What You Need to Know About Digitalization and Corporate Travel – Webinar on November 21st

Two weeks today, we’re running a free webinar titled "Buying Travel Services in the Digital Age" looking at how digitalization is affecting the travel industry and what that means for travel managers and travel services category managers in particular.

I remember arguing with my friend Guy Allen a few years back, when he was still CPO at giant tech firm Fujitsu. I was being deliberately provoking, really, but I argued that procurement should just give up on the travel category altogether, as the function was not doing value in most cases.

I could personally find deals for hotels or airfares on websites day after day that were better than his wonderful corporate agreements, was my bold claim. And that was a direct result of “digitalization”, as I took advantage of the low-cost airlines with their dynamic pricing and rapidly updated websites and apps, and hotels using complex algorithms and online aggregators to increase their yield and offer the occasional bargain to smart travellers. That conversation was before we saw Airbnb throw another disruptive spanner into the travel world, providing travellers with another option which can be very cost-effective.

But despite my argument, which had some validity, we shouldn’t actually write-off the corporate role in travel buying and management. Organisations want to know where the money is going, for a whole host of reasons, and put some controls on user behaviour, so management information and spend data will always be important.

Organisations also have a duty of care to their staff, and that has been an increasing focus in recent years. It is actually quite important, for instance, that organisations know where their people physically are – not at every minute of the day, but certainly which flight they are on, and where they are staying while travelling on business. And if a traveller is going down the DIY route, who takes responsibility – and picks up the extra costs – if things do go wrong?

There is also the whole area of process management around travel spend. That can be a significant cost for organisations and hassle for the traveller when we consider the end-to-end process from booking to approvals and payments.

Given all this, and the fact that for many organisations, travel and related spend is a top-ten spend category, we’re pleased to be running this webinar on November 21st at 12 noon (UK time) in conjunction with Roomex, who provide a global hotel booking platform. Roomex is using digitalization to drive admin efficiency, consolidate payments, reduced risk and increase spend visibility – so offering organisations and travellers an attractive combination of flexibility and control in terms of their hotel-related spend.

I’ll be joined by Julian Kulkarni, VP Marketing at the firm, and we’ll be discussing the latest trends in corporate travel, and looking at what category managers should be considering in terms of their strategies and approaches.

If you don’t think this is for you, please pass on the word to your travel category manager or equivalent – many thanks.  You can register here for the webinar, and we hope you can join us on November 21st at 12 noon (UK time).


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