Why Corporate Clients Share The Blame For Slow Business Travel Innovation

It's often said that innovation in corporate travel doesn't keep pace with advancements in consumer travel. Some accuse travel management companies of being stuck in the status quo. Others point fingers at booking technology providers for failing to adequately update systems. These may be fair criticisms, but travel managers shouldn't shy away from recognizing who looks back at them in the mirror, or at least who those people work for.

Companies are risk-averse. They're bureaucratic. They have legal departments keeping them out of trouble. Amid heightened . . .

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Author: David Jonas

David Jonas in 2006 co-founded business media firm ProMedia.travel after ten years as a journalist with Business Travel News. David rejoined BTN in 2010 as executive editor when its parent company acquired ProMedia, and in 2014 co-created The Company Dime. David has a bachelor's degree in communications from Cornell University.

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Sudarshan Jagannathan
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Sudarshan Jagannathan

Great piece as always Jay and team. Is there some sort of an adoption scorecard by region that can be shared to understand who adopts well and why/how? In my experience, travel managers are open to the conversation of adding new content and suppliers but the internal cost of change is high and gets lost in upward communication. Can’t blame them, a flawless (ha!) implementation has more invisible costs than planned historically and leaders want assurance on how to best tag the revenue/cost targets.

Thomas Tulloch
Advisor

Great article and fantastic advice and observations made by both Visser and Benjamin. The bottom line is with the rapid pace of disruptive technologies being adopted that improve the traveler experience (Uber & Lyft) for example, it’s virtually impossible to fight the trends regardless of the dictates of your corporate travel policy. If improving productivity on the road means breaking policy, corporate travelers will break policy every time. We see it in the data with all the corporate clients we work with. Even those who have policies that prohibit the use of the sharing economy products and services out there,… Read more »

Andy Menkes
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Andy Menkes

This is always going to be a hot topic with as many opinions as there are options. Data security is a global issue and allowing a (new) third party to have access to travelers and their data has inherent risks. I am on the same page as Rita in that if you can rely on the TMC to be the (new technology) integrator it can accelerate the process and also ensure that the new entrant can interoperate within the TMC/GDS ecosystem. It’s not as simple as just “app approval,” and the due diligence that slows down a process is a… Read more »

Thomas Tulloch
Advisor

Great point about the data security issue, although it’s no longer just about “data security,” it’s also about “data privacy.” While the two go hand and glove this has become a more pressing priority for company IT departments who have moved away from delivering innovative technology solutions and are now the new gatekeepers for (new) technologies being adopted. IT is the governing authority over what technologies get approved and for whom they allow access to employee data (I call this duty of care for data). It’s now imperative that the new tech being adopted (apps or third parties) survive the… Read more »