The sixth edition of the IATA Business Travel Summit took place virtually from Geneva on the 8th and 9th of June 2021. This unique invitation-only event brings together representatives from across the business travel value chain including airlines, sellers and travel managers.
- Retailing conversations are now being led to a large extent by the buyers as well as the airlines. Buyers are expecting new products and services through NDC-enabled pipes.
- The environment is at the top of the corporate agenda; they expect not only clear communication and action from airlines, but also simple ways to process relevant information and be able to easily embed it into the booking flow.
- Restarting travel is an opportunity to do things better and improve some of the existing flows. Buyers want more information in real time and in a much simpler way.
- Business travel recovery timing is difficult to predict and will take different forms such as fewer large events, but more smaller meetings among remote teams. New travel approval processes will include ROI, as well as environmental considerations.
- Airlines are gradually implementing new products and services. In general, their first step is to make available in their APIs the products that were sold on their website. They are looking at tech-savvy partners to speed up market developments and implementations. Airlines also focus heavily on environment and sustainability and want to ensure information is passed to the end-customer in a seamless way.
- Servicing is now more mature and in the deployment phase. Dynamic pricing is being rapidly adopted by some airlines, adding more price points which enables to better match demand. Bundles can be tailored for key corporate clients.
- Many TMCs have leveraged the last year to invest in technology and to improve their platforms. They have focused a lot on the mid and back office to simplify flows and provide better reporting capabilities. They have also implemented seamless servicing – in alignment with industry standards and airline developments. They are still asking for more standardization and simplification, as their technical environment has become more complex. Focus is on automation and economies of scale where possible.
More information is available here on the IBTS website.