We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Last week Berlin was host city for the GBTA Conference 2014, the world’s largest buyer-led business travel conference as GBTA joined forces with VDR, Germany’s business travel association. Around 800 delegates attended the conference, whose agenda was jam-packed with keynote speeches, debates and networking sessions.
The event had a very strong start on the Wednesday afternoon, with a truly motivational talk from Debra Searle, a professional adventurer, who was introduced by Florian Tinnus, our Head of Corporate IT. We also received a warm welcome from Burkhard Kieker, the CEO of Visit Berlin. The 25-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall brought into perspective how far the city has come since 1989, and parallels can be drawn with the advances made by the airlineand travel industry over the same period, in order to achieve a more open and connected society.
Thursday’s and Friday’s sessions addressed the full range of challenges facing the industry, both old and new. A theme running through this year’s conference was that customers are in the front seat when it comes to making decisions about their travel policy. Edward Silver, GBTA’s SVP, Sales & Marketing, made that very clear when he stated that we are now in the “age of the customer”, and that technology empowers customers, and should adapt to their needs.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, and Sir Timothy Clark, President and CEO of Emirates Airline, also discussed the importance of giving the customer a choice when making a purchase. Both CEOs stated that ancillary fees put the customer in charge of the decision-making process, and this is a business model that is equally as relevant for long haul as for short haul airlines: the key is to align to what the customer wants.
Big data is another topic that was discussed throughout the event. Bernd Schulz, General Manager of Amadeus Germany, discussed the importance of the meaningful use of big data in order to address traveller needs, in a Breakout Session on “Big Data in Action”.
Another buzzword that came up in several sessions was the importance of collaboration between industry players, in order to deliver the improved customer experience that the corporate travel industry is looking for.
At Amadeus we are happy to see these trends in the centre of discussions, as they are objectives that we are working towards, both in corporate as well as leisure travel.
Please see our video of the event for more details: