BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
Thursday 9th September, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
ExCeL London - 30 Sep - 01 Oct 2021
18 October 2021 - Virtual
Technology has always driven change in business travel and that trend is only likely to accelerate in 2014
Return to Hotlist 2014 home page
When your travellers need to set up a meeting at short notice, nine times out of ten they might end up in a Starbucks. It may be cheap, but it’s hardly a secure environment, and it may not be the best place for them to conduct what might end up being an important sales meeting.
Liquidspace is a US company that offers an answer: it has a range of professional workspace options, from private offices and boardrooms, to meeting rooms and conference space, all of which can be accessed via an app and paid for on the company credit card. It’s a concept popular not only with corporate travellers, but also the suppliers of venues.
As Robert Juntke, Marriott’s director of events for Europe, explained: “In the US, we are working with Liquidspace on a concept based on Marriott’s Workspace on Demand for people who want to have a ‘third place’ to meet their customers.
“It’s a very quick way of booking a meeting and, by putting some of our meeting room inventory in there, we can catch some of that business. We hope Liquidspace comes over to Europe soon.”
Steve SinghCEO, Concur
GBTA’s European boss Paul Tilstone recommended Concur’s CEO Steve Singh for the Hotlist. “Concur is the darling of the business travel sector for its smart investments, innovative technology and lots of growth,” he said.
That growth continued to be impressive during 2013 with revenues of US$546 million – up by 24 per cent on the previous year.
Singh joined the US-based technology company in 1996 after it was initially set up by his brother, Rajeev Singh, who is currently chief operating officer, and Mike Hilton, who is now general manager.
The expenses specialist continues to innovate with new products such as Trip Link, which aims to capture every booking and reduce leakage from travel programmes, and an expansion of the Concur T&E Cloud through the purchase of TMC tools from GDSX and TRX last year.
Concur also supports independent developers through its Perfect Trip Fund to help small companies grow their products, which can also then be incorporated into Concur’s platforms. These firms include cloud-based digital receipt company Daily Dollar, and the producers of the Trip Lingo language app.
Thomas DrexlerDirector of rail, Amadeus
European rail travel has been hampered for decades by booking platforms and distribution networks that don’t match the same standards as air travel. But this could all change if Amadeus’ Total Rail project succeeds in its ambitions of creating a pan-European “GDS for rail”.
Former Deutsche Bahn executive Thomas Drexler has been leading this rail project for the last two years. He admits it is a long-term goal that will take years, but already four of the major European rail groups (SNCF, DB, Trenitalia and Sweden’s SJ) have had their content integrated into Amadeus’ rail booking platforms, including its E-Travel Management self-booking tool for corporate travellers.
Drexler says bookings through this tool saw “double-digit” growth in 2013. He is currently in negotiations to add UK train operating companies to the system in the near future – either through the Association of Train Operating Companies or a third-party rail provider.
Amadeus is also in discussions with train operating companies in Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Susan HopleyManaging director, The Data Exchange
‘Big data’ was one of the key subjects of 2013, and it’s unlikely to go away in the next few years as buyers begin to see how it applies to their day-to-day jobs.
Hopley has been providing much of the thought-leadership on big data and how it will affect the role of the travel manager. She believes that buyers could become “travel directors” who implement the use of new technologies (especially mobile devices), as well as being able to harness data to show the effectiveness of their travel programmes.
Hopley’s vision of travel buying in the big-data age is of a band of “data scientists” skilled in analytics, advanced reporting graphics and the ability to successfully mine corporate-held data, to give senior managers a better insight of why travel matters to the business rather than being seen as merely a cost.
She also thinks that corporate travel departments will have to move away from proprietary data reporting tools. “Changing technology is enabling an entirely different approach to managing data, and companies risk getting left behind,” she warns.