GBTA 2016 contrasts U.S. and European approach to business travel

Axel Mueller

Head of Global Sales, Corporate IT, Amadeus IT Group

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It was a great experience discussing all things related to business travel with more than 7,000 industry professionals at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Denver, Colorado.  The theme of the convention was finding the right balance to understanding and leveraging the competing interests between business travellers and organisations.

GBTA 2016

The convention provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the differences and similarities between American and European corporations when it comes to business travel. In the United States, corporations can have higher levels of maturity when it comes to technology programmes. Many are already running the 2nd or 3rd generation of tools which often have a very high adoption rate. They’ve also been enabled by a less complex market structure, which favours the penetration of travel and expense technology, with one language, one currency, many domestic point-to-point flights, and fewer content providers compared to the more complex European market

There’s also a different appetite for technological innovation in the United States, with many corporations interested in being seen as leaders. For example, U.S. corporations tend to be the early adopters of B2C concepts, like AirBnb and Uber, in their travel programmes.

However, U.S. and European corporations share some common challenges. Both need to overcome the ever increasing complexity of the travel industry through content fragmentation and both need to offer a more traveller focused user experience. There’s also a strong need for mobile as well as methods to enable more pre-trip, on-trip, and post-trip sharing among travellers.

Convention attendees were pleased to hear that Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense provides solutions to meet these challenges and addresses some key pain points in the technology landscape. There was great interest in how this solution integrates with Microsoft Outlook to launch a travel booking directly from the calendar. Voice recognition prototypes and email parsing that translates into travel offers were also of interest as were the collaborative trip planning features.

Overall, the convention was an excellent sharing and learning platform for Amadeus as we seek to create better corporate travel experiences. Have a look at the #GBTA2016 hash tag for more insights from the event.


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