Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, April 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
Andreas Wellauer is CEO of German-based corporate travel consultancy Galiant Consulting. He will be a panel member on a session at the Business Travel Show in London on February 25, entitled Will mobile be the death of travel management? Here Wellauer explains why the answer is ‘yes’…
Yes, mobile will be the death of travel management as we know it! However, mobile here means more than just having a smartphone – but rather a part of a much larger trend in a global open online environment.
Over the past decades, travel has undergone many (r)evolutionary changes, and an open global environment is the next game-changer. It will start to cloud, and ultimately erase, the clear lines of online versus offline, corporate or supplier, employees or leisure, occasional traveller or frequent flyer. In such an open environment we will have a huge increase in travel-related data, spread over countless different systems. The inability to track these will be the undoing of today’s travel management. Also, reliance on TMC and card data will reduce the work required, hence the category may be managed by less experienced (and cheaper) staff. This should be both a warning and incentive for everybody associated with travel to want to get ahead of the curve, re-imagine their jobs and position themselves for the next (r)evolution. The same proliferation of data also holds the key to success. We are currently trying to control this category, when the key may be to manage its data instead. The focus should not be on the “what” (where, when and cost) but rather on managing the “how” (wherever, however, whenever). Current workflows and systems are a mix of processes, software and sets of data. Yet the ultimate process should be one single system to procure, manage, collect and analyse.The next, and significantly more difficult challenge will be to find suppliers that can provide such a consolidation. Looking at the market, none of the obvious choices, TMCs, GDSs, credit cards or ERP (enterprise resource planning) companies are currently either willing or able to provide such a system. The reasons are different for each.TMCs: Their business model is based around the booking process and the associated data. TMCs will need to re-imagine themselves, but this may only happen when their main business has shrunk to unsustainable and marginalised levels.GDSs: They clearly have the systems to handle such a massive data-flow and the know-how to provide this integration. However GDSs’ primary clients are the supplier, not TMCs, and especially not the corporate buyer.Credit cards: They may be able to scale up to provide a more seamless data integration but even companies that focus mainly on travel data, such as Airplus, have stated publicly that they will not expanding into other categories.ERP systems: ERPs such as SAP or IBM are the most obvious choice. While they invest heavily in travel data, these companies are still too focused on their individual business silos, and travel is just a way to increase overall ERP market share through a more diversified product offering to clients.Whoever solves this challenge first will be the market leader in the future!Wellauer is also holding a buyer-only masterclass at the BT Show on February 24: 'Adding Asia to your travel programme'. More information about the Business Travel Show