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DIARY OF EVENTS


2018 10-11 July


Serviced Apartment Summit Europe 2018 Park Plaza Victoria, London servicedapartmentsummit.com


11-15 August GBTA Convention, San Diego gbta.org


18-20 September IT&CM Asia and CTW Asia-Pacific,


Bangkok Convention Centre itcma.com


4 October ITM Scotland Summit,


Edinburgh itmconference.org.uk


14-16 October ACTE global summit,


Paris acte.org


5-7 November World Travel Market, London london.wtm.com


8 November BBT Forum, London bbtforum.com


27-29 November GBTA Conference 2018, Berlin europeconference.gbta.org


2019


21 January Business Travel Awards, London businesstravelawards.com


20-21 February Business Travel Show, London businesstravelshow.com


30 April-1 May ITM Conference, Brighton itmconference.org.uk


102 BBT July/August 2018 BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


Scott Davies is chief executive of the Institute of Travel Management (ITM)


(itm.org.uk)


ITM UPDATE SCOTT DAVIES


The travel ecosystem relies on its TMCs


Travel managers need to stay smart as new technologies offer solutions


C


ONSIDERING THAT BUSINESS TRAVEL IS, in essence, the act of getting people to the place they need to be to do business, we all do a very good job at making it extraordinarily complicated, don’t we? ITM recently collaborated with one of our partners on an industry event with the theme “Simplifying Business Travel” – a worthy ambition indeed! I imagine other industries are challenged by complexity, too, but it


really does seem like we are the past masters in this area. We have the technical and commercial vagaries of content distribution, the bewildering array of fare types and room rates, the delights of duty-of-care and data security, ever-expanding payment types and currencies, relentless M&A activity that keeps the landscape changing. I could go on and, in a way, the constant shape-shifting is what makes our industry so fascinating and stimulating. It’s said that it takes a very smart person to simplify the complex. The capabilities of TMCs need to mould and transform with each new or changing dynamic that materialises and, it strikes me, the more complicated our ecosystem gets, the more we need TMCs. Being an order-taking, savings-generating, technology-enabled, culturally-aligned service provider isn’t enough anymore. Today’s travel buyer also needs a close and trusted business partner to cut through both the legacy and newly disruptive intricacies and vested interests on their behalf. Simple souls like me, however, need to keep their eyes open when


offered the opportunity to simplify and disentangle. The example I use is the traveller faced with 150 hotel options on his or her device once their travel method and destination are defined. Received wisdom is that the busy traveller would surely prefer that we use technology and algorithms to narrow the options to, say, three. Sounds better and simpler, right? Yes, but who decides which three to offer and precisely why? Hopefully, the travel manager oversaw the way the technology was programmed to reach the outcome and all three are in policy, lowest rate available and loved by travellers. But what if an available hotel that even better met these criteria was masked because it didn’t pay commission or because of some other motivation? Simplification is almost always a good thing. But stay smart out there! n Learn more at europeconference.gbta.org


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