It’s Time For a New Generation of Travel Management

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the dawn of modern travel management.

Ship's Wheel on blueIn 1994 Delta cut commissions to travel agents, turned travel departments into cost centers overnight, and ushered in the need for more sophisticated management of the travel category.

Our industry responded well.  It developed a core set of best practices.  Online booking technology and Prism’s airline contract management tool accelerated the importance of having an effective travel policy.

Consolidation of TMCs, use of procurement techniques, improved data reporting, duty of care – all these and more are now well-known hallmarks of managing a corporate travel program.

We’ve learned how to add value. The body of knowledge is solid, stable, strong.  The castles of best practices have been built.

But castles have limits.  They are neither mobile nor flexible. They aren’t suited for exploration and discovery.  After 20 years, we need explorers willing to chart new courses, to explore new frontiers.

It’s time to search beyond the diminishing returns of Managed Travel 1.0.   Continue reading

Terrific NBTA Europe Conference

NBTA Europe, with strong support from Paul Tilstone and the fine ITM staff, put on an excellent conference in Lisbon last week. About 220 delegates attended from all over Europe, plus a few of us from North America.  Topics included:

  • Traveler security – lessons learned from the ash cloud
  • Alternative strategies for procuring travel
  • How to use travel data more strategically
  • End-to-end technology (procure to pay) pros and cons
  • Impact on buyers from further airline consolidation
  • Social media in corporate travel programs
  • Merchant fees – the next unbundling?
  • And several other topics very relevant to corporate buyers

The networking and knowledge sharing was first-rate.   I’ll write more detailed posts about several of the topics that were covered. My only complaint was that I could not attend every educational session.  Kudos to NBTA Europe for launching an excellent event.  I look forward to seeing more of this high-quality programming in the years to come.