Interview with Nicole Wilcock, Radius Travel
Umbrella is proud to announce its profile management partnership with Radius Travel, probably the best-known global mega-network in travel management.
In this interview, Nicole Wilcock, Senior Director of Global Service Delivery, tells us why the concept of a network of local TMC champions is so successful. Plus, she fills us in on her exciting journey via Royal Air Force plane to her husband’s most unusual birthplace.
What is Radius’ motivation and objective of partnering with Umbrella?
Umbrella is certainly the market leading solution for profiles. Your technical and functional approach is better and more mature than other solutions, which will be of great help for our multinational customers and local partners.
The other aspect is, of course, Umbrella’s expertise in many different global markets.
Radius has an impressive history and track record. But how big is Radius really? Can you share facts & figures?
Of course. Radius is currently active with 123 global agencies in 72 markets on 6 continents. Together, these partners have over 37,000 employees and over $30 billion in revenue.
When, why and by whom was Radius founded?
More than 40 years ago, several American TMCs joined together to develop a joint hotel programme named the Woodside Travel Trust (WTT). For 20 years, it developed very successfully and is still a core element of our services. We took the next step forward in the mid-90s when we re-branded as RADIUS (which became Radius Travel in 2013) and began to service multinational clients.
We are very proud that many customers and partner agencies have been with us since that time.
What is Radius’ USP for corporations?
Radius speaks to customers that appreciate both local and highly personalised service. Small, owner-managed agencies naturally have a very close relationship with their customers.
From the network, we complement this customer contact and very high level of service with consolidated data, uniform travel policies, and best practices for their travel programme.
What’s the biggest challenge for business travel distribution in 2019?
There is a huge gap between the myth and reality regarding new ways of content distribution. This needs to be balanced with new customer expectations, which come from the very handy and mature leisure booking experience.
It’s definitely not trivial to make this look seamless. But our powerful network combined with local best practices helps our members and customers master this challenge.
What’s the biggest opportunity for TMCs?
We must make the customer experience as convenient and attractive as the experience for leisure travellers. I am convinced that this is a great opportunity for our partners, as their service is both highly personalized and of the quality that our customers demand.
What do you like best about Switzerland?
I worked for a Swiss company for a number of years and spent a lot of time in this wonderful country. I love the landscape and nature. It is so picturesque and breathtaking no matter the season.
What is your most inspiring/impressive personal travel experience?
Definitely a trip to Ascension Island, a small island in the middle of the South Atlantic, used by the British and Americans as a military base. My husband is one of the few people actually born on Ascension. His father was employed by the British government at that time and was stationed there for two years.
Access to the island is limited because of its military use. That’s unfortunate since the nature on Ascension is absolutely unique. You will find a lush green and practically untouched forest belt, as well as sprawling lava fields and beautiful beaches.
Nicole, thank you so much for your time and the interview!