Hello! My name is Uriel Rangel, and I recently went Around the World learning about corporate travel with ACTE and sponsored by BCD Travel! I graduated from Georgia State University with a BBA degree majoring in Managerial Science and minoring in Hospitality Administration. I’m currently interning in the Supplier Relations department of BCD at the global headquarters in Atlanta, GA. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things I learned about corporate travel during the Around the World traineeship programme:
- Duty of Care is #1
- In today’s hectic world Duty of Care has become one of the most important issues in corporate travel. Making sure your travelers are safe and secure at all time is the #1 priority for any company. Duty of care has become its own specialized industry with companies like ISOS innovating how we care for our travelers.
- Travel Managers have a very intense job
- Setting the right travel policy for your company can be very demanding. You have to take into account the company culture and the kind of work that is done. A travel manager from Goldman Sachs is going to have a very different job than one from Estee Lauder.
- Keep travelers comfortable
- Implementing a good travel policy is more than just saving money. When developing and enforcing a good travel policy you have to make sure your travelers are comfortable and ready to work. You’re going to want to shy away from booking them a flight with two separate layovers to just save $60 when it could also mean the traveler traveling all day. Lower pricing doesn’t always make sense when trying to keep the traveler comfortable and happy.
- The Hotel Sourcing Circus is not as fun as it sounds
- The time of the year in which travel managers, hoteliers, and TMCs negotiate hotel rates is not a fun one. Nobody seems to like how it’s done and how frustrating the process is for both parties.
- The Global Distribution Systems (GDS) are the ultimate corporate travel marketplaces
- The GDS systems are the current backbone of the corporate travel industry. They are the main source to list and book airline and hotel content. While there may be a few content providers moving towards a direct approach, the GDS systems are still very relevant.
- New Distribution Capability (NDC) could be the future
- While the GDS systems are the current foundation upon which all is distributed, New Distribution Capability could change all of that. It’s a pretty tough idea to explain, but you can learn more about the NDC here.
- The “New Middle Class” will be important for Brazil’s corporate travel industry
- The old corporate traveler of Brazil was used to a much higher standard of luxury when it came to business travel. The “new middle class” traveler seems much more willing to accept reductions in travel spend. These new travelers have no qualms about flying economy, or staying in a lower quality hotel. They are a unique class of traveler and very easy to appeal to and work with.
- EMEA is a very diverse region
- EMEA contains all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The size of this market makes it very tough to work with. It also has the most bookings done outside the GDS than any other region. This decentralized sourcing makes it a lot more complex to do business in Europe. Furthermore, Europe has the largest concentration of hotel booking agencies which makes it harder for TMCs to break in with their sub par GDS systems.
- Visas are a big issue for Indian business travelers
- Speaking with travel managers in New Delhi gave us a new perspective on the visa process. For Indian travelers visas are not easy. TMCs go as far as to have implants at the offices of prominent clients to help corporate travelers with the visa process. At the end of the day, a visa is nothing more than permission to appear in front of an immigration officer at the port of entry.
- Payment Solutions are a big deal in China
- Companies like Airplus fill a big role in the Chinese Travel Market. They act as a creditor for TMCs to purchase airline tickets. Because of the laws & regulations regarding air travel in China it is necessary to have a company like Airplus act as a creditor for air travel transactions. A TMC alone would not be able to handle the cost.
Hope you learned something new! Don’t forget to learn more about the Around the World Traineeship Programme for 2018!