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OUTLOOK


She adds: “We are going to have to stop travelling how we used to. That has to come from the top of the business. As I like to say: ‘If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got.’” The year 2020 offers some significant challenges to


travel buyers but also some great opportunities to inno- vate. This requires buyers to be brave and Henshaw-Cox’s words here should act as a spur for action – don’t do what you always have done.


AIR TRAVEL Every travel buyer seems to have NDC on their mind. IATA has set a target for a group of 21 “leaderboard airlines – which includes British Airways and Lufthansa – to handle at least 20 per cent of their sales through an NDC connection by the end of 2020. Synamedia’s Rogan says that as this deadline ap- proaches, buyers need more clarity – on both pricing and how they can keep things under control. “The airlines may be offering things, such as lounge passes, that we might not want included. There is no guidance on how that is going to work,” she says. “Also there is the negative impact on the ease of the flow of the travel booking. Where bookings have been made on an NDC platform, to make a change you have to call various call centres.” While NDC is at top of mind, others are thinking about other aspects of air travel. AstraZeneca, for example, is looking at being more dynamic with air. “We have air route deals in place for two years. We are looking at our use of route deals and we now have constant monitoring of what we are paying. If it was not the best deal, why not?” says Henshaw-Cox.


TECHNOLOGY Reshopping tools have been all the rage this year but scepticism about the value they provide will increase in 2020, argues Areka’s Watson: “Corporates are becoming suspicious of reshopping because it is not particularly transparent and TMCs are making big profits. One of the questions we have is whether they are real savings or should they have found a cheaper fare to start with?” But technology will continue to be of huge importance


for travel managers in 2020 and is helping some organ- isations to change the way they operate. Henshaw-Cox says AstraZeneca is running a chatbot pilot aimed at saving 15-20 per cent of travel managers’ time, while travel buyer Jef Robinson predicts simplified “small meeting” technology will become more widely available in 2020, “allowing sourcing and booking without the usual full RFP and contract negotiation process”.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


2.1% increase in 2020


SOURCE: American Express Meetings and Events


2019 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 75


meeting spend in Europe will


the amount


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