• Doug Anderson: Fusion crucial to business travel


    Chloe Couchman
    This week some members of the CWT team have been in attendance at BTN’s The Beat Live, which is an industry gathering of leading business travel stakeholders from TMC’s, technology providers, corporate travel buyers through to hotel, air and ground suppliers.

    The three-day event is a mix of panel discussions, lively debate and strategic presentations about what the industry is doing now, what it should be doing and what might happen in the future.

    CWT’s CEO and President, Doug Anderson, was asked to open the event and take the important role of delivering the keynote speech.

    The speech Doug chose to deliver was titled Fusion. This represents the concept of the harmonious mix of customer service and technology. The speech was opened with a video we created (see above) which emphasizes the importance of technology being developed hand in hand with customer service. Doug highlighted best practice examples of this ‘fusion’ from both the B2C world and the B2B world including Amazon’s Mayday button – where Amazon experts chat live to customers, Virgin Atlantic using Google Glass to welcome passengers and even Apple and their high touch Genius Bars, where customer service is personal and face to face.

    The speech received a great response from The Beat audience and many of the topics following the conference referred back to the topics Doug set out and were touched upon in the film. So as The Beat Live ends for another year, I thought I’d highlight the top five topics discussed at the event.

    1. Sharing economy: The hot topic which kept being raised was how Airbnb, Uber and Lyft were now joining the business travel ecosystem. TMC’s, suppliers and even buyers all agreed they are here to stay but more education needs to be made to ensure risks are covered and the right information can be offered to travelers in the future.
    2. The future of the TMC: A huge positive was the respect and acknowledgement that the role of the TMC is not only still needed by both travelers but travel managers and suppliers want to work with more. Everyone agreed TMCs have to adapt and concentrate more on travelers but the comments were positive and highlighted the important role it has moving forward.
    3. Traveler centricity: Panel after panel highlighted the pendulum swing to that of serving the traveler. Travel buyers highlighted the importance of being with the traveler every step of their journey.
    4. Personalization: Doug highlighted in his keynote speech but the world of business travel is moving swiftly towards the ‘Amazon’ model – providing travelers with personal, relevant and useful offers, suggestions and information.
    5. Innovation: The word was used constantly and whether suppliers, TMC’s or travel buyers – the whole industry is buzzing with new ideas, new technology and new innovative ideas. The conference highlighted just how exciting the industry is right now and what a huge amount of potential opportunities will be benefiting business travelers in the years to come.

    So, exciting times and keep watching the CWT Savvy Traveler for more.