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CONFERENCE


EVENT PREVIEW


‘Momentum’ builds for GBTA Conference


ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION will be a focus at this year’s GBTA Conference, which has adopted the theme “Momentum”. It takes place 27-29 November at the Estrel Congress Centre, Berlin, and is partnered by VDR, the German Business Travel Association.


ITM 2018: Get your game plan in place


Travel buyers were encouraged to push the technology agenda with their TMCs


UNDER THE TAGLINE “Changing the game”, buyers and suppliers at this year’s annual ITM Conference heard about the latest shifts in the industry that are likely to impact corporate travel programmes. The two-day event was held at


the Macdonald Aviemore Resort in Scotland in May. One of the key points to come out of an early session came from a representative of American Express Global Business Travel who said that in a landscape of suppliers encouraging direct bookings, TMCs can play a huge part in making sure clients are still getting the best deal by giving travellers choice while displaying only the content that is relevant to their needs and corporate policy. Meanwhile, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics played a huge part in a breakout session. One technology expert from Clarity related well-known tools, such as Amazon’s AI, to travel management, explaining how the automation of certain processes can make managers more efficient when it comes to updating and maintaining a travel policy. Each panellist touched on the subject of machine learning and how implementing something as simple as a post-trip satisfaction rating system can help travel managers ensure they are sourcing the right type of content to keep their travellers happy.


10 BBT July/August 2018


STRIKE A BALANCE Day two of the conference opened with a session featuring directors from the procurement, finance and HR departments at major global companies talking about travel policies. All three directors agreed that


travel policies must strike the right balance between creating a seamless traveller experience and reducing costs. However, while one said his company used a strict, all-economy programme at all levels, another said it was important to “get it right and respond to feedback” to retain important talent within the organisation.


The conference concluded with


thought-leadership specialist Rana Walker, who discussed how technology was changing the way we travel. She said that by 2020, 85 per cent of online interactions with suppliers will be handled by chatbots and AI. Walker encouraged the buyers in the


audience to be proactive and work with their TMCs to find the right technology for their programme. “Ignoring it will not make it go away,” she warned. n How EY uses automation in its travel programme, p32


SAVE THE DATE Next year’s ITM Conference will take place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole from 30 April to 1 May 2019


The conference aims to give around 1,000 business travel professionals from more than 20 countries the opportunity to focus on learning and usable content, in 30-minute sessions.


There will be 32 sessions in total, as well as four industry panels and two keynote speakers. Marc Zuber, GBTA Europe regional chair and global travel category lead at Nestle, said: “This is a great opportunity for corporate buyers to network with peers and stay current. What’s more, the Corporate Travel Team Programme is a cost-effective way to bring an entire team and educate them in one go.” nVisit europeconference.gbta.org to register. Follow #GBTAVDR18 on Twitter


COMPANY IDENTITY


Redfern rebrands as Corporate Travel Management


REDFERN TRAVEL HASrebranded to Corporate Travel Management (CTM). The Bradford-based TMC was


acquired by CTM in December 2016. Following a successful integration, CTM says its clients will benefit from more domestic travel options in addition to its globally negotiated supplier rates and access to increasing NDC content. Clients will also have access to the brand’s technology, including its online booking tool Lightning and its SMART travel portal. Michael Healy, general manager for Scotland and Bradford, CTM, said: “It was obvious from the outset Redfern was a perfect fit for CTM. There are so many synergies between the two companies, not least our focus on optimising the customer experience through innovative technology and service.”


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


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