September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Paul Tilstone, managing director of GBTA Europe, looks at how technology is the crucial element to operating successfully within business travel
So, in my previous six columns we have identified the five animals we need to be aware of in the business travel jungle…
The elephant (distribution), the rhino (business travel market dynamics), the cape buffalo (sustainability), the lion (legislation) and the cheetah (the global economy). In addition, we identified a sixth animal, made up of other beasts, in the form of the gruffalo (crisis management).
So, now that we know the nature of these animals, it’s clear that we must create programmes which can react to changes in all of the areas I have highlighted. And so to tame the beast we need a hunter. But who is the hunter here, the one who can track and tame the big five? It is of course technology.
Whether you’re talking about flexible booking tools to take care of distribution issues, smart mobile technology for traveller convenience and connection, technology to facilitate traveller tracking, and using social networks or telepresence to enhance work patterns, support sustainability and manage crises. All of these technologies, and more we are yet to discover, hold the key to all our issues.
That’s not to say we don’t still need people, and people who are good communicators, because that is key too, but if there’s one thing you should do right now it’s to go and hug someone from your company’s technology department because no matter how smart and great at communication you are, the team in this department they are going to be your friends. They are the one set of people who can make sure the hunters are in place to help you tackle the beasts of the jungle.
But if you’re lost in the jungle, you also need your friends, as somehow the hunter doesn’t seem enough. He can take care of the beasts but he’s too regimented to help you deal with the softer side of being lost in the business travel jungle. When we are lost we need companionship, ideas, morale and what greater friend is there to help us in the jungle than our business travel associations.
Friends share experiences, tell you when you’re wrong, are there for you when you need them most. Without our networks it would just be each of us and our hunters trying to find our way out. Together we are stronger and the scarier the jungle becomes the more we need each other.
An extract from “Laws of the Jungle”, a GBTA Europe presentation.