Due to space considerations, we left out a traditional chart from BTN's travel management company survey, pulled together with the help of the Airlines Reporting Corp., so I'd like to explore it here.
Most travel management companies participating in the ARC-verified program of sharing transaction and sales data with Business Travel News showed further growth in 2012, though rates slowed from recent years. Putting aside those who grew by acquisition, tops on this list was Houston's Frosch International Travel with 11 percent more ARC air transactions than in 2011, followed closely by World Travel Inc. of Pennsylvania at 10.8 percent.
Frosch owner Bryan Leibman attributed the growth to strength in corporate travel thanks to a focus on the basics of meeting client needs, a global approach, partnerships for complementary services like expense or risk management and targeting certain business sectors, such as energy and professional services. Leibman said overall growth was driven more by new client wins than growth among existing customers. He estimated that about two-thirds of those new clients previously used different TMCs, with the remainder signing up Frosch as their first TMC. Frosch generally is active in acquisitions, but was not in 2012.
World Travel executives do not rule out acquisitions, but say they simply haven't needed them. The company sees its biggest growth opportunities among midmarket firms that want to go global. World Travel claims to be the largest driver of revenue globally for the Radius network, which also counts as members some of World Travel's U.S. competitors.
Also among these top 10, Ovation Travel Group outpaced most peers on organic growth, at 6.9 percent, while Omega World Travel's exposure to government travel cuts continued to hurt the company, with ARC air transactions falling 9.5 percent after a 12 percent drop in 2011.
No longer on this list is Protravel, which was acquired by Travel Leaders Group. Directravel returned to the list after not participating in the ARC authorization process last year.