September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
ABTN talks to IKEA travel buyer Yves Galimidi, who is also ACTE’s country champion for Belgium and Luxemburg, about life as a buyer in Europe
Which company do you work for and how long have been involved in travel buying?
I have worked for IKEA for 18 years, and have been global meeting and travel purchaser for the last seven years.
Explain your ACTE role and how long you have been doing it?
I am currently the European regional board member for ACTE. Asthe main liaison between the ACTE regional chair, ACTE members in the region, and the ACTE board of directors, I am responsible for driving strategy and growth in the EU region, providing leadership and guidance to the ACTE regional chair and ensuring their region is aligned with ACTE’s overall strategy and goals.
What are the biggest travel buying challenges in your market?
Financial uncertainty in the eurozone; various and multiple ancillary fees which are leading to additional costs through an important lack of visibility and consistency; the diversity of European requirements - including language, culture and VAT rules - which as usual make it a challenging region to manage.
What business travel trends have you noticed in 2012?
There is the growing importance of virtual and mobility management. The increasing interest in new smart technologies is a real challenge for the travel manager in how to integrate those tools without losing control. There has also been the emergence of fast rail routes in many EU countries.
Is the amount of travel you are buying increasing year-on-year?
It is slowly increasing in relation to sales and also due to our company’s expansion.
Are your travellers’ expectations changing? For example, do they expect business class flights and a certain category or star rating of hotel?
Certainly not. We rather take the current financial uncertainty as a real opportunity to reinforce our restricted and mandated travel policy
How easy is it to get travellers to follow travel policy – particularly with the growth in mobile technology?
Mandate is the key and also communication, as we inform our travellers that we are looking at better and smarter technology.
What one thing would make your job easier and explain why it would make such a difference?
I am working for a company that is rather decentralised or functions in a decentralised environment. I am convinced that I could use my “corporate buying power” in much better ways if I worked in a centralised environment. It would be easier to mandate our meeting and travel supplier selection, deliver higher market shares and therefore obtain better prices and achieve higher savings.