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been cost effective, reducing man-hours by 50 per cent. ”We no longer have to check lists; everything is automated,” she said.


CONFERENCE SESSION Keynote Our keynote speaker was Tony Blair’s infamous spin-doctor Alastair Campbell, kindly sponsored by Egencia. He reckons that transport is now at the heart of the two big government issues – the economy and the environment – and is firmly in the pro third runway at Heathrow camp, saying that there has to be an overhaul of aviation policy as it is “such a big part of the global economy”. He is also broadly supportive of high-speed rail, “it’s good for Britain” he says, and doesn’t believe that the rail franchise system is a broken model. He is also optimistic that the Eurozone crisis “will be sorted” but that we will all have to get used to “living on a lot less for a lot longer”.


WORKSHOP Magic Numbers This session was all about management information (MI), from what you need, how best to get it and what to do with it. Ben Thirlwell, vp global marketing and


“We go with the 80/20 rule


– spend 20 per cent of the time looking back but 80 per cent looking forward





to travel is used for the right meeting. She said the company has made huge investment in a videoconferencing suite and WebEx-based VC, with every laptop incorporating a built-in webcam. Guy Snelgar, director EMEA of GetThere,


gave a useful round up of what’s in the market place and the associated costs. “It needn’t cost the earth,” he said, citing Skype and Facetime as the least expensive.


CONFERENCE SESSION Meetings Management The contentious issue of how to go about managing meetings spend was tackled is


this session. Douglas O’Neill, MD of Inntel, advised, "You need to find out type of spend and who is spending, so you can build up a booker network, and introduce a simple meetings policy listing who can sign contracts and what they can/can’t commit to. Remember, what gets measured gets managed,” he said. Michael Begley, MD of technology provider


Venue Directory, gave a round-up of how technology can help cut labour-intensive processes, from RFPs to delegate registration, and offer bespoke solutions. Travel buyer Sharyn Scott, global head of


events at Linklaters, runs around 250 events a year and explained her two-year search for the right software solution, resulting in a hybrid, enhanced version of Demo Media’s basic template. ”It’s easy to use, not overly complex and it


gave us absolute control over delegate data,” she explained. What is more, it has


product management, American Express Global Corporate Payments, underlined the ancillary benefits of using a payment card, such an improvement on working capital and quicker supplier payments, and emphasised that corporates can enjoy these benefits without necessarily having to put plastic in the hands of employees. Buyer Carel Aucamp, global sourcing manager travel at Agrega, explained that it took him six months to get the right data but once the company had married the data with an integration programme with its TMC, it


A CALL TO ACTION


Paul Wait, General Manager UK Global, Multinational & Sales at Virgin Atlantic, gave an impassioned plea for companies to grow their businesses by undertaking more travel. “For every US$1 you spend on travel you get US$12.5 back in revenue, according to an Oxford University study”, he argued, “so don’t cut the thing that makes you money. If you cut travel, you worsen the exports. “Prove the value of travel and move it from cost containment,” he urged. “Europe’s youth employment is 21.9% and will get worse over the next ten years. How can you help them? By expanding your business.”


THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 17


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