Thursday 20 September 2012


I’m in Budapest for the GBTA Europe Conference and, what appears to be this year’s recurring theme in corporate travel, has reared its head once more: Rogue is Vogue.

Max Keegan, a 17 year old ‘digital native’ took to the stage this morning to share his experiences of booking travel in a bid to help buyers understand how they will need to evolve to cater for future travellers. In short, it’s all about digital, and his message to corporate travel buyers is that they need to adapt now to deal with social hungry travellers like him. 

It seems the new generation of business travellers is feeling rebellious. They don’t want to be reined in by regimented booking policies and procedures. They want the freedom to be able to book corporate travel using the types of booking tools – and with the same level of ease – they experience when booking leisure travel.  

What’s behind this urge for rebellion? Technology. Technology has enabled business travellers to pick and choose rather than be directed. It allows them to be flexible. And, according to this morning’s speakers, flexibility is one of the most important messages that buyers should take away from this conference. Closed, structured, mandated and managed policies are dinosaurs. The future is about open travel booking. 

Instead of forcing travellers to stick to very strict procedures, buyers are now being encouraged to allow travellers to book whatever, however as long as they stay within more general parameters of policy, whether that’s financially set or otherwise. By giving travellers this freedom and access to the booking experiences they are used to, it’s more likely they will stay within set parameters and everyone’s a winner.

David Chapple is in Budapest for the GBTA Europe Conference 2012 (#gbtaeurope2012). If you’re there, too, say hi. If not, say hi on Twitter –

Wednesday 5 September 2012


In the first cabinet reshuffle since the Coalition Government took power, anti-third runway Transport Secretary Justine Greening has been ousted and Patrick McLoughlin has taken her place. Not much is known about Mr McLoughlin transport-wise, apart from the fact he has a fear of flying and he represents the most landlocked constituency in the UK.

No doubt, airport expansion, and the issue of a third runway at Heathrow in particular, will be top of his agenda this morning. Speaking on behalf of the business travel industry – if I may – I urge Mr McLoughlin to use this opportunity to put party politics to one side, to not succumb to the NIMBYs (not in my backyards) who will fight against expansion at whichever airport affects them most, and to focus solely on what’s good for UK PLC.

As the Government continues to dither and decisions are delayed, cities like Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris – all with world-class, well-connected hubs – continue to attract global corporations and the UK continues to slide down the scale as a centre of global commerce. 

Our lack of airport capacity is also preventing us from introducing new routes to the BRIC countries, which is essential to fuel economic growth long term.

In my opinion, that means putting a plan in place to create a long term transport strategy that will support the UK as a centre for business and fuel its economy over the next 20-30 years. And in the short-medium term look to airports such as Gatwick, Luton and Stansted to ease the capacity issues at Heathrow that everyone is getting so blindsided by.

As event director of the Business Travel Show, I’d like to extend an invitation to Mr McLoughlin to address the business travel industry at our event in London next February where he will meet a very eager audience keen to question him about the issues affecting our business including airport expansion, APD, green taxes, and high speed rail and franchises.

David Chapple, event director Business Travel Show,