Travel and Transport's equity position in Radius might have been enough to favor the network over rival GlobalStar in T&T's review after last year's acquisition of Ultramar Travel Management. But a T&T-led change in which U.S. members as of January took more control over sales and account management for business networked through Radius also sweetened the pot, according to T&T president and CEO Bill Tech. Not a factor, he said, was the mid-April replacement of Radius CEO Chris Vasiliou by CFO Shannon Hyland.
Travel and Transport on Monday announced plans to stick with Radius, a relationship that was reconsidered in light of Ultramar's longstanding and deep relationship with GlobalStar. Tech will remain on the Radius board. Support will continue for Ultramar clients using GlobalStar partners, while new bids going out after October will offer only Radius as the company's preferred global solution.
Tech and Ultramar president and CEO Peter Klebanow during an interview noted that the ownership position was a big factor. T&T is one of three major owners in Radius, along with Portman Travel of the United Kingdom and Cox and Kings in India. "We invested millions into Radius over the last four years and we're starting to see some good technology and some global reporting to set the stage for the future," said Tech.
Radius has about 65 people while GlobalStar has 15, which Tech said was not in itself "better, but it just means Radius does more themselves." As of January, however, the eleven U.S. members of Radius began directing their own account management for business that is networked through Radius. Members had expressed competitive concerns about sharing the same sales and account management personnel. Member agencies pay Radius for representation in other countries.
The new model more closely mimics the approach at GlobalStar, according to Klebanow and Tech. "The feeling is that no one can represent us in the U.S. as well as we can," said Klebanow. "When you get to these global bids, you do need someone from the global organization to speak on their behalf and talk about outside the U.S."
The new approach is part of what led Brian Butler, a former Radius global sales director who joined AdTrav Travel Management last year, to return in January as Radius North America head of global sales and service, Tech said. Butler leads global sales personnel who assist members on bids, but the member travel management company will "be in charge of the sale, the RFP and then the account management if we win the account," said Tech.
Although new clients after October will be offered Radius, Klebanow said it would not be advantageous for Ultramar to now promote Radius partners to clients now using GlobalStar partners.