CEO Insights – An Interview with John Snyder, BCD Travel President & CEO
I’ve been fortunate to have worked in the business travel industry throughout my entire career. I’m now in my ninth year in my role at GBTA, serving on behalf of our Association to better what I firmly believe is the most resilient, passionate and relevant industry in the world. At GBTA, we work every day to connect the people that connect the world. It is without question, the people, who make this industry so special.
For this week’s GBTA podcast episode, longtime industry veteran John Snyder joined me for a conversation about the workforce in our industry, innovation and engaging travelers. As many of you know, John is the president and CEO of BCD Travel and is responsible for the company’s strategic direction to fulfill their mission of helping people and companies travel smart and achieve more.
When I asked John what keeps him up at night, it wasn’t solving for the latest technology issues or focusing on the bottom line that he talked about. Instead, he shared his concern around bringing new talent into his organization and our industry as a whole. He sees a need for a bigger voice for the industry recruiting at colleges and universities around the world to attract new and interesting talent. The industry can be taught, but talent, attitude and attention to customers are skills to go after.
Looking beyond recruiting talent to work in the travel industry, GBTA research has shown the important role travel plays across the job market when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. Given today’s tight labor market and low unemployment, this becomes increasingly important for companies. So, how can a TMC help their customers in this area by making the business travel experience as good as it can possibly be?
“Part of it is just helping our customers on the front-end to understand how they can really use [travel] as a recruiting tool, and then from that end, providing the highest level of service and really helping keep the travelers engaged in a travel programs is a really huge responsibility for the TMC community,” John said. “Overall traveler satisfaction and traveler engagement need to be one of the highest priorities of any TMC, because that’s really, at the end of the day, what we’re hired to do.”
We also talked innovation – looking at BCD’s approach to innovating, as well as the future for open environments for technology in our industry, which admittedly has a long history of having many closed technology platforms that don’t always play well with others.
“I think open ecosystems are critical to the future success of our industry,” John said. “The old days of having a closed platform that no one could come in and utilize your technology or your resources is really a way of the past. Now it’s really creating that open ecosystem, so you can share technology back and forth, and be able to integrate easily and effectively for our customers.”
To hear the full conversation, tune in to this week’s episode of The Business of Travel:
Stay tuned in the coming months as I’ll be interviewing more leaders across our industry for their perspectives and insights on the opportunities and challenges facing business travel. You can also listen to the podcast and subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and your other favorite podcast directories.