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Sports travel management in action – Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Reed & Mackay Hall: BTSE Stand: K50
Sports travel management in action – Paris 2024 Olympic Games

With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just 100 days away, sports travel management for the participating teams is well underway.

As a global corporate travel and event management company, Reed & Mackay organises travel for the Australian Olympic Team. It successfully organised the team’s travel for both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

 

Reed & Mackay Event Travel Manager Hannah Schenk gives the lowdown on corporate travel management for an elite sports team, as they prepare to get the Australian Olympic Team to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


Managing multiple flight changes

“Ahead of the Games, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) visits the host destination. We facilitated these trips in December and January and have another coming up soon. And it isn’t just flights to Paris; we also have to factor in their travel to sub sites across France.

“When we look at travel for the Games themselves, we look at the best way for a sports team to travel. It’s such a large-scale event that, by its nature, it will have many changes to flight bookings. We’re always looking out for the best travel solutions for the client based on a predicted number of changes.

“For example, there’ll be a change to flights if an athlete doesn’t qualify for the next round of competition. Right now, we don’t know who the qualifiers are. So it’s key we negotiate with airlines about flexible terms and conditions around naming and ticketing. Having good relationships with our suppliers allows us to do that.

“That ranges from working with the airline sponsor of the Australian Olympic Team, Qantas, as well as negotiating with other airlines. Travelling out, athletes will be attending pre-training camps across various destinations in Europe. Therefore, travel management also needs to take this into account. This will require internal travel back to France in time for the Games.

“In addition, all the return flights for the athletes will be different pending their competition ending dates. And we’re organising a charter flight after the closing ceremony. This needs to be full. Although as we don’t yet know who’s qualified, this won’t happen until much closer to departure.

“Plus there will be other group flights to book. There are 57 different teams to manage travel for, so keeping on top of airline ticketing deadlines is crucial.”

Managing complex baggage requirements

“Obviously with sports teams, it’s not just about an individual’s travel with one suitcase. Travel arrangements are more complex. The logistics of managing extra baggage and sports equipment needs consideration.

“For example, athletes need their javelins, canoe paddle need their canoes, surfers need their surfboards. All this equipment requires specific paperwork, logistical assistance from airlines, plus smooth collection at the destination. If there are delays of a few days, it will disrupt training schedules. We suggested using air tags to help track and manage the situation. 

“Furthermore, we’re working with Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to ensure we have a specific contact with airport baggage handling. I’ll be on the ground in Paris to pick up any challenges. We’ll also have someone in Australia’s time zone doing the same. That way, there’s 24-hours-a-day cover for all travel for the Australian Olympic Team.

“Managing travel for a high-profile sports team is about finding the best solutions in an ever-evolving travel landscape. New airline routes come in, that better suit the team for their event, even after initial bookings, so we pivot to accommodate that. Our job is to deliver the smoothest transition for these athletes.

“While we are managing flights, there are multiple other team members who manage all other elements, such as accommodation and freight management. Plus, we’ve introduced new technology for this year’s Olympic Games; our system syncs with the Games’ planner so we can update the changes as they’re happening.”

Do you have any plans for business travel during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games? Read our top tips for business travel during this busy time.

Get in touch

Mail hello@reedandmackay.com to discuss all of your travel and event management needs.

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