World Travel Inc. and U.K. company Clarity Travel Management have launched a joint venture, One Global Travel.
The company unites travel management companies around the world in a "community" to better service World Travel clients in local marketplaces. Clarity and Exton, Pa,-based World Travel (No. 20 on Travel Weekly's 2022 Power List) each have a 50% stake in the venture.
The "community" is one of travel agencies that are similar to World Travel in a number of areas, like service level agreements and pricing, said World Travel executive vice president of business development and marketing Michael Farrell.
One Global Travel members will help service travelers in their local language, with local GDS content. But their company only needs to enter into a contract with World Travel.
"Our commitment to each other is that we're not in this to make money for a Radius or an American Express. Obviously, everybody in business is there to make money, but for ourselves, and using each other's strengths to help us do that," Farrell said. "That's why it's a community, because as one, World Travel cannot serve our customers globally without this community. But with the community, we're very capable and successful in doing so."
The idea for One Global Travel was born when World Travel exited Radius Travel, a global network of travel management companies. (World Travel remains a Virtuoso member for the leisure portion of its business).
Farrell said World Travel was a member of Radius for a number of years, including when Radius was purchased by Travel and Transport in 2018. Corporate Travel Management later acquired Travel and Transport and Radius in 2020.
Both agencies opted to leave Radius at that point, as CTM is a competitor for both World Travel and Clarity. World Travel considered a number of other corporate travel networks, Farrell said, but none felt like the right choice.
"None fit what we really wanted, which was to not make it a money-making opportunity or a commercial opportunity for that hierarchy, but to truly service our customers globally and grow organically because of that, not because we're charging high membership fees," he said.
According to Farrell, World Travel is hoping to grow One Global Travel to between 20 and 25 members around the world. It already has members in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. Members are brought on through invitation, Farrell said, and pay a "very nominal membership fee" to cover things like One Global Travel's infrastructure.
The joint venture is being run by general manager Jodie Gentles, who brings more than 17 years of experience in the travel industry. She worked most recently at Radius.
One Global Travel has its own technology platform that will encompass a traveler profile system, reporting, client onboarding and online booking where possible.
World Travel's focus remains on small- to medium-sized companies, which Farrell described as ideal clients for the past 39 years.
"We're not looking to service accounts that have $100 million in global air spend," he said. "We're looking more in that small- to medium-sized businesses that have global locations in 20 local markets and not 60 local markets. We'll leave them to the mega agencies; that's their space, and they should be working with those major companies. But our market has always been small- to medium-sized."