Industry experts from the travel management industry convened yesterday in New York City to kick off the sold-out Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)’s 2011 Strategic Travel Symposium (STS), the association reports. Designed to inform, connect and educate travel professionals, industry leaders and media on the latest trends affecting the industry, GBTA’s STS is being held through March 15 at the Hilton New York.
The 2011 Strategic Travel Symposium launched with a full day of programming on Monday, March 14. Sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, the opening general session, “The Wall Street Journal presents Global Trends in Travel,” was moderated by Scott McCartney, WSJ’s travel editor and author of the column, “The Middle Seat,” explored the role mobile communications plays in the travel space, the importance of social media to corporations and their customers and the need for corporate transparency in managing fees.
The panel discussed the issue of security and what travelers are sharing on social media networks and mobile devices. The group engaged attendees asking about the need for a corporate travel policy on social networking and what information is being shared over mobile devices. “With over 14,000 travel apps available, we are seeing power in the hands of the traveler and knowing compliance and performance needs to be higher,” said panelist, Mark Hollyhead, senior vice president, Egencia Americas.
The second session, “The Value Strategy: Getting from the Back Office to the Boardroom” was presented by Wharton School of Business Senior Consultant, Dr. Franck Schuurmans. Schuurmans told a packed session to focus on innovation, the need for an entrepreneurial business plan and the importance of creating a value proposition within the role of your company. He encouraged attendees to be looking for what is around the corner and to enhance their peripheral vision. “The price of excess focus is the loss of peripheral vision.” He warned attendees of the dangers of being myopic and stressed the need to look outward.
The day concluded with Buyer and Supplier Lab sessions. The Buyer Lab sessions covered the need to benchmark travel budgets and corporate performance as well as the role communications plays in making your travel program matter. The Supplier Lab Sessions emphasized the importance of emerging, accelerating and existing sales channels as well as learning how to map the political infrastructure of your company.