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Travel buyers will have to acquire new skills to help them cope with roles that are becoming more demanding.
A survey, conducted by Radius Travel and ACTE, found that buyers thought that the “demands of their position are growing to include an even more challenging mix of people and functional skills”.
The study of 164 buyers, which was released at the ACTE conference in Barcelona, identified being “technologically savvy” as becoming more important within the next three years.
Rafael Gonzalez, Radius’ director of global sales EMEA, said that “negotiation expertise” was currently “top of the agenda” for buyers.
“The human touch is still important and needed for the travel manager – they also have to have a thick skin - but understanding technology is becoming more important,” said Gonzalez.
“There is greater emphasis on the analysis of data - with big data being the current buzzword.”
The Radius report said that with travel spending under “unprecedented scrutiny”, buyers had to “manage effectively down, up, and across the company to create, advance, and protect the travel programme”.
“The travel manager must demonstrate expertise in an increasingly technology-heavy environment with important data and financial implications while nurturing relationships with the executives and employees who influence the success of the programme,” said the report.
“When the programme encompasses multiple offices across multiple geographies, the challenge of effective travel management becomes only more daunting.”
HRS’s CEO Tobias Ragge also pointed to the “contradictions” faced by buyers in the company’s survey of 250 multi-national companies across Europe and Asia.
“The main priorities are to reduce the total cost of the trip but at the same time trying to increase employees’ satisfaction,” he told delegates.