The breadth of content at GBTA is far too much to fit into one post. The TripActions team started each morning with our peers and partners learning about the pressing themes and disruptive technology impacting business travel.
We reviewed some of our most insightful panels and conversations yesterday, and will continue today diving into discussions around NDC, mobile strategy and the relationships that power our businesses.
Here are learnings from more of our favorite sessions throughout the week. You can read part one of the GBTA breakdown — 7 Travel Trends Explored at GBTA 2019 — here.
There was an engaging panel around NDC, the International Air Transport Association’s New Distribution Capability, on the center stage.
“NDC is the most transformative initiative that has happened in our industry since e-ticketing — and the buyer has a voice,” Global Travel Director at S&P Global Ann Dery said.
“The most critical part of the journey is that we work together to make it happen,” said Yanik Hoyles, NDC director at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on NDC.
The general takeaway is that NDC will continue to come down the pipeline in a big way and transform the business travel world.
TripActions is excited about the potential of NDC. We announced our support and collaboration with United Airlines last month by expanding our marketplace and establishing a deeper system level connection to airlines directly, giving our customers unrivaled choice, better prices, access to ancillaries and more in the shopping experience.
Mobile technology will become a major ally in maintaining compliance and loyalty of the modern business traveler.
One of the final sessions of the week — How Corporate Travel Technology Is Adapting to the Continued Rise of Mobile — took place on Wednesday afternoon after many Expo attendees left McCormick. It explored mobile usage trends, the state of the mobile technology in the travel space, and what's next for mobile in travel.
Panelists spoke about how their travelers feel confusion when choosing between the apps provided by their travel management company, airline, hotel, and expense system.
Business travelers want to stay connected and desire solutions that are easy to use and navigate. Mobile can make or break travel programs, so it is necessary to successfully integrate a mobile strategy to empower travelers.
The holy grail in mobile strategy would be a single app that allows travelers to access all their information and add all their loyalty programs in a single platform with a smooth, user-friendly interface, they said.
Audience members reinforced their desire for a super-app that integrates all aspects of the journey in a single place. This turned to the concern around duty of care.
“We want to put our arms around our travelers and tell them, ‘We got you,’” said Laura Mattingly, CIO and SVP at Altour.
“The core app is how you book your travel so the duty of care is acknowledged,” replied Beverly McCabe, CEO of Innfinity Software Systems.
“There is always room for improvement when customizing the communication with each traveler,” said Christian Heymach, product solutions manager at HRS.
Because ensuring the safety of employees and meeting duty of care obligations is critical to corporate travel management, features like TripActions’ live traveler map allow program managers to keep up with movement and communicate with the entire traveling workforce at the click of a button.
The conversations also reinforced the idea that younger travelers want to communicate exclusively through chat, and they expect it to be available within seconds, 24/7.
The main takeaways from the discussion included the need for simplicity, reliable communication, and the ability to empower travelers to service themselves.
Another important theme carried throughout the week was the importance of culture, team work, and authentic connections in building business.
When it comes to decompressing from his duties, United CEO Oscar Munoz explained how connecting with employees on the ground gives him good energy.
GBTA reinforced this by tweeting, “Engaging with the wider workforce develops a culture built on trust and transparency – much needed qualities for when employees are entrusted with managing their travel and expenses.”
A panel on welcoming LGBTQ+ travelers discussed the new language of respect. This is a topic that we believe in deeply at TripActions as a mission-driven, values-based organization. To help encourage the industry to go further in inclusiveness, we recently introduced non-binary flight booking options.
“Travel is the most emotive industry in procurement. Everything is specific and personal,” said Christina Reichelt, who has a decade of travel management experience and serves as assistant director of global network management and development at World Travel, in a final panel on productive professional relationships.
“It doesn’t matter what position you’re in. Everything revolves around relationships. A key to our success is how we maintain and cultivate them.”
GBTA was incredible! Thank you to everyone who came by our booth, chatted between sessions, or shared an evening with us in Chicago. Be on the lookout for more insights and learnings from the event through webinars and blogs to come.
We might be headed home — but we’re already preparing for the next big event. Join us at TRAVERSE 19, a travel and tech festival where we’ll discuss the future of business travel, this October in San Francisco.