by: Kurt Knackstedt, President, Association of Corporate Travel Executives.
As we welcome a new year…wait, scratch that. I just checked my calendar and its March already!
In any case, as with any calendar change this past one gave us at ACTE a chance to reflect on all that’s going on in our industry today, but also how the last several years have shaped the conversation around the role of the travel manager, the travel program, and managed travel altogether. Over the past couple of years ACTE has helped the industry get their arms around rapidly evolving trends and demands for our industry through our “pillar” approach to education and events. We focused on macro-level issues and opportunities using the pillars of Data Access and Analytics, Industry Innovations, Traveler Centricity, Talent Development, and ACTE Community, and built all our programs around these themes. The response from everyone was very positive and in many cases we helped our peers and colleagues get ahead of these trends, and we appreciate everyone’s participation and feedback.
However, as our industry never sits still nor does ACTE, and we are now evolving our education strategy and efforts around more specific and segmented areas, all of which center around perhaps the most important question to be answered by us all over the next few years: what does the future of travel management – and in turn the travel manager – look like, and how will we respond and support this evolution as an association?
We have responded by developing an entirely new framework for 2017 and beyond: “Becoming the Travel CEO: putting the travel manager at the hub of a strategic travel program.” This structure is illustrated simply by our “ferris wheel” diagram (hey, if the description makes sense, don’t over think it!)
As you can see, there are newly defined components of what goes into a well thought-out travel program that really clarify what the future of travel management is all about. No longer is it just “hotels” but rather “sleep” and all the ways that business travellers must figure out how best to get that sleep while on the road. It could be on an airplane or in an airport waiting for a flight just as it normally would be in a hotel, serviced apartment or private accommodation. “Ground” is not just cars and taxis but trains, private cars, pooled services and all number of different options of getting around. And so on.
However, the key point to remember is that at ACTE we are aiming to help ensure that the future of travel management is led by those who understand that it is a multi-faceted, constantly changing and business-critical function that needs to be looked at across the short, medium and long terms. In essence, what a good CEO of any company needs to do, and thus our goal to help develop the Travel CEO of tomorrow.
As part of this transformation, we’re also transforming the way we engage with our members, partners, constituents and peers across the globe. Over the coming year we’ll be upgrading our online infrastructure, constantly challenging and evolving our engagement channels, and expanding our already substantial social media profile, amongst other things. I’m also pleased to announce that the ACTEChatter blog is going “open source” as well, as you’ll no longer just see postings from me!
We’ll be inviting our members, conference speakers, industry leaders, volunteers and pretty much anyone who has something to share or say about corporate travel to contribute to ACTEChatter, which will be very exciting indeed. And although I’ve enjoyed and appreciated chattering with you all over the past couple of years, I hope you’ll enjoy the new ACTEChatter experience as much if not more so than just having me blathering on all the time.
In any case, I look forward to another amazing year and years ahead for all of us at ACTE. And of course, as always – thanks for chattering!
Kurt Knackstedt, President, Association of Corporate Travel Executives