second tier,
Travel Leaders Network will handle the corporate sale directly for the agency,
something about one-third of agencies want, Block said.
On the leisure side, Travel Leaders Network uses its Agent
Profiler system -- a detailed listing of agents and their specialties on
TravelLeaders.com -- to drive leads.
In 2016, there were nearly 100,000 leads delivered through
the system. 2017 brought a 27% increase in leads to nearly 130,000, according
to Jeremy Van Kuyk, vice president of technology for Travel Leaders Group.
John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure
Group, said agents' close rates on those leads have been steady at around
Also on the corporate side, "bleisure" travel --
business travel with a leisure component -- is booming.
The category is growing "exponentially," Lovell
said, and oftentimes agencies with both corporate and leisure divisions are passing
corporate travelers off to their leisure divisions to collaboratively arrange
for a "bleisure" trip.