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ABTA announces strategic partnership with OPSA to reach SMME sector

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The African Business Travel Association (ABTA) announced its strategic partnership with OPSA – the Association for Office Professionals of SA, an Association representing over 22000 Office and Administrative professionals across South Africa.
ABTA’s key focus is to provide educational and informational resources to all parties involved in the booking, buying, managing and supplying of business travel products and services.  ABTA Founder Monique Swart says that although the Association has placed a lot of emphasis on the mid to senior management levels involved in business travel management and procurement representing larger regional and global corporations, the SMME sector - and the travel bookers, co-ordinators, PA’s and Secretaries representing this sector – is now becoming a stronger focus for the Association.

Swart believes that there are still many companies in the SMME sector who do not effectively manage their staff travel processes and expenditure and have yet to create and implement company travel policies.  “Having surveyed the OPSA Membership, we see that there are still many companies out there - specifically within the SMME sector - that do not consolidate their travel processes and procedures.  Companies still have different PA’s and Secretaries making bookings with a variety of Travel Agents, TMC’s, Airlines, Hotels and Car Rental Companies, leading to an overall lack of control, responsibility and accountability over the staff travel function.  Without consolidation of travel bookers, consultants and suppliers – having several ‘lone rangers’ all doing their own thing - cost savings opportunities are nonexistent, effective usage of time and key resources is impossible and traveller productivity and safety cannot be a priority.” says Swart.

The Association believes that its ability to expand its reach to the SMME sector is substantially enhanced through its partnership with OPSA and aims to host events and initiatives in the coming months that specifically target those individuals that have more of an entry level understanding of the business travel industry.  According to Swart, many PA’s and Secretaries involved in co-ordinating company travel have a keen understanding of the booking and co-ordination aspect, but do not realise the power they hold to make a really positive difference to their companies and travellers by gaining the knowledge needed to really streamline travel processes, cut costs, save time and keep travellers productive and safe.

We are absolutely delighted to be joining forces with OPSA in our quest to reach this vital market sector.  Office professionals play such an important role in all industries across South Africa and we look forward to working with our Education Team, Partners and Sponsors to deliver relevant and valuable education in order to develop these individuals into becoming strong travel professionals who can play an active and positive role in our industry.’ says Swart.

Says Samantha Brown, CEO of OPSA “Today’s office professionals are required to have a thorough understanding of a myriad of vital business functions including elements like event and travel management. Mistakes can have a disastrous effect on a company’s reputation and bottom line. We are confident that through our partnership with ABTA we will be able to strengthen the knowledge base of our members and assist them in becoming even more professional and efficient in carrying out their duties."
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