The industry is shifting to personalisation; TMCs and travel agents will be here ‘for a very long time’; and 2019 will be ‘a pivotal year’ for NDC – insights from the CAPA-ACTE Global Summit & Corporate Lodging Forum

Exploring the theme of ‘Embracing Change’, the CAPA-ACTE Global Summit & Corporate Lodging Forum highlighted how managed travel is rapidly evolving and successful travel programmes and providers will need to adapt to change, rather than seeking to simply manage/control it, or seek to avoid it.

Here’s some key insights from the event which took place amidst the vibrant bustle of the Sydney CBD at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth from 03-Dec-2018 to 04-Dec-2018.

International SOS: 2018 an incredibly challenging year from a traveller security perspective
International SOS regional security director James Robertson said 2018 has been an “incredibly challenging year for those of us worried about supporting business travellers” and a number of events have “very easily overwhelmed and disrupted” the travel security architecture of the company’s clients. Mr Robertson reported that over a third of respondents to a survey of business travellers conducted by the firm indicated they had to dynamically change travel due to a risk item, such as security concerns or a weather event.

FCM Travel Solutions: Without data, AI ‘does not have teeth’
FCM Travel Solutions FCM innovation lab regional director APAC Mike Dudarenok stated that without data, artificial intelligence “does not have teeth’. He highlighted the importance of data, noting it “allows things in AI to work, to make a better AI”.

American Airlines GM Australia and New Zealand sales: Industry shifting towards personalisation
American Airlines GM Australia and New Zealand sales Simon Dodd commented on more personalised services and pricing in the industry, noting a shift away from service delivery based on loyalty programme tier or cabin class towards services tailored for particular travellers or groups of travellers. He said NDC enables “limitless… combinations of what we can do” in terms of products.

LOOK OUT…Exclusive executive interviews from Sydney will be published on CAPA TV in the coming weeks, as well as full coverage of the agenda sessions.

ATMC: Passenger personalisation may not always be in employers best interest
ATMC chairman Rob Dell stated that while the future may revolve around customer personalisation, the problem “we can foresee” is that personalisation may not “necessarily be in the best interests” of the customer’s employer. He noted TMCs’ role will be to monitor what that will look like, particularly when considering that “there are a whole bunch of things that go along with this” as well as policy compliance.

Next level of personalisation to revolve around ‘your specific style of behaviour’: FCM
FCM Travel Solutions FCM innovation lab regional director APAC Mike Dudarenok said he foresees the “next level of personalisation” revolving around “your specific style of behaviour”, not just what is “relevant to what you do”. He believes this will make it easier for people to engage and trust the system, pointing out: “Recommendation engines only work when people trust the outcomes. If they don’t trust it, they won’t use it”.

AFTA chief executive: TMCs and travel agents will be here ‘for a very long time’
Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Jayson Westbury said travel management companies (TMC) and travel agents will continue to exist “for a very long time”. He said TMCs and agents will remain as long as they continue to add to and demonstrate their value.

Amadeus: Trust is the key issue leading corporate travellers away from TMC
Amadeus IT Pacific head of sales – business travel Gena Signorini said that trust is the key reason why corporate travellers are hesitant in booking through TMCs. As they start booking independently they start questioning the necessity for a TMC. She stated: “We need to get to the trust point, lead the horse before you make it drink” and it takes time to get that “understanding” from client. The way to achieve this trust is through listening to the corporate travellers’ needs as “a travel policy is not written by a procurement person”. The TMC needs to work with leadership and travellers, study destinations, study properties, all in order to gain trust and enhance customer service.

HRS: TMCs’ should mirror their operations on Amazon to seek a greater understanding of clients
HRS – Global Hotel Solutions executive director industry relations Carole Poillerat said TMCs should aim to have an understanding of their clients similar to that which Amazon has of its clients, pointing that Amazon’s big success in conversion rate is due to their knowledge of their clients. She stated that TMCs’ issue is that people don’t trust the result TMCs show them, that’s why there’s so many results being presented to clients.

NARTA International: There will always be a role for the travel manager
NARTA International procurement manager Jen Barclay said automation will not eliminate the role of the travel manager as the “human voice” will always be required, whether it’ll be following a terror attack or a plane crash. She added that technology advances from automation, such as chat bots also have a “place” and a “need” in the industry.

IATA director NDC program: 2019 will be a pivotal year
IATA director NDC program Yanik Hoyles stated 2019 will be a pivotal year. He said “things will start to happen” in the next 24 months.

Amadeus: It is now our responsibility to take NDC to the world
Amadeus IT Pacific MD of corporations Ingrid Picard said that is “clear today that we are embracing” and communicating about NDC. She said: “Now [it is] our responsibility to take it to the world” and move forward with it.

Advito: ‘Customise messaging to specific traveller groups within your programme’
Advito senior consultant Paljor Lama encouraged corporate travel teams to “customise messaging to specific traveller groups within your programme”. Mr Lama said it is important to take the specific needs and interests of distinct categories of corporate traveller into consideration while communicating with travellers about programmes. He noted that “road warriors” or frequent travellers, have different needs to new hires and infrequent travellers.

MORE INSIGHTS…
CAPA – Centre for Aviation members were able to see live updates from the CAPA-ACTE Global Summit & Corporate Lodging Forum and have access to over 100 briefs from the event. Find out more about how a CAPA membership provides a front row seat to global aviation news, analysis and data as it happens, with access to a comprehensive suite of tools that can be customised to your needs.