GBTA Post ConfBlog Post

3 Things We Learned at GBTA 2017

FlightStats celebrates a successful first year exhibiting at GBTA.

Another fun-filled GBTA Convention has come and gone, and we’re looking forward to applying the lessons we’ve learned to the year ahead. This was our first year exhibiting at the event, and we’re grateful to be a part of an amazing industry that is focused on making travel better for all.

What we love most about attending a large gathering like this is the chance to talk informally with so many of our peers in the industry. It was especially gratifying to discuss the capabilities of our new Travel Waiver Services with long-term and future customers. Before the event, we announced our partnership with major airlines to automate policy exception waivers, which resonated well with attendees.

GBTA 2017 was all about the traveler experience

There is no denying that the journey for a traveler can be difficult. Luckily, it was evident at GBTA 2017 that both corporations and travel suppliers are taking critical steps toward understanding how travelers navigate today’s environment, and what they can do to improve managed travel programs.

When 80% of travelers say their business travel experience has a significant impact on their overall job satisfaction, it’s obvious corporations need to choose suppliers that are actively working to create a favorable traveler experience.

While a lot goes into the traveler experience, one aspect we focused on at GBTA was disruption management. Our new Travel Waiver Services offering helps both travel management companies (TMCs) and airlines turn travel disruption into an opportunity to provide better service to their shared customers. But you don’t have to hear that from us. We filmed two interviews at GBTA that help explain why automatically matching policy exception waiver to traveler itineraries is going to make a huge difference in improving traveler experience:

Fox World Travel launches Fox Waivers 3i

As an early-adopter of Traveler Waiver Services, Fox World Travel made their agency operation more effective and efficient during irregular operations with Fox Waivers 3i. They decided to put policy exception waivers “in the hands of their clients directly” to make a significant improvement to the way they manage disruptions.

Lee Brubaker talks about the value of waiver automation for TMCs

Lee Brubaker from Agency Technology, LLC, a company that provides GDS automation services to TMCs, sat down with FlightStats’ co-founder, Mark Tilden, to discuss how Travel Waiver Services make TMCs even more proactive when servicing their clients.

Now that The Business Travel Event of the Year® has come to a close, let’s take a look at the top three things we learned from the event:

1. It’s time to prepare for the uptick in Millennial business travel

Did you know Millennials are moving into the road warrior role at a faster rate than other generation? From ridesharing to room sharing, the industry is going to have to adapt itself to the habits of Millennials quickly.

For example, Millennials are intrinsically tech savvy and communicate in short bursts, which will have an enormous impact on the end-to-end mobile experience and other in-transit messaging. They expect information to be real time and personalized to their trip.

2. Investment in Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence is not optional

Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have been getting a lot of buzz for some years, and that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. According to experts at GBTA, chatbots will be indistinguishable from humans by 2029 and companies not consider chatbots will be running behind.

It makes sense that chatbots and A.I. are paving the way for increased personalization. Rather than using one or multiple apps, travelers can get the answers they need from a single intelligent solution.

For those considering these types of solutions, the most important thing to remember is that it will require access to large amounts of different types of data. Integrating multiple data sets into a solution is the only way users will be able to ask more complicated, multilayer questions and get the most accurate and sophisticated answers possible.

3. Technology is the key to minimizing points of friction

According to new research conducted by the GBTA Foundation, the in-trip experience drives the most challenging aspects of business travel. Of the study respondents, 61% found the time spent in transit to be the most frustrating and 42% reported changing a flight or reservation during a trip to be one of their biggest pain points.

So how can we as an industry address these issues? When it comes to travel management, we need to go from reactive to proactive, and the only way to do that is to implement the right technology.

Policy isn’t enough to minimize points of friction during a traveler’s journey. Instead, there must be a balance between policy and technology that helps mitigate problems before they even happen.

That’s a wrap

Of course, much more happened at GBTA this year, and we are in awe of what our industry partners across the travel ecosystem have been developing.

If you didn’t get a chance to meet with us during the conference or you’re interested in hearing more about our new developments, such as Travel Waiver Services, please contact us.