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Travel Buyer Q&A: Hannah Richardson, KPMG

Hannah Richardson holding her award for Travel Buyer of the Year at the 2018 Business Travel Awards

Hannah Richardson is the travel category manager at KPMG and winner of the 2018 Business Travel Awards Travel Buyer of the Year award

You have been with KPMG since 2011 – give us a brief resume of your career path to date.
I’ve been fortunate to work across a variety of roles. I started as an assistant manager in marketing procurement and four roles later I now lead the travel category as a senior manager, covering end-to-end from sourcing through to contract and supplier management.

You’re also part of KPMG’s procurement leadership team. What does that involve?
As category manager, I have responsibility for the successful delivery of travel services, but I also have a responsibility to the wider procurement team. The leadership team works to ensure we continually improve performance across all categories, share best practice and work with our senior sponsors at board level to align our strategy.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
No two days are the same – and that’s one of the things I enjoy most. But it can also be challenging! When you think you have your day planned, an incident occurs and everything goes out the window.

Who has had the greatest positive influence on your career to date?
Both Christina Vasili (head of procurement) and Sarah Makings (my predecessor) have been pivotal in helping me achieve what I have so far.

How is your relationship with your TMC?
We have built a strong, collaborative relationship over the past few years. It can be challenging, but that helps us shape our strategy to ensure we are continuing to ask ourselves whether we could do things better.

You believe in working “in partnership” with suppliers. Are they responsive to that concept?
In the majority of cases, absolutely. To achieve this we are clear around our expectations, how we work and what we want to deliver together.

If you had a magic wand that could change one thing about the travel industry, what would that be?
The experience for a traveller when booking personal travel is vastly different to the corporate process. While I appreciate the complexities around our processes, if I had a magic wand, corporate travel booking would be quicker, easier and more attractive than booking personal travel, while still fulfilling the needs of the travel manager.

What prompted you to enter the Business Travel Awards, and how did you feel when you were named Travel Buyer of the Year?
I was lucky to be nominated by my team internally alongside our TMC. I really did not think I would win, given the competition. This award was only possible due to the support from both the team and a range of stakeholders, internally and externally, which makes the programme the success it is.

Would you encourage colleagues and peers to enter the Business Travel Awards?
Definitely! It is a great way to look back on achievements to date and also helps us benchmark against what others are doing.

After work, how do you spend your leisure time?
I have a very patient husband who shares my interest in F1. We both had a wonderful time at the Belgium Grand Prix in August.

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. In its travel category, the team manages an end-to-end solution for the firm’s travel, encompassing everything from procurement to supplier management and operations.

Hannah Richardson is the reigning Travel Buyer of the Year and one of the judges for the Business Travel Awards 2019. For more information about the awards night and how to enter yourself, your team and your organisation to win an award, visit businesstravelawards.com

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