Technology and business travel @ GBTA Frankfurt, November 2016, Round Up

Here’s the good stuff and hot topics covered during the three-day GBTA Conference 2016 Frankfurt in Partnership with VDR, GBTA Europe

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association VDR – wrapped up their third successful joint conference in Europe this week with record attendance, GBTA reported the event brought together over 950 attendees from 20+ countries for networking, education and top-notch speakers.

Industry Leader Interviews with Concur, Amex GBT and a panel on the distribution outlook took Centre Stage

Mike Eberhard of Concur gave his first European interview as the new President of Concur, sharing his thoughts on leadership, consumerization, duty of care and the future of the buyer role.

Doug Anderson, CEO, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) shared a little on his transition to the new role spoke about acquisitions, company culture, risk, mobility and the importance of diversity.

The Distribution Outlook Panel featured C-level executives Gus Vonderheide, Hyatt; Christian Pop, Lufthansa; Thorsten Eicke, Siemens and Bill Brindle – HRG. The prime game changers discussed within the constantly evolving business travel distribution landscape were:

1. The consumerization of business travel and introduction of new initiatives such as NDC ISS and direct connect and the disruption of mobile:

  • A mobile world has transformed the expectations of an always-connected traveller; the whole market is changing and mobile is driving change.
  • Access, super convenience, personalization and speed of use and disruptive leisure travel are reshaping corporate travel demands.
  • Fragmentation of channels has been around for many years but the key point now is that there is a new generation of travellers who want to do things differently. Price is important, but not the only thing, it is more about access - last seat/room.
  • The database today is the GDS, it is very important that intermediaries retain access to all content efficiently. Offerings needs to be reassessed - will GDS content go away, no, but there is a new way that is coming to business travel and the strategic adoption of technology innovations is key.

2. The current landscape of industry consolidation

  • One of the biggest drivers shaping today’s travel industry and how having an effective strategy and technology in place must drive the process of successful mergers or acquisitions.
  • Refresh of some of the more recent travel acquisitions - Amex GTB acquires KDS and SMT; AccorHotes added FRHI and John Paul; Expedia Inc`s recent additions - AirAsia Expedia, HomeAway, Orbitz and Travelocity; Vista Equity acquired Cvent)

Goodbye plastic? How the corporate payments revolution will transform your travel programme, panel discussion

Amon Cohen, Director, TravelWord hosted a discussion with corporate payment technology experts Jes Rasmussen of Eurocard, Mario Zorn of AirPlus, Clive Cornelius of Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Paul Raymond of Conferma.

The top digital disruptions of corporate payment were covered from virtual, mobile to “invisible” technologies and what opportunities for better data management and control they present for travel managers and travel experiences.

The New Leaders of the Technology Revolution Unplugged

An extremely exiting session covering the brightest and best leaders of the tech startup space, their perspectives on innovation in travel technology. It would be foolish not check the hottest this year:

1. FairFly – maximizes savings on business travel by tracking flights after booking

2. Roadmap – allows the travel buyer to get his own, branded, customized app

3. TripRebel – a hotel booking app which allows the traveller to book multiple hotels within the corporate policy; bookings can be cancelled and rebooked depending on price drops

4. Conichi - Simplifies hotel stays with mobile check-in/out and digital door opening

With so much cool tech coming out of the travel industry, Conferma is already looking forward next year’s Conference in Frankfurt 28-30 November 2017.