24 FEBRUARY 2020
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Rob Greyber is president of Egencia, the business-travel platform of the online travel shopping provider Expedia and an exhibitor at the Business Travel Show (B530) that starts at Olympia London on Wednesday (28 February).
As president, he is responsible for overall strategy and operations worldwide and has been with Expedia Inc since 2004. He has spent nearly two decades in technology, having begun his career as a systems engineer at Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS). Here, Greyber looks ahead into a new era where, as he summarises, “technology will continue to change our lives”.
“A new decade has begun, and some key trends have begun emerging that will shape business travel in the years ahead. There will be ups and downs, but this isn’t the first time a bit of economic uncertainty has hit the headlines. The long-term trend for business travel continues to be growth.
But growth doesn’t mean easy. Business growth can still mean challenges for travel managers – how to support growing teams, how to adapt policy to new locations and functions, how to maintain cost discipline.
Building a strong travel culture, thinking about travel as part of how your company operates and not as a budget line item can help organisations to gain a competitive edge. Organisations that do this see corporate travel as a strategic investment that delivers concrete value.
The impact of technology will grow. But the technology itself will disappear. Over the past decade, our cameras, calculators, and calendars have all moved into our smartphones and tablets. This integration of tasks into a continuity of experience won’t stop.
At Egencia, we’re ahead of that curve. With an end-to-end platform that’s always learning and evolving, we’re taking tasks like shopping for the best prices and merging them into a continuity of what happens in the background.
Egencia uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to save you time and money. With real-time data, we continuously monitor airfares, then rebook tickets at lower prices, resulting in millions of dollars of savings for customers. Those savings will double in 2020.
Technology is disappearing, moving more into the background, behind the scenes. Options will be personalised before you see them. And you won’t need to understand machine-learning to reap the rewards.
Business travel is about people. It’s personal, no matter how much technology changes our world. For travellers, this will mean more integrated experiences, spanning the entire trip.
For travel managers, it will mean another step in the exciting evolution of their role in their organisations. Travel managers have evolved from policy publishers to cost controllers and are now emerging as champions of corporate culture.
This cultural impact of corporate travel is here to stay. With the right tools and data, travel managers can refine their programmes and grow their influence in the enterprise.
Knowledge is power when the planet is at stake. Business travellers are considered citizens when they’re on the road or at home. They – and their organisations – want to do business with companies such as Egencia that are mindful of sustainability.
To help business travellers bring their values to work and help travel managers shape their sustainability impact, we’ve added carbon emission reporting for air and hotel to our Analytics Studio.
We’re also working to create reliable sustainability criteria to help understand the choices in the market. To get this right, it will take an industry-wide effort to standardise understanding of fuel efficiencies, renewable energy sources and other factors that can carry trade-offs for a given trip.
From there, we can develop ways for travel managers to create policies that incorporate these new sustainable options into their travel programmes.
Sustainability is a clear starting point for personalising travel options even more with the values that travellers and organisations live by. It’s another way companies are working to increase business travel’s contribution to shaping corporate culture.
Welcome to a new year, filled with new opportunities. Welcome to a new decade where technology will continue to change our lives at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
We are excited to see what this next decade will hold”.
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