Turning 25 this year, the Business Travel Show offered the amazing inspiration and insight we usually come to expect…. and a little more.
Introducing the 100 Club
Located near the café at stand B512, PredictX was discussing data and innovation with a wide range of buyers, clients and fellow suppliers in our “100 Club” – a space where 100% data visibility in one platform takes priority. Many times we heard the question: what is the 100 Club?
The simple answer is: we are a group of travel management innovators who believe that greater data visibility is the secret sauce to travel programme success. By achieving 100% data visibility in a single platform, travel managers can be in the driving seat when it comes to supplier negotiation, travel policy management, spend management and overall travel programme improvement. The biggest question we have is: how can we get there? Achieving this visibility and growth was a key concern for many thought leaders at the show.
Hot topics at the Business Travel Show
At the Business Travel Show this year, many educational sessions were concerned with managing spend of what has only become strategically integrated into travel in the past few years. That’s right, meetings spend is still challenging to integrate into managed travel, yet important when it comes to achieving 100% spend visibility. Paul Hussey, the Conference Doctor, believes that meetings involve the integration of policy and technology with an overall focus on strategy.
The major item on the Business Travel Show agenda and for many attendees, however, was NDC. The new standard means much work has to be done by airlines, TMCs and GDS’s alike and it definitely doesn’t hurt for travel category managers to be well-informed. Will Hughes from Travelport, Christophe Tcheng from American Express, Jasmin Eberharter from Lufthansa, Klaus Goddard from BCD Travel as well as Travel and Transport Statesman Ray Ollivere were the panelists on an engaging panel entitled “Successfully Delivering NDC’s 2020 Vision.” They gave the following tips for success in NDC: first, there needs to be a tripartite engagement with airlines, agencies and aggregator partners. Secondly, we need to embrace change where we are not afraid to experiment. Thirdly, we need to never lose sight of the customer but also understand that all parties need time for change and adjustment.
Embracing change was a common theme in the panel our CEO, Keesup Choe participated in. “Hi-tech in Action – How AI, Blockchain, Bots and Augmented/Virtual Reality will Transform Travel Management” focused on many forms of innovation. From chatbots to AI, each panelist opened up exciting new opportunities that had game-changing travel programme applications.
What united the discussion was the chief challenge many travel category managers face: how can I incorporate innovation into my programme and, more importantly, get the time and money to do so. Often, innovation gets de-prioritised as it’s not as urgent as other business needs. Programmes who don’t innovate, however, often find the category much harder to run in the long term. Faced with changing traveller needs, increased data sources and complexity plus new supplier standards and options means that the choice to innovate is less of a choice than we think it is.
Our CEO, Keesup Choe highlighted the need for augmentation in an increasingly tech-driven world. Men and machines can, in actual fact, collaborate efficiently when we allow machines to focus more on the automated tasks and humans to focus more on the creative and strategic tasks. Through this we can create a well-oiled “machine” where programme growth is optimised.
Goodbye Business Travel Show 2019. Next stop: programme growth
From the startups creating new solutions at The Innovation Hub to the expert conversations at The Advisory Clinic, this year’s Business Travel Show was rich in industry discussion and innovation.
The PredictX stand was no exception. Along with travel consultancy FESTIVE ROAD, we released an industry-first Healthcheck – using programme data to measure maturity while offering guidance on next best steps. We are excited to launch it amongst a selective few travel programmes, but do not hesitate to apply if you want to be part of it!
We cannot wait to see what will happen at the Business Travel Show next year. Thank you so much for being part of the innovation with us! Cheers!