The 11th of August to the 15th saw PredictX make a grand appearance at the largest event in the corporate Travel calendar -the GBTA annual convention.
The GBTA Foundation Partnership Initiative brings together more than 50 industry leading companies to support innovative professional development programming, global research initiatives, and critical benchmarking tools for business travel professionals. It serves as a vessel in the industry for industry knowledge and expertise. We were excited to be a part of this by exhibiting at their 2018 conference in San Diego. Besides us, there were approximately 700 attendees. 400 exhibitors with over 100 educational sessions dedicated to addressing concerns within the Corporate Travel landscape.
“90% of winning is showing up,” said pioneer for women in tennis Billie Jean King in her Monday address to the GBTA audience. She captured the essence of all the travel businesses who are currently trying to innovate. “Pressure is a privilege. Most people think of it as one point at a time, but essentially it is one ball at a time. You have to process each moment to get to your goal.”
See our list of defining “moments” PredictX experienced at GBTA.
Bring on the highlights!
A new PredictX mission at GBTA: let’s go beyond dashboards
In 2018 PredictX aimed to go Beyond Dashboards and we did! We did it in the way we approached GBTA as well as new advancements we have developed in our Travel data analytics suite. We look at each data point to assess the best strategy going forward. Like Billie Jean King, we are not only focused on winning, but looking at the incremental growth that leads to the win.
Instead of a specialised, static tool that often delivers an incomplete view of spend, our Travel product has always used deep data analytics to fuse TMC, Expense, Card and Hierarchy data together with API integration of Concur and sharing economy providers.
This year, not only is the data we deliver itself more complete and useful, but the way we are delivering the data is being innovated and transformed at a constant rate. GBTA marked the announcement of two major steps PredictX is taking to deliver data in a way that can implement change within a Travel programme: first, we aim to use new technology like digital assistants, chatbots and AI to make the data more timely and easier to access than ever before. Second: we want to be more than an analytics suite and make use of advanced consultancy to leverage Travel programmes forward.
“We find a lot of our customers spend a lot of time dealing with adhoc requests or fighting fires. The complaint we get is that, by the time that is done there is no time left to do the strategic things that are really valuable. Our mission is to empower strategic decision making but to also automate the tactical ones,” said PredictX CEO Keesup Choe as he appeared on GBTATV during Media Day to announce the release of our new Digital Assistant.
2. Launching the PredictX Digital Assistant
The PredictX Digital Assistant is a one of a kind device combining AI and Natural Language Processing to intelligently sort through all the data in your program and outline the most important issues to the user. Users can also ask questions regarding their travel programme and the assistant will comb through the data to intelligently respond.
With access to all TMC, Car, Expense and Hierarchy data included in the PredictX data suite, the assistant draws your attention to areas that need immediate improvement. The assistant comes with a “task list” highlighting events such as policy violations, taxable events and risky bookings. It has the power to email any heads of department on any violation at the moment it happens.
It can also be accessed in the form of a bot on Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype or other messenger services. As a result, lengthy data analysis processes, where Managers spend time searching through dashboards, is both shortened and improved.
3. Launching our partnership with Festive Road
In our increased effort to move beyond a dashboard to create a solution that can revolutionise a Travel programme, PredictX partnered with leading travel and meetings engagement consultancy Festive Road. We received an enthusiastic response to a partnership that would merge advanced data analytics and leading consultancy to deliver a “health check” for Travel programmes.
“There was power in bringing together a cross-section of technology and data experience, along with the domain and consultancy experience of Festive Road. Fundamentally we share a common set of beliefs in terms of what we can do to solve customer problems and that culminated in us developing a pipeline of nine different solutions the clients want to deliver in the first year in the partnership,” said PredictX Managing Director Tom Tulloch on GBTATV during the conference.
4. AI in Business Travel
Our CEO Keesup Choe wowed participants at the Technology Committee Roundtable on Sunday afternoon on the 11 August by introducing them to our Digital Assistant. Choe asked the device which travellers were the most non-compliant. The big surprise was that it was the panelists themselves!
This was demonstrated as one of countless examples where AI can be used to leverage Travel data to make it more complete and more immediate in delivery – preventing problems before they occur.
5. Data Analytics and Trends
GBTA Data Analytics and Trends Panel moderator Lexi Honohan sent out a survey asking for real-world feedback on how Travel Managers are using data in their programme. One finding was that around 72% of respondents indicated they have a data strategy in place. This is reflective of both the PredictX goal and the industry’s goal as a whole, to develop new strategies to leverage data in a Travel programme. The session took place on 13th August in the morning.
6. The data behind Flight disruptions
On Tuesday 13 August in the afternoon, FlightGlobal and PredictX announced to a jam-packed educational session that disruptions from regular operations cost the flight industry an estimated $60 billion annually. PredictX combined TMC, Card and Expense data along with FlightGlobal’s Airline Operational data for a pharmaceutical company to discover 14% of tickets had some form of disruption, costing the company around $3,038,990 in costs associated with lost productivity, hotel cancellation fees, avoidable exchange fees and unused tickets that were eligible for refund.
We then outlined a process where we can use advanced data-driven technologies to develop contingencies for flight disruptions.
What next for Travel?
“We don’t believe we have reached a plateau,” said President and CEO of Marriott International Arne Sorenson in his Monday morning address to scores of GBTA attendees. “We are thrilled to be in an industry that is growing,” said Sorenson.
At PredictX we feel the same way. Despite the constant disruption in Travel today there is also constant innovation. We are very pleased to be a part of that and to present our innovations at GBTA 2018. Next up: more growth and change!