Buyers and suppliers gathered at the BBT Forum to discuss mobility, risk, digitisation and collaboration

A DOUBLE KEYNOTE ADDRESS from Uber for Business and Visa aptly set the scene for the most recent BBT Forum, which was titled “Adapt, progress and thrive”.

Delegates at the InterContinental London – The O2 heard how both companies were partnering with cities to improve mobility through technology and ease congestion for commuters. Uber said it was using data from the 10 billion trips booked through its platform to help local governments with ini- tiatives, such as setting up the infrastructure to support the mass use of electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Visa said it had increased the footprint of its contactless payments on transport links to cities all over the world, including London, where 1 billion journeys have been completed using contactless.

THE FUTURE IS DIGITAL BBT editor Matthew Parsons moderated a panel discussion on digital transformation in corporate travel programmes. Speaker Jo McQuade, travel manager at Npower, said the energy firm decided to search for a new TMC some four years ago, aiming to increase adoption of the online booking tool. Other areas of the business had started using self-service technology solutions, so she included digitalisation in the tender docu- ment and chose a new partner based on the platforms it was offering. She said adoption improved to 98 per cent and presented the firm with reduced operational costs. Fellow speaker Michael McSperrin, global head of facilities and support services at Alexander Mann Solutions, said the firm’s

chief technology officer recommended a Microsoft programme that allows users to create simple chatbots. The software was eventually used to create a bot that em- ployees could use to find the answers to any questions they had about the travel policy and to troubleshoot certain issues. Patrick de Jong, product designer at

corporate travel platform Roadmap, added: “Digitisation of a travel programme can save money, but it can also save time – it takes away a lot of the stress involved in travel and puts everything into one place so travellers don’t waste time looking for what they need.” Meanwhile, artificial intelligence consul- tant Andrew Anderson said humans were absolutely essential in order to make AI work for businesses. “A huge amount of time and effort can be saved by implementing AI, but it’s not about replacing people; it’s about helping us to be more efficient and pro- ductive in their roles by automating certain steps in everyday processes.”


The next session covered cross-departmen- tal collaboration, with Oliver Moore, head of travel agency at Enterprise, leading the discussion. The consensus among the panel was that how buyers should engage with key stakeholders within the business is almost entirely dependent on company culture. One buyer said forming a committee with

people from different departments worked when restructuring a travel policy. Another said a similar strategy proved successful with stakeholders taking an active interest in

InterContinental London – The O2

which travellers in their department weren’t adhering to policy so they could rectify this. A third buyer admitted their approach to implementing a managed solution would be straightforward, but it turned out to be a challenge identifying key stakeholders. They said: “At first I thought this policy would be all about saving money, but in talking to people in the business I realised it was more about protecting travellers.”


During the next discussion, Stephanie Smook, regional director, EMEA, at ACTE, asked what attendees thought was the number one future disruptor. Answers included millennials, consumerisation of corporate travel, cyber threats and terrorism. Julie Black, deputy chair at BACA – The Air Charter Association, said with everything from drones and ash clouds to multiple air traffic control strikes across Europe posing a threat to travellers’ journeys, travel managers can help to mitigate disruption by communi- cating more effectively.

One buyer said it was a challenge to adapt to what is essentially unpredictable, but all travel managers need to be able to “cut through the noise”. Determining the first point of contact for

travellers when they’re faced with a difficult situation can be a challenge, according to Emma Maslen, senior technology leader - managing director, UK&I Enterprise, SAP Concur. “Some travellers might call HR first, but people in that department might not even know that employee is travelling.”


The final session provided delegates the chance to ask questions, with Tom Otley, edi- torial director at Panacea Media, moderating. One audience member asked how travel managers are supposed to ensure the safety of employees who need to keep their location a secret for reputational or business reasons. One answer was that it’s essential that trav- ellers let at least one person in the company know where they are, even if it means ensur- ing the information is confidential. ■ The next BBT Forum will take place on 7 November. Visit

Supported by: Joint sponsors:




Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100