London calling: Day one of The Business Travel Show 2014 in focus

Malek Nejjai

Chief Diversity Officer, Amadeus IT Group

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The show, which also celebrates its 20th anniversary today, saw Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi deliver the opening keynote address to the business travel community, focusing on the importance of technology and how travel as an industry is one that has been more impacted by technological change than any other across the world. He also touched on how the lines between leisure and business travel continue to blur, and how generations to come will expect increasingly more from technology providers. The ‘ease of use, delightfulness and overall simplicity’ of leisure travel must be replicated by the business sector he said in an emotive call to action, which concluded with the compelling view that ‘the future is faster’.

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Billed as Europe’s leading conference and exhibition for corporate travel buyers, managers and bookers alike, the Business Travel Show 2014 kicked-off today in London promising to empower visitors to ‘buy and manage travel better’.

Panel debate

Across the floor, the much anticipated panel debate on NDC and the future of distribution more generally followed, with Paul Tilstone, SVP, Global Operations GBTA, Yanik Hoyles, Head of NDC, IATA,Svend Leirvaag, VP, Industry Affairs, Amadeus, and Ken McCleod, Corporate Director at Advantage all having their say. The session, which was moderated by industry expert Amon Cohen, was a friendly and lively one, and Svend commented that IATA’sNDC, in its original format, ‘is dead’, and that the discussion would benefit by evolving and focusing on what he called ‘NDC 2.0’, now that IATA has committed to developing an open standard involving all stakeholders. In parallel, Yanik Hoyles of IATA said that ‘a new page has been turned’ and that IATA is ‘now listening’.

Research findings

Beyond the debate on all-things-NDC, today also saw the launch of Amadeus UK’s second annualBusiness Travel Insights research paper: Business Travel Gets Personal. Amongst the key findings of the research, presented byFlorian Tinnus, perhaps the most striking is that travel clearly plays an important role in terms of employee satisfaction. Business travellers in the main are positive about the impact of travel on their overall engagement with the company they work for and their wider working life. However, around 20% of those surveyed state that their company travel policy has a negative impact on how they feel about their employer. At the same time, men are twice as likely to be out of pocket when it comes to expense reimbursement, by up to 100 pounds; and moreover, efficiency and wi-fi access are numbers one and two respectively when assessing priorities for business travellers around the globe. Food for thought as day one of the Business Travel Show 2014 draws to a close.


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