Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, May 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
Paul Robin, event director of Business Travel Market (BTM), which closed yesterday after two days of meetings and debate at London's ExceL exhibition centre, tells ABTN his views on technology and the business travel industry.
This year, we introduced more technology related sessions to BTM than ever before with a host of experienced panelists leading each session. The sessions highlighted how many companies are rapidly developing travel technologies, however, there is a broad concern that some major corporates aren't moving fast enough. And where they are moving, they are thinking only of their own business needs, rather than those of their customers.
It's been a testing year for business travellers, not only with cuts to corporate and public sector budgets but dealing with unprecedented industry issues such as the ash cloud crisis. This event was an example of where technology combined with the human touch was essential to ensure that creative and efficient solutions were instigated to repatriate as many travellers as quickly as possible.
For this year's BTM we surveyed a number of business travel managers, corporate buyers and business travellers on how they personally used new technology whilst they were travelling.
Not surprisingly our results highlighted that of the companies surveyed 96% of them provide blackberries and smart phones at their business - really indicating how the mobile device is now needed much more than just texting or calling.
The growth of mobile technology has empowered business travellers to find information from almost any location. Travellers can now be more informed and therefore more decisive at the touch of a button or slide of a screen.
In particular, smart phones and blackberries, have proven to be indispensable to the business traveller and recent situations have really highlighted how useful they can be in an emergency. The flip-side of this, however, is that individuals can more easily divert from their company's agreed travel policy.
We felt it important to practice what we preach at this year's conference, and we were the first event in the UK to use the mobile meetings assistant (MMA) technology in communicating with the delegation of VIP hosted buyers, suppliers, travel managers, books and business travellers.
For the first time at a conference we told attendees to leave their mobile phones on, so they could hear about the latest updates, as well as meeting and session reminders. We were also able to use it to gain some meaningful feedback before during and after BTM.
The industry appears to be progressing quickly with new technologies, and personal technology in particular seems a great support to business travellers themselves. It was great to see this week how many key decision makers wanted to learn more about technology and how they could use and adapt it to their business.