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BBT Forum


Buyers gathered at London’s One Whitehall Place to hear about the latest trends in payment technology, tips on influencing traveller behaviour, plus GPDR advice. By Molly Dyson


challenges and future opportunities. The event at One Whitehall Place,


T


London, began with a keynote session delivered by the procurement team from Accenture. They spoke about how emerging technologies, such as blockchain, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, will affect the role of buyer. The team put forward the idea of “procurement masters”, which they defined as the top 10 per cent of procurement organisations in terms of performance. These masters, they argued, embrace advancements in technology to transform into an intelligent enterprise. They leverage tools to master their data and improve processes, and require the skills of other departments – data scientists, IT professionals, business experts and designers – to adapt to changes in the buyer’s role.


VIRTUAL FUTURE BBT editor Matthew Parsons then took the floor to lead a panel discussion on corporate payments and control, which focused on the growing popularity of virtual cards. Amadeus’s payments expert Davide Antonioli said studies showed virtual cards will overtake physical payments within the next five to eight years, which was evidenced by the fact that a large number of attendees agreed they currently use some form of virtual payments in their programme. Parsons asked about the emergence of invisible payments, used by companies such as Uber, with the panel agreeing the technology will likely spread to other areas of the travel industry, such as restaurants. Speaking of the future, Roberto Da Re,


founder of blockchain start-up Travel Ledger, explained how cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, worked in a similar way to virtual payments. He noted that the opportunity presented by open banking will drive change, while blockchain will address the data challenges of the technology.


Supported by:


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM Joint sponsors: BBT July/August 2018 21


HE THEME “COMPLETE THE CURRENT, EMBRACE THE FUTURE” occupied the latest BBT Forum as delegates gathered to discuss current


ADDRESSING A DEADLINE Taking place just days before the start of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the BBT Forum took the opportunity to provide advice from experts on meeting the requirements of GDPR. The panel discussion was moderated by Oliver Moore, head of travel agency at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The main piece of advice for travel buyers


was to audit their TMCs and suppliers to ensure they had plans in place to be GDPR compliant. One buyer in the audience said their organisation had conducted third-party reviews and would require all potential suppliers to go through the process in the future. It was pointed out that both TMCs and


their clients needed to be honest in the event of a data breach, as businesses will only have 72 hours to inform the Information Commissioner’s Office if their data is compromised. Any organisation found to be non-compliant with the regulation could face fines of 4 per cent of its annual global turnover or Ð20 million (£17.6 million). Lastly, attendees were encouraged to document every step their business has taken to prepare for GDPR and ensure all employees are aware of their data policy.


THE POWER OF INFLUENCE The penultimate session, moderated by Douglas Green, HRS UK & Ireland managing director, covered the much talked-about topic of influencing traveller behaviour. One buyer said the challenge that travel


managers faced was getting travellers to book smarter to drive down costs. This can be difficult when dealing with a range of personality types and company cultures. A representative from a travel and expense specialist commented that it was important to choose tools that balance policy management with an interface that replicates a leisure booking experience. Panellist Tony McGetrick of BCD Travel


said policy adoption will only happen over time, using the analogy of going to the gym: “When you first start working out, you won’t see results straight away. It’s only if you keep going that you’ll start to see improvements.”


One Whitehall Place, London


Reading and Writing Room, One Whitehall Place


QUESTION TIME The day ended with an open discussion, during which one buyer asked participants where they saw NDC and GDSs going in the next five years. A supplier commented that NDC was


simply another communication tool in the airlines’ arsenal and that the GDSs would continue to play a pivotal role. Another buyer disagreed, saying that because the GDSs had not moved on much since their invention 50 or 60 years ago, they could face the challenge of having to change or miss out on potential business – a “Kodak moment”. The audience turned to the topic of the


RFP process, with buyers saying they wanted TMCs to focus on their own strengths rather than pointing out the weaknesses of their competitors. The TMCs volleyed back that they wanted buyers to understand how much time went into responding to RFPs; they often faced tight deadlines that made it hard to provide the information required.


n The next BBT Forum will take place on 8 November. For details, email Emma Gordon at egordon@panaceamedia.com


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