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Business Travelers Will Hit New Heights with EQ

Business Travelers Will Hit New Heights with EQ

A new firm which is aiming to revolutionise the UK corporate travel market has been launched.

Equilibrium Travel Management (EQ) is challenging the business travel sector by offering its services on a transparent, fee-based system, rather than the commonplace & lsquo;fee plus hidden charges’ model.

The Scottish company has been created by Franc Jeffrey, one of the UK’s leading figures in travel management, who was Chief Operating Officer at Colpitts World Travel until earlier this year. The senior management team is composed of business partner Duncan Sanders and four other senior travel executives.

EQ is projecting to reach &pound3m turnover in its first year – and already it has landed six high profile corporate clients as companies begin to discover its unique offer.

Franc said EQ was created to meet the rapidly changing needs of clients who have been forced by the recession to look to maximise return on spend across all areas of their business.

He said: “Travel remains the third largest expense for most organisations, so it is vital that companies get the best value for their money in this area. To do that, we look to work closely with companies to create a working partnership that understands the company’s travel needs and can evolve and react to market demands and changes.

“This combination provides the tools required to control travel expenses, resulting in bottom line savings and improved service.”

As well as developing a new approach to customer service, EQ is setting itself apart by offering its services solely on a fees-based approach, as opposed to the ticket plus mark up model adopted by others in the sector.

Franc said: “A travel company which relies on hidden charges is always likely to be drawn to higher value tickets as it provides the best returns for them.  It means the customer does not know that the transatlantic business class ticket costing &pound2500 would really have cost &pound2000 with &pound500 going to the travel agent.

“EQ will bring clarity and transparency to corporate travel bookings by charging a flat fee. This means we can search and choose the best deals and options to meet the company’s travel budget and policy. 

“We think we could easily save a typical SME 10% on their travel budget by operating more transparently and in the interests of the company. This figure could be improved substantially following a full travel policy review.  For one London based company we were able to demonstrate savings of &pound500,000 on a spend of &pound1.4m.

“Businesses and executives should check their e-ticket receipts – if the amount paid to the agent totals more than is on the stub, that difference is likely going to the agent. We want companies to be bold and ask their current travel agent if they would be willing to be audited to reveal any hidden margins over and above their & lsquo;stated’ fee.”

Despite the recession, business travel remains buoyant - latest statistics from the Guild of Travel Management showed 6% rise in air business travel - although companies are increasingly looking to compromise on fares and options.

Franc spent 16 years driving Colpitts’ operations across Europe and North America, helping the business to grow from a New England based company to one with an international reputation and a turnover in excess of $170m-a-year.

He has now pulled together a team of top talent from across the travel industry, which combined with ground breaking technological and reporting capabilities, aims to ensure EQ offer a revolutionary approach to travel management.

A major differentiator for EQ is their technical development team.   By creating innovative technology solutions they provide each of their agents tools that increases efficiency by 30%.  The tools also allow users to capture customer specific management data to provide tailored management reports.

Franc added: “EQ is employee-owned, so every team member has a vested interest in making our clients happy – and making this business a success.

“We have recruited the best talent from across the sector all of whom believe in the ethos and new approach of EQ and who consider going the extra mile as the norm.  Our consultants average 16 years of experience and we encourage them all to travel regularly to ensure they have personal and up-to-date experience of airports, airlines, hotels and other suppliers.”

EQ offers a comprehensive meetings and events department and will offer services in marine and offshore travel as well as travel and expense management for clinical trials.

For companies  wishing to arrange their own travel EQ, offers a low fee, bespoke online booking tool, which provides a controlled, yet easy-to-operate reservations process, while keeping them compliant with all & lsquo;duty of care’ legislation.


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