Travel Buyers Unplugged: New Technology Innovations Fueling Travel

Travel buyers have been very vocal about the need for innovation and have put pressure on suppliers to step up. So why is it so difficult to get travel buyers to adopt new innovations? As part of Collaboratory 2020, moderator Michelle “Mick” Lee, Global Head of General and Shared Services for BNY Mellon and Vice-Chair of GBTA’s WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, moderated this webinar with travel buyers sharing insights: Christoph Carnier, Senior Director and Head of Procurement Category Travel, Fleet & Events, Group Procurement Segment Services for Merck; Daryl Keiper, Senior Manager of the U.S. Travel Program for Genentech; and Jodi Woods, Global Category Manager for Becton Dickinson


Made possible by Chrome River by Emburse, this webinar answered, “How suppliers can improve their chances of getting ‘in the door’” and “How to get buyers to take chances and embrace new technologies,” by exploring what makes a buyer and a supplier successful.


Characteristics of a Successful Buyer:


  • Someone who is direct, honest, transparent, and not afraid to take calculated risks
  • Has strong negotiating skills and smart decision-making capability (not just interested in the “new shiny object”)
  • Has an inquisitive approach; Sees the relationship with the supplier as a partnership and proactively challenges the supplier to help drive success


Characteristics of a Successful Supplier:


  • First and foremost, a good listener
  • Truly understands the buyer’s needs and offers appropriate, scalable solutions – not sales pitches
  • Agile and concise
  • Is consultative, and works together with the buyer to solve problems


To achieve a successful outcome, each side – buyer and supplier – has responsibilities. According to Keiper, the buyer must set realistic expectations and timelines up front with the supplier, including giving the supplier a date when it’s appropriate to follow-up. On the supplier side, Woods recommended asking appropriate questions of the buyer so you can present the best solution; being up-front and clear about the entire project, including additional resources that may be needed, potential added costs, and any work that needs to happen before the solution can be put in place.


This webinar was jam-packed with a tremendous amount of information and insights. To view a full recording of this, and other past webinars, visit the Resources section of the GBTA Member Hub.

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