Wednesday, 23 August 2017

THE HOTEL GUEST EXPERIENCE IS OUTDATED

In conversation with Barbara Mauthner, Corporate Sales Manager, conichi, ahead of her session at the Business Travel Summit Amsterdam next month. 


Tell us about your session in one sentence?
During my session I will showcase our revolutionary technology that enables guests, hotels and corporates to benefit from a personalised and seamless hotel experience.

What is the single most important piece of advice/information buyers will take away from your talk?
The hotel guest experience is outdated and does not fulfil the needs of today's customer. From pre to post stay we optimise the guest experience allowing for a personalised and mobile experience which will reduce process times for hotels and costs for corporates.

What’s the biggest challenge facing buyers now and why?
Meeting users needs while reducing processes and costs.

What’s the biggest opportunity they should be taking advantage of and why?
The ways new technology can impact the guest experience to reduce operational complexity, waiting times and costs.

Why is it important to have a summit dedicated to buyers in the Nordics and Benelux?
These locations show large amounts of corporate travelers who value time and efficiency and are among the most advanced in mobile services in Europe - thus these markets need to stay ahead of the trends in order to best cater to their customers.

What does being traveller-centric mean to you? How does it benefit buyers?
Being traveller-centric means creating an experience that is tailored around the traveller's needs: mobile, simple, effective and personalised. This benefits the buyer as it improves efficiency on the hotel side by reducing processes allowing them to focus on personal interactions with guests.  

Why are you looking forward to BT Summit Amsterdam?
I am looking forward to meeting industry leaders in order to share and discuss future trends and how we can impact the industry together.


Monday, 21 August 2017

The Personal is Now the Professional: Is Your Corporate Travel Policy Ready for Airbnb?


There’s a clear disconnect between what more and more business travellers want and what corporate travel managers are providing. Demand for using the sharing economy for business purposes is clearly a major trend in corporate travel, but companies are not keeping pace.

In January 2017, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express, published the “GBTA Business Traveller Sentiment Index, Global Report,” showing that more corporate executives have been using sharing economy services more often in the last year. However, while companies are adjusting their policies to allow usage of ride-sharing services, they seem to be more reticent when it comes to home-sharing.

The GBTA survey indicated that approximately 50 per cent of corporate travel policies now allow ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. That’s a hefty increase from GBTA’s mid-2016 report, which reported 44 per cent of company policies approved ride-sharing. Over that time period, business travel ridership increased 21 per cent. Nearly 20 per cent of those who responded said they expected to use ride-sharing more in the next three months, while 71 per cent anticipated using it with the same frequency.

Home-sharing options like Airbnb gained ground over the six months between the two surveys, as well. Thirty per cent of policies allowed home-sharing in January 2017, compared to 28 per cent in June 2016. However, while corporate adoption of home-sharing rose only two per cent, the GBTA research states that the use of alternative accommodations among business travellers jumped 20 per cent.

Jeanne Liu, VP of research for GBTA, attributes the rise of interest in sharing economy services for work-related purposes to the growing familiarity of them among travellers in general.

“I think what we’re seeing is what we’re calling the ‘consumerisation of business travellers,’” she says. “It’s what you do in your regular consumer life. If you use ride-sharing and home-sharing, or if there are certain apps you like to use, it’s going to go into how you plan and how you pick your options in business travel as well.”

Although, Susan Chapman Hughes, senior VP of American Express Global Commercial Payments, cautions that travel managers need to better explain how sharing services fit into their company rules and regulations, because there seems to be some confusion.

“The sharing economy trends that have come to define personal travel are now significantly influencing business travel as well,” she explains. “However, nearly one in five travellers are still unsure whether their employer’s policies allow for sharing-economy services, making it especially important for companies to communicate clear details about the services and amenities that their policy covers.”

Supporting that, the online travel management company, Certify, published “SpendSmart Report on Business Travel Spending Trends for 2016” in January 2017. Certify’s 2016 data shows that Airbnb ended the year with a total of .27 per cent of expenses and receipts in the hotel category overall. While still under one percent of the total, Airbnb’s growth is significant in this context based on comparable business travel bookings among traditional accommodations.

In terms of their percentage of total business travel expense reporting overall, the top 15 lodging brands range from Hampton Inn at #1 (8.82%) to Residence Inn in 15th place (1.18%). Assuming a similar or slightly improved growth rate among business travelers booking Airbnb, Certify expects the home-sharing platform could approach the top 15 most expensed accommodation options within the next few years.

“Business travel got a lot more personal in 2016,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “The growing preference for sharing economy services like Uber, and to a lesser degree, Airbnb, really underscores the trend toward consumerisation of traditional corporate travel. Advances
in personal technologies and travel-based smartphone apps have made it easier for business travellers to choose the experiences and vendors they prefer. And the companies they work for are following suit with expanded travel policy guidelines to accommodate new services and payment methods.”


Join Airbnb at the Business Travel Summit Amsterdam, 26-27 September at the Rai Conference Centre, by registering here. Don't miss Global Head of Business Travel, David Holyoke, who is speaking at 14:00 on 27 September.



Thursday, 17 August 2017

WE HAVE TO RESPECT TRAVELLERS' PRIVACY AND RIGHTS

In Conversation With… Samantha Simms, global data privacy officer, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Sam Simms joins Business Travel Summit Amsterdam next month to talk about EU GDPR: what travel buyers need to know 

Tell us about your session in one sentence?  My session will help you understand the journey of personal information through the complex travel web.

What is the single most important piece of advice/information buyers will take away from your talk?  
There is support and guidance with your TMC in this new process. The industry cares and wants to work with you during this change.  

What’s the biggest challenge facing buyers now and why?   
Defining the roles and responsibilities of who is responsible for the data of your traveller/ employee.

What’s the biggest opportunity they should be taking advantage of and why?  
Come to my session - hear the facts about this topic from a person who lives and breathes it. Speak to the experts, share views with your peers. It’s time to take action in this area.

Why is it important to have a summit dedicated to buyers in the Nordics and Benelux?
There are key changes happening in the EU, public sector procurement, oil and gas, engineering companies – there are nuances in each market, so it’s vital we talk with customers directly here.

What does being traveller-centric mean to you? How does it benefit buyers? 
To me, it means the traveller is the owner of their personal information. We have to respect the travellers’ privacy and rights – this is really important to me.

NDC - good or bad? 
It’s really important; the flow of data will be impacted, when the matrix changes or evolves and we have to be part of the conversation.

Why are you looking forward to BT Summit Amsterdam?

Being able to speak to people face to face and really understand the issues affecting teams in the Nordics and the Benelux, as well as meeting buyers from Europe and talking to different clients.

Register for a free place at Business Travel Summit Amsterdam now at 
http://amsterdam.businesstravel-summit.com/ - the event runs from 26-27 September 2017.