CWT thought-leadership event gets personal with latest industry issues and trends
19 NOVEMBER, 2014
New travel audience ‘bookellers’ identified by travel managers
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) UK & Ireland welcomed over 75 top travel buyers to its annual client event, CWT UK Exchange 2014, at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London yesterday.
The conference included keynote speeches from industry experts, breakout sessions and an enlightening panel debate, focusing on personalisation in the digital world, and what this means for those managing complex travel programmes (and personalities) for their company.
The event was moderated by BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern, and key industry speakers, including Stephen Humphreys from British Airways, Travelport’s Simon Ferguson, Alistair Campbell from glh and Simone Buckley from ITM, lead discussions on a range of topics.
CWT’s new senior vice president, UK & Ireland, Chris Bowen, opened the day describing business as good. His comment, addressed to the audience of travel buyers, that “more of your travellers are flying, booking hotels and transport, which is great for our business and yours, as means more people are on the road, selling, making deals and ultimately driving the economy forward”, demonstrated a positive outlook for the industry. Chris highlighted key statistics from CWT and GBTA’s Global Travel Price Outlook 2015; “overall business travel spending in the United Kingdom is predicted to rise 5.1 per cent in 2015”.
CWT’s Carinne Saulet, vice president, global product management and Nigel Turner, senior director, programme management & business development, UK & Ireland, shared the stage to discuss the trends of digitisation, hyperconnectivity and personalisation that are shaping the business travel industry. Carinne highlighted that, “85 per cent of customer interactions will be digital by 2020 and the number of devices per average household worldwide is expected to increase 500 per cent in the next eight years.” Nigel explained that the technology trends will fuse with human interaction and CWT’s focus will always be on providing the best customer service with this winning combination for its clients.
A workshop session on managing maverick behaviour within a hotel programme was moderated by Peggy Studer, senior director, Foundational Hotel Products, CWT, and opened up debate with travel managers on how best to keep their travellers compliant by providing them with the tools, support and motivation they need to stay within policy.
In another workshop, moderator Robert Haynes, programme management director, CWT asked, “Does your policy match your strategy?”. Group discussion brought to light that many travel policies remain static for several years, and by matching policy to the overall business strategy, travellers will be able to understand the reasoning behind their travel programmes more easily.
Looking at how to break down travel policies for different demographics within their business – from experienced to inexperienced travellers, frequent to infrequent - travel managers also identified a new type of traveller, the ‘bookeller’ (booker and traveller), and discussed various techniques of how to get them to encourage and adhere to policy.
Simone Buckley, CEO, Institute of Travel & Meetings, Alastair Campbell, customer, markets & strategy director, glh hotels, Stephen Humphreys of BA and CWT’s Nigel Turner ended the business part of the day with a panel debate which raised some interesting subjects such as the use of data for personalisation, and the importance of using that data for the benefit of the customer.
Comedian and writer Sandi Toksvig entertained the evening audience at the gala dinner, with her stories of difficult and delightful travel from places such as South Sudan to Singapore since she was a small child.
CWT Exchange was sponsored by British Airways, Avis Budget Group, American Airlines, Iberia, Travelport and glh.
About CWT CWT is a global leader specialised in managing business travel and meetings and events. CWT serves companies, government institutions and non-governmental organisations of all sizes in more than 150 countries and territories. By leveraging both the expertise of its people and leading-edge technology, CWT helps clients derive the greatest value from their travel programme in terms of savings, service, security and sustainability. The company is also committed to providing best-in-class service and assistance to travellers. In 2014, sales volume for wholly owned operations and joint ventures totaled US$27.3 billion. As part of its commitment to responsible business, CWT is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact Ten Principles. For more information about CWT, please visit our UK website atwww.carlsonwagonlit.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter@CWT_UKI