12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Travel buyers should embrace mobile technology and allow travellers to download the apps they want to use but within a managed policy.
A panel debate moderated by BBT editor Paul Revel, entitled Mobile technology: friend or foe? heard both buyers and suppliers agree that mobile could not be ignored although there needed to be some element of control.
Joakim Everstin, customer innovations manager for Sabre, said: “Travel apps will find their way to the traveller regardless of whether the company you work for supports them or not.
“You need to have a clearly-defined mobile policy which allows the use of relevant apps - not only to control costs and stay within policy but also to help make every traveller’s experience less painful. I believe in technology – it is a friend but it’s very important you manage usage of that technology.”
Torsten Kriedt, vice president of planning and intelligence for BCD Travel, said that mobile “was neither a friend nor foe” for travel managers.
“It’s just a technology that will not go away – you have to make sure you manage it and that is the difficult part,” he added.
“The biggest threat is that if you don’t give travellers what they need, then they will go outside. You need to have a managed mobile programme – if it’s not managed then the traveller will manage it for you.”
Isabel Montesdeoca, Concur’s UK managing director, said that travellers were “trying to do their job in the most effective way they can”.
“Give them the travel booking tools and policies that allow them to contribute to the conversation,” she said. “Look at where they are going and what’s the most effective way to travel, then bring all of that data back to the company.
“You may want to give them a price or budget to beat rather than going to specific vendors.”
Eija Kurttila, global travel manager for mobile firm Telia Sonera, stressed that it was not always about using apps to communicate with travellers.
“SMS is still quite good to give information to travellers during their trip,” she said. “For example, we have certain hotels where we have taxi pooling. We sent SMS to our travellers staying at one hotel and we had 29 out of 31 sitting on the shuttle bus the next day.
“People still appreciate receiving SMS messages as they can act as a reminder for them. But at the same time you don’t want to send too much information or they could get upset.”
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