After months of preparation and hard-work from the Business Travel Direct team in the build-up to the BIGGEST corporate travel exhibition of the year, it’s time to reflect on what a fantastic (and busy!) two days it was at the Business Travel Show.
First of all, a huge thank you to those of you who took the time to visit our stand at GTMC7 to meet the team and hear about our exciting news and partnerships (more on that in just a moment!), and a big thanks to the show organisers, ITM, and Buying Business Travel magazine for hosting such a great event. Here’s a picture of Adrian, Sam, Vanessa and Sarah (and our sunflowers) at our stand on Wednesday morning.
For those of you who didn’t manage to make it to the event or didn’t have time to pop by our stand, we thought we’d summarise what you missed so you don’t feel too left out.
1. We debuted our brand new portable Wi-Fi hotspots
At Business Travel Direct, we think it’s always important to think outside the box and try to find areas of our clients’ travel programmes where we can offer greater value for their travel expenditure. Phone bills are often a bit of a grey area in travel policy, but one thing we do know for certain is that data-roaming is BIG business, worth around £42 billion per year, and it can have a big impact on travel budgets. If you’ve ever been hit with a massive bill after returning from holiday or a business trip simply because you used your 4G signal to FaceTime home for two minutes or reply to an important work email, then you’ll know how data-roaming charges work.
That’s why we thought it would be smart to team up with Majestic Ventures Group, who’ve pioneered a small, hand-held, SIM-free device that works as its own Wi-Fi hotspot. By connecting to local internet rates it keeps your connectivity costs down to an absolute minimum, as you know exactly what you’re paying for. It offers secure VPN encryption so you can access your personal documents, drives and files and, as if that wasn’t enough, it can connect up to 20 devices at once.
It also doubles up as a battery bank, capable of charging multiple devices simultaneously, enabling you to stay productive whilst on the move, without having to worry about what kind of bill you might be coming home to.
2. We gave away mini-sunflower pots
If you’ve ever been to an exhibition of any sort before, you’ll probably have come away with a bag full of branded pens, USB sticks, mousemats, umbrellas, keychains, or general miscellaneous office stationary. The last thing you’d expect to receive at a business travel show is a tiny terracotta sunflower pot… but that’s how we hoped people would react.
The landscape of business travel is going through a huge evolution at the moment, especially around issues of unmanaged travel, blind spend, and heightened security risks; with many of our competitors unsure how to respond to these questions. So last year, we made a bold move to step away from the traditional Travel Management Company sphere and move towards becoming a Business Travel Solutions Company.
We became the first UK and European organisation to adopt Concur’s full suite of technology, enabling us to capture trips booked outside of our system. We’ve understood that we can’t necessarily stop travellers booking directly with a supplier; but we can make sure that those travellers are still cared for and tracked from a risk perspective, and that travel data is accounted for. We also believe this is going to make huge savings for our clients as we benchmark their rates against negotiated ones to encourage compliance and make sure they’re receiving the best deal possible with all the information in front of them.
You might go as far to say that we’ve been planting our own seeds of innovation.
If you did stop by our stand and pick up one of our lovely sunflower pots, don’t forget to tweet us a picture of it by 1st April 2016 @BizTravelDirect with the hashtag #breaknewground to be in for a chance of winning two return tickets on Eurostar. If you don’t have a twitter account then not to worry, we’d be happy for you to email us instead at email@example.com
3. We made a big TripBAM announcement
TripBAM made quite an impact on the travel industry last year for their innovation and again, we became the first UK and European travel company to partner with them (if you’re not sure who TripBAM are, you can download our infographic about them HERE).
At the Business Travel Show, we announced that our clients are starting to see significant savings by utilising their rate-shopping technology. As recently as January 2016, TripBAM found savings on 36 per cent of bookings when comparing rates at the same hotel and a cluster of hotels within a specific distance of the one chosen by the traveller or dictated by travel policy. Even when shopping solely at the same hotel where the original booking was made, savings were found on 12 per cent of bookings, representing an average saving of £19 per night. Over the course of the year, this equates to massive savings for our clients.
Further to this, we were excited to announce that TripBAM has some new enhancements that will provide procurement and travel managers with quality data showing real-time savings and the ability to measure the strength or weakness of their negotiated programmes.
The Benchmark Rate Capture enhancement captures the best rates it finds for the same hotel or cluster hotels and enables corporates to determine the competitiveness of negotiated discounts against market rates.
The Negotiated Rate Auditing function identifies preferred hotels that are not honouring their last room availability (LRA) commitments and highlight where best available rate discounts are not being calculated correctly.
Our partnership with TripBAM has proved to be a great success, and we are very much looking forward to seeing further savings it can achieve for our portfolio of clients.
4. Launchpad announced its winner
This year, the Business Travel Show introduced a new area called Launchpad. The idea behind Launchpad is that it helps buyers source the latest in travel industry innovation, whilst simultaneously showcasing new innovators and start-up businesses that could add real value to a travel programme. The top three finalists as chosen by a panel of travel experts then had to take part in a public Dragons-Den style pitch, before the winner was announced. So, without further ado, the winner is… (drumroll, please) DUFL!
DUFL is an organisation that allows users to travel virtually bag-free on their business trip. By simply using the DUFL app, you start off by sending your typical trip-wear to DUFL HQ where your wardrobe is washed, ironed, photographed, stored, and loaded into your app account. Then when it comes to taking your next trip, you simply sign into the app and choose the items you’d like to take with you, your arrival date, and the name of your hotel, and viola, you’ll find it waiting for you.
Bag-free travel… whatever next?
If you didn’t get a chance to see us at the Business Travel Show, then you could always drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give the team a call on 01895 450701 and we can fill you in on everything you might’ve missed. It certainly was a great show, and we’ll look forward to see you there next year!