FRANKFURT, 13 December 2017 – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association VDR – wrapped up yet another successful joint conference in Europe last month. Artificial intelligence (AI), duty of care and traveller centricity were among the hot topics discussed throughout the three-day industry gathering bringing together travel professionals and industry leaders for Europe’s largest business travel event.
Convergence was the prevailing theme of the Conference. The business travel industry has seen a great deal of disruption in recent years as we face the convergence of various elements like risk, mobility and personalization, presenting new hurdles and opportunities for the business travel professional.
Thought-provoking industry panels highlighted Centre Stage. Festive Road’s Caroline Strachan moderated a panel called The Post-Procurement Practitioner – Beyond the Price Point to The Leadership Radar focused on a more strategic approach. Panelists Andrew Owen of UBS, Dirk Gerdom of SAP and VDR, and Jackie Taylor of Genpact discussed moving beyond pricing to understand what value really means and how travel program goals can translate into business goals as well. Strachan summed up the panelists advice to travel buyers saying, “Know your stuff, be ready to challenge and reimagine a different outcome.”
“Technology is evolving rapidly, but so are our ever-increasing expectations as to how that technology will serve us,” said Catherine McGavock, GBTA EMEA Regional Vice President as she opened a panel on artificial intelligence. Panelists Karen Hutchings of EY, Alex Kaluzny of Egencia, and Serdar Gürbüz of Turkish Airlines took the stage to share their thoughts on the current state of AI and robotics in business travel and where the industry is headed.
GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick hosted John P. Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Centre Stage to discuss not only increasing security, but also providing more efficiency and speed as travelers move through the airport ecosystem. Wagner addressed current threats to air travel, the balance between privacy and the need for information, and what biometric exit will look like once fully implemented.
Steve Dunne of Digital Drums led panelists Hank Benedetti of American Airlines, Rita Visser of Oracle, Roxana Bressy of KDS and Tobias Ragge of HRS Group in a discussion on shifting business models. The panel talked about how in the past the business travel industry has been reluctant to embrace change and technology, but in today’s world those who do not embrace it will be left behind. It is all about simplification, panelists said. At the end of the day, people want simple solutions and a great user experience at a low cost.
World-renowned inspirational speaker and business author Ramon Vullings was the featured networking lunch speaker on Wednesday where he explored the emerging world of cross industry innovation. Vullings challenged attendees to use augmented reality to strip reality of the mess and ask how can we use technology to make things simpler for people? “For cross industry innovation, don’t copy what others are doing but copy the thinking behind the ideas,” he said.
Attendees were also treated to high-level education sessions covering everything from AI, robotics and duty of care to GDPR, data protection, the consumerization of business travel, adapting travel policies to meet traveller needs and more to help buyers better understand their roles in an ever-changing business travel market.
The event once again brought together over 900 attendees from 30+ countries for networking, education and top-notch speakers. The sold-out expo floor featured over 50 exhibitors showcasing the industry’s latest products and services and a dozen suppliers shared breaking industry news at a media cocktail hour to kick-off the opening reception.
Next year’s Conference will come to Berlin 27-29 November 2018.
Acerca de la Asociación Global de Viajes de Negocios
La Asociación Global de Viajes de Negocios (GBTA) es la principal organización comercial de viajes de negocios y reuniones del mundo con sede en el área de Washington, DC y operaciones en seis continentes. Los más de 9000 miembros de GBTA administran anualmente más de $345 mil millones de viajes de negocios globales y gastos de reuniones. GBTA y la Fundación GBTA brindan educación, eventos, investigación, defensa y medios de clase mundial a una red global en crecimiento de más de 28,000 profesionales de viajes y 125,000 contactos activos. Para saber cómo los viajes de negocios impulsan el crecimiento empresarial duradero, visite www.gbta.org.
Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR)
El VDR representa los intereses de la industria alemana y se ocupa de las condiciones generales y competitivas en torno a los viajes de negocios y la movilidad. Hace campaña por posibilidades de viaje eficientes, económicas, seguras, sin obstáculos y en todo el mundo para las empresas. El VDR con sus más de 530 empresas miembros representa una facturación anual total en el sector de viajes de negocios de más de 10 mil millones de euros.