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WORDS MOLLY DYSON


BBT HOTLIST 2019


FELLO FELLO LAUNCHED AT THE 2018 Business Travel Show to the delight of travel managers and travellers, with former ITM chief executive Simone Buckley as top boss. Since then, the “traveller first” TMC has gone from strength to strength – joining the GTMC, attracting high-profile talent (including David Chappell and Brett Rance) and being shortlisted for the Business Travel Awards. The company prides itself on the fact that it places the traveller at the heart of everything it


does, ensuring employees – a valuable asset for any business – are looked after in order to help them be more productive. Fello utilises technology to facilitate a smooth booking process and provides a dedicated account manager to each client, with 24/7 support available to handle any incidents. One travel manager said their partnership with Fello meant they were able to balance cost with the welfare of the business’s employees – something that has always been a challenge for travel managers around the world.


DOUG ANDERSON, CEO, AMERICAN EXPRESS GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL THE MORNING OF 9 FEBRUARY 2018 dawned with perhaps the biggest news of the travel management industry – American Express Global Business Travel’s (GBT) acquisition of HRG. The takeover would create an estimated £2.04 billion in annual sales, making the combined company the number one TMC in the UK. Amex GBT CEO Doug Anderson handled the media frenzy with poise, maintaining his focus on the tie-up as the joining of two complementary firms. When the deal was completed in July, Anderson gave BBT an exclusive interview to explain both organisations were “delighted with the deal” and that his goal was to “ramp up our technology development”. As we move into a new year – and a new BBT Leading 50 TMCs list in May – it will be interesting to see how the continuing merger of Amex GBT and HRG progresses, as well as how Anderson and his team deal with the world watching their every move.


HOTEL RATE-CHECKING BOTS THERE’S A LOT OF TALK IN THE INDUSTRY about whether corporates are actually getting their negotiated hotel rates and even whether these rates are giving companies good value for money. Technology is taking some of the guesswork out of the process, with platforms such as


Tripbam, Waylo and HOTbot (Hotel Optimisation Tool Robot) helping travel managers keep track of rates to ensure they get the best price. While Tripbam and HOTbot track rates after a booking is made, Waylo’s engine predicts the probability of future price drops, as well as minimum rates, giving corporates the chance to decide the best time to book for cost savings. TMCs are also getting in on the price-tracking act, with CWT’s Price Tracking platform


rebooking the reservation if it identifies lower rates for both hotels and air fares. Hotel rates aren’t just about price but also what’s included (breakfast, gym access, etc), and checking bots claim to ensure corporates are getting a like-for-like deal if a lower rate is found.


EMMA MASLEN, MD OF UK ENTERPRISE, SAP CONCUR SINCE JOINING SAP CONCUR in 2017, Emma Maslen has spearheaded the company’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and eliminating bias. As a road warrior herself, she also has a deep understanding of the importance of traveller safety and duty-of-care, especially when it comes to female travellers. And she’s not stopping there; through her close relationship with customers, Maslen is


opening up conversations about diversity in their travel policies, asking whether they’re serving their companies’ diversity and inclusion commitments. She hopes to move the conversation on to how to make corporate travel safer for all and put SAP Concur at the forefront of this change. Plus, Maslen is an advocate for Concur Locate, which aims to help businesses know the whereabouts of their employees when faced with the challenge of policy leakage. She is working to build an ecosystem of experts who can provide a flexible and supportive system for employees.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


2019


JANUARY/FEBRUARY


83


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