Justin Bieber (a.k.a. Mike D) discusses the “Art and Science of Travel”

May 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

by Mike

If Tony is our Lady Gaga, you can consider me Justin Bieber. I’m much younger, and I don’t yet have the same level of demand that TD does to be on the speaking circuit. Plus, I’m not a prima donna that requests green M&Ms and other luxuries.

Last week, I had the opportunity to present at CI Travel’s “Art and Science of Travel,” an event for corporate travel managers. Art represented the service side of the equation (CI Travel), and Science was the technology (Rearden Commerce & ExpenseWire) piece.

The event allowed for a dynamic conversation, leading to great insights on what we can expect for the rest of 2010. The key takeaway is that there has never been a more important need to get ahead of the curve and be prepared for even more transformation in our ever-changing industry. Here are some other highlights I took away from the discussions:

  • A top car rental company warned travel managers that car manufacturers made fewer cars this year, tipping the supply and demand scale, and not in the travel manager’s favor. Expect higher car rental rates due to a smaller supply of cars.
  • We discussed potential airline mergers, which have now come to fruition. If you think the whole ancillary fee issue is complicated now, just wait. It’s going to get worse. Your best bet is to start figuring out ways to aggregate all your data feeds now. Standards may take a while to penetrate the market.
  • Another panelist considers the iPhone one of the travel industry’s most important game changers. Even a technology stalwart like TD can’t deny it is becoming just as transformational as the BlackBerry in the corporate travel space. Mobile technology has only caused some ripples in water, compared to the cannonball-like explosion it’s about to create in the near term. If you don’t establish and manage your own mobile program, you’ll lose control of your travelers who will find solutions on their own.
  • Our esteemed host, CI Travel stated that 50% of their agency personnel work virtually by leveraging technology. They expect that number can grow to 90% within two years, thus driving down costs for everyone. More web and teleconferencing, anyone?

2010 is turning out to be quite an interesting year. I’d suggest that you let others in the industry stress over the minutia such as whether or not airlines can charge for a carry-on bag. You on the other hand, should take a step back; find ways to manage areas of spend that are already in front of you. Leverage data from your expense solution, work with your travel technology tools, and engage your TMC for assistance and expertise. You might have to pool data from several sources, but at least it is available to you now. And by the time all the airlines work through these ancillary fees, we’ll have found new ways to save in other areas, so some of the fees may not even be as consequential to you.

Entry filed under: Ancillary Fees, Business Travel, expense, Mike's musings, Mobile. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Sip your Starbucks as you stroll past the TSA. Esta bien. Gapple? Appoogle? Travel Technology Heats Up

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