An Interview with … Matthew Deeley-Harkett
Meet Matthew, SITUs Senior TMC Account Manager. We interviewed him to discuss all things TMC and Business Traveller Wellbeing!
A Day in the Life
How long have you been the Senior TMC Account Manager and why SITU?
I joined the SITU team in March 2021. I have over 10 years of experience working for TMCs, and SITU were always a preferred supplier when it came to booking accommodation for our travellers. Prior to working for TMCs, I worked in a hospitality background, so I am familiar with accommodation providers. Serviced accommodation seemed like unchartered territory in the accommodation industry, and I was ready for the new challenge.
What does a “typical” day/week look like for you?
For my role as the Senior TMC Account Manager, I spend a lot of my time cultivating relationships. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and expand our TMC portfolio whilst showcasing and educating TMCs in serviced accommodation. There is a long list of benefits that serviced accommodation can provide, and I take pride in highlighting the profile and capability SITU has to offer.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy creating and building new relationships. Meeting and getting to know new people makes the work I do that much more special.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
Outside of my work at SITU, I am a fan of photography. I enjoy spending my free time taking photos, landscapes in particular.
What is your dream holiday destination?
My dream holiday destination would be Morrocco. I’ve never set foot on the African continent and like the middle eastern vibe, markets, riads and the mountains, not to mention the food!
Business Traveller Wellbeing & TMCs
As the Senior TMC Account Manager, what are your observations on companies prioritising business traveller wellbeing and duty of care?
A key observation I have made is the increased expectations and requests for flexibility. I don’t only mean in booking and cancellation, but flexibility in the offerings of accommodations. Our clients want to be able to make a space their own. Not be limited by on-site restaurants but have the freedom to cook for themselves and be self-reliant.
Currently, I think that serviced accommodation is viewed as niche or the “unknown” and once people have experienced it, there is no going back to hotels.
Duty of care has always been a priority for TMCs, but I think the importance has grown over recent years. It is not just up to the TMC to provide a high level of care for their travellers, but it’s the responsibility of the agent too. That is where I think SITU excels. Knowing that you are booking with a reliable provider with strong out of hours processes, active communication channels, who actually care about travellers makes the world of difference.
How has Covid-19 changed the business traveller wellbeing policy? Do you think those changes are here to stay, or will they disappear once the pandemic is over?
I don’t think they will disappear. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, duty of care and wellbeing were high on the radar of TMCs. If anything, the effects of the pandemic solidified the importance of travel policy and looking after the needs of the travellers. Now when we have people that are travelling for work, they expect a higher level of service.
With a background in Travel Management, what are your observations about the industry and business traveller wellbeing trends?
A key trend I have observed is that people are travelling less frequently, but for longer periods. This combination goes hand in hand with serviced accommodation. For those who have travelled throughout the pandemic and have had to quarantine within hotels, there is a greater appetite for accommodations with space.
I think that we will see a rise in the popularity of serviced accommodation. It provides a win-win for TMCs and the traveller. TMC’s can book spacious, high service accommodation at a better value for money, and the traveller can experience benefits such as their own space, privacy and a home-like feeling!
To find out more about SITU and the work we do, head over to our website here!