As industry recovers, there is a huge surge in business travel market, FCM is investing in technology and working towards sustainability to ensure it is in line with market requirement, shares Gaurav Luthra, MD, FCM Travel Solutions India.
FCM, a leading travel management company (TMC), has been in the Indian market for over 15 years now. Recalling the company’s journey, Gaurav Luthra, MD, FCM Travel Solutions India, said, “When FCM came into India it bought and invested in a leading Indian homegrown corporate travel agency. Since then, we have been bullish on the corporate business in the Indian market. Not just for the large and multinational companies, but large national companies, medium and small enterprises are also part of our customer portfolio in the Indian market.”
Luthra said when the business was “absolutely zero” two years ago, FCM focused on investing. “The company invested in technology to ensure it is in line with market requirments when the industry recovers, and it continues to invest. We have modernized our processes, systems, and tools. Our people have more mechanics to work on various tools, which adds value back to the customers,” he added.
Luthra said, “I would like to put it across that as an organisation, we are aligning more and more with our global simplification strategy. Our FCM brand is the flagship entity that we will continue to follow in the Indian market as well, which means we will simplify and rename some of our businesses possibly into FCM. For example, we have already renamed our FCM MICE into FCM Meetings and Events, our foreign exchange business into FCM Payments. So, those kinds of small changes will continue to happen, and we will align more with our ‘one brand’ philosophy in the time to come.”
He added, “The brand recall that FCM has in the Indian market is fantastic. I think almost every customer that we have ever approached has instantly recognised us as FCM. So, we need to play with the strength of FCM brand and then make sure we build bigger success in the time to come.”
He further added, “We started this brand 15 years ago and building brands in India and in the market like India is not cheap. We have significantly invested the money, energy and effort to ensure brand equity for FCM in the corporate travel space. Our constant endevour is to nurture and grow FCM as the leading brand in the corporate travel space.”
Talking about the changes in the wake of the pandemic, Luthra said that doing business has now become “tougher” in comparison to the pre-pandemic times. “Travel was already complicated, especially for Indians. Now, it has become even more complicated with all the VTLs (vaccinated travel lanes) and certifications,” he added.
He said, “I think the first thing that we saw was a faster recovery in the small and medium enterprise segment for corporate business. Then came the large national customers, and then came the global multinational customers. We saw some bit of recovery coming back, but now, as we speak, there is a humongous surge in the demand. Everybody wants to travel, and everybody wants to travel now. I have spoken in the past as well, if and when the recovery is going to happen, which nobody knew when that is going to happen, it is going to be quite a surge, which is exactly what we saw. But it is a good problem to have. I am saying problem because it did not allow travel companies to prepare for the sudden surge in travel bookings in a short span of time, even outstripping pre-pandemic level corporate travel business. That is the level of surge that we have seen and we are working towards managing this surge.”
Speaking of the emerging trends in business travel, Luthra shared, “We have a lot of corporate customers who are asking us how can we help them become more sustainable, how can we create more awareness, how can we create more information, give them more reports, more data that can help them visualize and take a position. I think the offset of carbon footprint that Flight Center globally offers to its customers is holistic and for as low as about
three and a half dollars per metric tonne. We are continuously engaging with our customers to deliver value and make travel seamless during these uncertain times.”