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FCM boosts Japan operations reinforcing Pan-Asian expertise and capabilities

Dedicated FCM Tokyo office and consultant team now in place to support growing business travel requirements of customers and prospects.

Leading global travel management company FCM has officially marked a successful decade of delivering Japanese business travel services by establishing a new, dedicated Tokyo office staffed by team of expert consultants to bolster the company’s Asian capabilities. While FCM has previously assisted its portfolio of large national and multi-national clients through Japanese agency partnerships, this investment in a direct-to-market strategy means customers continue to benefit from the company’s commitment to new technology including FCM’s game-changing platform.

Bertrand Saillet, Managing Director for FCM in AsiaBertrand Saillet, Managing Director for FCM in Asia explained the decision to expand in Japan was driven by evolving customer requirements, while recognising considerable business development opportunities the country offers.   

“Japan is without a doubt an exciting and dynamic market for business travel. Not only are we seeing strong demand from existing customers, prospects across Asia are also expressing strong interest for TMC support too. To harness the growth potential and capitalise on this trajectory, we are pleased to have solidified our presence while bringing onboard a slew of local talents to our Japanese team,” said Saillet.

He added that this approach was especially timely as business travel continues to ramp up at pace while new challenges and priorities for travellers emerge. “Unsurprisingly, following the progressive opening of Asian countries these past months, we are experiencing strong demand for business travel from companies keen to make up for lost time. We have therefore, looked to refocus, prioritise customer needs and identify ways to offer superior experiences.”

As a FCM operated and owned office in Japan, clients will experience additional investment and new solutions designed for the local market underpinned by the company’s signature flexibility and consistent user experience via access to the global FCM Platform. This approach is especially crucial for a market like Japan and helps travel managers have a more consistent programme while meeting local traveller requirements. 

Kenichi Shiraishi, General Manager, Japan for FCMKenichi Shiraishi, General Manager, Japan for FCM highlighted a number of areas where he believes the company will fill market gaps.

“We are going in with a two-prong strategic approach: first we will increase our direct-to market engagement throughout Japan to elevate our reach. Simultaneously, we will be extending the opportunity territory to global companies with Japanese operations.

“Although companies continue to believe they can drive strong business growth through resumption of face-to-face connections, we also see them putting more emphasis on risk management and operational improvements in technology and service as cost reduction becomes relatively muted,” said Shiraishi.

Japan is the world’s fourth largest business travel market; however, FCM’s research shows there is still significant scope for business development. Less than 15% of Japanese companies currently use TMCs, with business travel mostly managed inhouse.

Of the 818 Japanese travel managers who are currently not working with a TMC, 88% indicated a pressing need to digitalise business travel arrangements. This also included an emphasis on risk management, with 81% believing that business travel would be arranged more easily and safely through a qualified, company-designated agency.

The top business travel priorities identified by respondents for TMC support were:  

  • (Japanese style) Hospitality with attention to details
  • Timely trouble-shooting for any problems
  • Flexible open-platform solution that enables integration of preferred tools
  • Omni-channel capability so that users can switch between mobile and desktop without losing functionality
  • Access to accurate information in real-time in the event of an emergency, having peace of mind while freeing up (client) time to devote to their business
  • Ability to transfer the entire business travel process and arrangements to an outsourced TMC 

“While risk-reporting and flexible technology capabilities are now bigger requirements for companies in Japan, at the top of their priority list is local fulfilment of travel demands. As a market with very distinct local cultural nuances, we are addressing needs such as service delivery solutions in Japanese language support with Tokyo-based customer success teams who operate 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year; and strong demand for Japanese domestic content for air and land through local partnerships,” added Shiraishi.

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