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BBT HOTLIST 2019


WORDS MOLLY DYSON


HIVER ANDREA SOMMER, FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE of start-up Hiver, told BBT last year she was “absolutely rubbish at remembering names” – and this spurred her to create a new platform. Hiver is a tool that tracks users’ movements at an event, such as a conference or exhibition.


Event organisers issue delegates with a wearable Bluetooth beacon device, which connects to the Hiver app on their smartphone. It detects when someone is talking to another person, and then stores the details of both people, giving users the option to later connect on Linkedin. The technology is very open– it can be integrated into other meeting platforms via a software development kit. The app also creates a map of user interactions at an event, which can be particularly useful for event organisers and exhibitors. By tracking movements and interactions, Hiver can help exhibition and conference organisers identify which stands or booths do well and which experienced fewer interactions. Sommer has turned a laser-like focus on the MICE sector and Hiver is one to watch.


CULTUREMEE IT CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS being sent to new locations. While a travel manager can try to mitigate the stress, it’s perhaps more helpful for the employee to have access to guides throughout their visit. CultureMee aims to provide such a tool in a single app. CultureMee provides travellers with pertinent information about their destination, including


practical advice, a comparison of their own culture versus that of their destination, fun facts about the country they’re visiting, travel advice, such as visa and vaccination requirements, a map of all the countries the user has visited, and advice and tips from fellow travellers. Husband-and-wife duo John and Dee Lee founded CultureMee in an attempt to break down


cultural barriers and help business travellers to enjoy their trips. (Dee Lee is pictured, centre.) Having this information can go a long way toward helping employees feel more comfortable about visiting new countries.


TAPTRIP ACCORDING TO RESEARCH BY EGENCIA, SME travel managers are increasingly turning to technology and “self-managed” tools to understand their company’s travel patterns. So it’s a good time for start-ups such as Taptrip which aim to make travel as seamless for SMEs as it is for corporates. Launched out of the Founders Factory in Manchester by Neil Ruth, formerly of Skyscanner


and IHG, and Tom Young from Booking.com, Taptrip is leveraging strategic partnerships with Skyscanner, Booking.com, Goeuro, Uber and others rather than traditional GDSs. Taptrip aims to make business travel easier for SMEs. Its inventory covers flights, hotels, rail and car services across the UK and Europe. The Taptrip management dashboard offers a range of automated services, including travel spend tracking, expensing and personalised travel policy implementation. It’s a new exciting way of looking at business travel. (Pictured left to right: chief executive Thomas Young,chief technology officer Jack Timblin and chief commercial officer Neil Ruth.)


AIRLINE FUEL PRICES THE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN WATCHING oil prices, expecting the growing cost per barrel to affect air fares, but so far the impact has been minimal. Other than the obvious examples of Monarch, Primera and Cobalt, many airlines have been able to absorb the cost, perhaps owing to the increasing revenue from the sale of ancillaries. (See Ancillaries feature, p132-136 for more.) But that could change this year. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has warned fuel costs could hit ticket prices, while the Lufthansa Group said its airlines would slow capacity growth in 2019. Carriers around the world are investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft. Many, such as British Airways and Qantas, are funding research into alternative fuels. Easyjet is partnering with Wright Electric to develop electric-powered aircraft capable of flying from London to Amsterdam. Fuel prices will continue to impact airlines this year – for better or for worse.


84


JANUARY/FEBRUARY


2019


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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