Advantage Conference: the traveller experience

The traveller experience and booking systems were high on the agenda at last weekend’s Advantage Conference, where delegates heard the challenges and successes of a range of corporate travel managers and agencies.

“We want our business travellers to be able to book travel any time, anywhere and on any device,” said Mark Cuschieri, Global Travel Lead at UBS.

“The traveller experience is critical. Our travellers want to self-serve and don’t want to speak to people when it’s unnecessary. We’ve created a real self-serve environment and made a huge investment in technology.

“But we also wanted to keep it simple,” he continued. “We have one single objective – to deliver the right information, at the right time in the hands of the right person so they make the right decision.”

Around 70% of UBS’ travel bookings are now made online, a figure that rises to 90% of all eligible bookings.

“In the future we need to bridge some gaps using technology and ensure we have the best pricing available. The GDS is not enough on its own,” said Cuschieri.

“Multichannel content is important and if that means implementing multiple APIs then we will do that,” he said, adding “the challenges for buyers are the same irrespective of size”.

Douglas O’Neill, CEO of travel and events agency Inntel, agreed the distribution landscape is complex, but said it’s not a new problem.

“We’ve had this content challenge for 32 years since Inntel was started, so it’s interesting to see it spread to air now.

“Clients want to make sure they’re getting everything and we’re taking feeds from all over the place to make sure they do,” said O’Neill.