GBTA Collaboratory Explores How to Drive Procurement Changes During a Pandemic

As part of this week’s GBTA Collaboratory 2020 webinar series, Robert Schott, Managing Director and Chief Procurement Officer for PwC, and GBTA Interim-Executive Director Dave Hilfman discussed navigating procurement changes during a pandemic, and how to use this period to improve processes and strengthen partnerships.

“This crisis is an opportunity to drive tremendous change, and key factors of success will be resilience, sticking to a plan and working your relationships,” said Schott.

Key learnings from the August 24 webinar include:


Success comes down to a vision and a strategy. Figure out where you want your business to be and then develop a plan – with metrics – to get there. Look at what other industries are doing successfully and adapt it to your work.

Don’t be reactive; work your plan. The better your processes, the stronger your foundation. In times like this, focus on tweaking your plan to be more efficient, instead of constantly reacting to market fluctuations.

Be willing to try new things. In the travel industry we often do things the way we always have, which could result in lost opportunities. Scott shared how at PwC, they got rid of their RFP process for hotels and airlines and instead developed an approved supplier list. “We worked with our suppliers to negotiate a discount off the standard rates, so that instead of constantly negotiating pricing, we could better spend our time working together on creating efficiencies.”

Leverage your partnerships. Resources are tight; customers want to leverage existing relationships with partners who know them and can cut through the nonsense to help them solve a problem. When it makes sense, discuss with your partners how to be ready when the market corrects.


“This pandemic has forced us into an uncomfortable scenario where we have to change and adapt,” said Schott. “We will have success at finding new ways to do things, and fail at others, but we will come out of this with better ways to accomplish our goals.”

The Collaboratory webinar series continues through November. On Monday, August 31, Dave Hilfman hosts Patricia Huska, Chief People Officer, Global Human Resources for American Express Global Business Travel, to discuss ways to collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders as we navigate through times of uncertainty and how to get travelers back on the road safely.


Upcoming Webinar Topics:

August 31- September 4: Stakeholder Management: Travel Policy
September 14 – 18: Virtual Payment and Touchless Travel Experience

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