It’s a GREAT time to be managing travel!

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by: Kurt Knackstedt, President, Association of Corporate Travel Executives.

Welcome to ACTEChatter, ACTE’s first blog! We want to make sure that your time spent on ACTEChatter is interesting, useful and insightful, so by all means please let us know how we’re doing.

Now that we’ve got you here, I’d like to start things off by making a statement that many travel managers out there might think is lunacy at the moment: it’s a great time to be managing travel.

Why would I be saying something like this when we have Ebola fears sweeping the globe, established economies continue to struggle to re-gain lost confidence, and generational differences are threatening to tear the fabric of traditional managed travel apart?

The answer is simple: despite external forces beyond our control, I believe that managed travel is on the cusp of some significant transformational opportunities. And it’s well worth dealing with all the challenging stuff when the opportunity to drive change is perhaps as good as it’s been over the past decade.

Recently ACTE hosted our first ever online conference, and to help kick off the conference ACTE’s Executive Director Greeley Koch and I tackled a juicy topic: “Pitfalls & Predictions for Your Global Corporate Travel Programme.” Some of the challenges we talked about are not insignificant, yet the potential for change and impact is real and possible. As examples:

  • Managed travel is now well-entrenched, and we can now focus our efforts on managed expense. The ability to now develop truly global and impactful expense programs is not just a reality but a necessity – and one which pretty much every company’s C-suite would be keen on.
  • Emerging markets are offering global travel managers the chance to “leapfrog” traditional systems, processes and technologies and try completely new ways of managing travel and travellers. Having such a clean slate is a rare opportunity indeed.
  • Travellers are more engaged than ever before. Yes, much of that is due to their wish to use non-managed travel suppliers, apps and tools given their experiences with leisure travel. However, the flip side is that the door is now open to engage with them, have a dialogue about their needs and your needs, and find new test cases to try new things with. What a fantastic opportunity for us to bring them along on this new journey!

So, if you’re having trouble getting your chair under the desk every morning, try to find time each day to think about how you can shape the future of travel management rather than only worrying about the current state of things. The challenges will never go away, but the opportunity to help drive the future of travel is rare indeed.

Let me know your thoughts – post your comments below!

Thanks for chattering. Please come back and join me anytime!

Warm regards,

Kurt Knackstedt, President, Association of Corporate Travel Executives.

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