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OUTLOOK


back burner for a while,” says Areka’s head of consulting Kate Watson. “I think it is absolutely on corporate radars now, along with traveller wellbeing, and they have those in their strategy plans for 2020.” Video technology company Synamedia also has a big


focus on sustainability for 2020. “With the need to reduce emissions by 2050 we are doing everything we can from a company perspective to make sure they working. Cer- tainly with the recent news and Greta Thunberg’s press conference, that definitely puts it to the forefront of the programme,” says Nikki Rogan, global travel manager. Sustainability is also “really starting to drive decisions”


says Kerrie Henshaw-Cox, global category lead at AstraZeneca. She says: “We currently report on lowest logical fare, but I see that changing to what your carbon emissions are for you or a business unit. Are they better or worse than last year? When you’re in a successful organisation, there is generally a trend towards growth. There is conflict there about being more sustainable and driving the business, but AstraZeneca now has an absolute focus and commitment to it. “I spoke to one of the vice-presidents and he wants


travellers to always think of alternatives to travel. We have a 10 per cent year-on-year target to reduce carbon emissions. That is a big reduction.”


WE HAVE ASKED OUR SUPPLIERS ABOUT THEIR READINESS, TOO, FOR BREXIT, INCLUDING BRITISH AIRWAYS, WHO HAVE THEIR OWN BREXIT TEAM


‘EVERYONE IS FEELING BUDGET PRESSURE’


The universities sector also has its own specific issues for 2020, reckons Jayne Thorn (pictured), category manager, corporate ser- vices of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC), which represents 135 universities, educational charities and further education colleges. “Everyone is feeling budget pressure. All


have been hit with pretty serious pension contribution increases, so it is an issue for everyone in the sector,” she says. “Non-EU student numbers are in limbo and there is increased competition for students. There are a couple of difficult years coming up. “One of the biggest challenges for us is mav-


erick spend. Every aspect of it – hotels, trains, air – all come with transaction fees whether on or offline,” says Thorn. “To some extent, aca- demics with research budgets can still pose


72 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


a challenge. They feel like it is their money. But this can be a positive; they are protective of it and treat it as their own. “Buying travel is very emotive. We are all


consumers, and so we’re all armchair experts. Academics know their spend is audited and grant bodies will check how that money is being spent. If not managed appropriately, it can put grants at risk. “Our focus is in giving information to travel


bookers, particularly those who say, ‘I can get it £2 cheaper booking directly with the airline.’ It is about educating bookers and end-users on what the transaction fee provides – flexibility and emergency help if there are tropical storms or terrorist activities or something else goes wrong, and corporate responsibility for our travellers when they are abroad.”


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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