6 APRIL 2020


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Article from BTNews 6 APRIL 2020

ON THE SOAPBOX: Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA)

Clive joined BTA from Amber Road, the travel management provider, in August 2019 where he has been chief executive officer since 2015.  Previously he was UK general manager Etihad Airways for eight years, bolstering his aviation experience which included roles with Qantas, Gulf Air and British Airways.

Clive Wratten has been at BTA since September 2019"Events in the UK and across the globe in recent weeks are unlike ones any of us have witnessed before. The growing breadth and depth of the coronavirus pandemic will touch all of our lives – and our livelihoods too.

When we emerge from this crisis, businesses across the globe need to be in the best possible shape to rebuild their operations, to move forward and to grow.

For that to happen, we need to be smart and collaborative now. We need to take decisions and make concessions that we never previously thought necessary. We need to cooperate as industries and work alongside competitors in a way we’ve not had to before.

In short, we need to take the long view and share the pain amongst us, up and down supply chains, and across sectors. This is a zero sum game and collective cooperation must replace individual need.

The business travel sector is an enormous force for good in the UK and across the globe. Not only is it a major employer – 12,000 people in the UK alone – it’s also a fundamentally human industry that brings people together.

When this crisis ends, people will want to re-engage face to face and the business travel sector will play a crucial role in making that a reality. Business travellers are the people who forge the deals and build the relationships which make global trade possible, and so the business travel industry will be at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.

At the moment, that means we need sensible collaboration between airlines and travel management companies (TMCs) so that refunds can be passed on to corporate customers to help keep their businesses intact. It means extending the business rates holiday that travel agents are eligible for to also include TMCs, helping to sustain this vital component of the business travel sector.

And above all, it means looking after our colleagues – helping them navigate the world of virtual working, in a way that keeps them connected, engaged and cared for.

Communication with colleagues and industry partners is crucially important and that is what the BTA is focused on doing – sharing ideas and insights, campaigning for the support the industry needs, and helping it get through this difficult time."

Originally founded in 1967, the BTA has a diverse membership and roster of industry partners. Its TMC membership accounts for over 90% of UK expenditure on managed business travel, delivering value for money and great service to business travellers in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. The BTA focuses on delivering practical solutions to challenges and market changes, as well as supporting best practice, sustainability and the well-being of travellers.


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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Barry Graham, Washington, DC

It would be nice to think that travel will come bounding back after this, but the longer this lasts and the more people get used to doing business remotely, the less likely we are to see a travel industry that looks anything like it does today. There is also an opportunity to end those things about our lives that we hate, specifically sitting in traffic jams. Of course there are some businesses which require travel, but what this episode has shown is that people really didn't need to be on the road every morning and evening getting to and from their jobs.