Event report: GTMC Conference
The GTMC’S annual overseas conference took place in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Delegates at this year's GTMC overseas conference were urged to ‘Mind The Gap’ by seizing new opportunities within the business travel market.
The TMC sector was told it could challenge in areas including new technology, meetings and events organisation, and influencing political changes such as Brexit and transport policy.
In his keynote address, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said technology, infrastructure and consumer behaviour and demands will impact TMC business.
“We’re going to see more change and we are going to have to start understanding how they [customers] are going to want to be served ten years from now”, said Walsh.
On Brexit, Barlacys head of investment strategy, William Hobbs, offered a less bleak view on the future: “We think it would be a headwind for the UK economy, but a digestible one. Economic output has risen and that long-run growth massively outweighs recession, but in any case recessions are incredibly hard to predict.”
He added that despite Brexit, “the UK economy is still an attractive economy compared to the rest of the world.”
However, political commentator Steve Richards said votes in parliament will add to uncertainty on Brexit. “The June EU summit will not be decisive. Theresa May wants to be able to say ‘accept the deal or it’s no deal’. If she loses, May would have to go.”
Furthering the themes of growth and opportunities to TMC revenue, David Trunkfield, partner at PWC said: “UK corporate spend totals about £40billion in travel, but about only £10billion is managed by TMCS.” He cited two opportunities to capture this: the leakage in managed business travel and also the unmanaged business travel segment.
Meanwhile, Travelport’s EVP and CCO, Stephen Shurrock, highlighted the need to deliver tailored products in today's market: “Personalisation is so important today. Customers talk about mobile and the fact they run their life through that device today.”