Hello earthlings. How is everyone today?
I myself am just peachy. I returned yesterday from a nice two day jaunt to Austin, TX., where I was honored to have been asked to give the luncheon keynote presentation at TheBeat Live Conference.
If you are involved in corporate travel, if you need to interact with a GDS system on a regular basis, if corporate airline contracts make you dizzy with frustration, if the thought of migrating your airline’s computer system to a new version keeps you up at night — or any combination of the above — TheBeat should be required reading for you. (This link takes you to their blog, the publication is subscription only, just like PlaneBusiness Banter.
TheBeat was begun several years ago by Jay Campbell, who was a reporter for years with Business Travel News. Jay and I go way back. Waaaaay back.
The cool thing about Jay and David Jonas and Mary Ann McNulty and the rest of the gang who now work under the Promedia umbrella is that they have the same irreverent attitude towards this lovely and oh-so-entertaining industry as I do.
As a result, a gathering of Beat subscribers is very much like what a gathering of the PlaneBusiness Banter subscriber base would be. Lots of opinions, lots of in-your-face discussions, and a really worthwhile way to spend a couple of days.
So — what was the topic of my presentation this year? “Liquidity, Leverage and Labor.” I think that is pretty much self-explanatory.
What is one thing that I learned from attending this year’s conference? Amadeus is not sparing any expense as they greatly expand their presence in the United States. On a number of different levels.
Needless to say, the question of whether the GDS systems are worth it, are becoming irrelevant, or need to change into something completely different was a major topic both officially and unofficially.
The state of corporate contracts with airlines — a hot topic. The issue of just who is going to pay for the ever-escalating cost of “look to book” ratios in terms of accessing travel information online — a hot topic. The effect of individuals now being able to control their entire travel experience in the palm of their hand, thanks to the iPhone and more than 2000 travel-related applications available for that iPhone?
The general consensus is that we really haven’t even scratched the surface on how this is going to massively change the way travel is both managed and consumed.
Oh yes, which leads to another big area of change — control of travel and its expenses from a corporation perspective. Who has it, who is losing it, and who is taking it.
Oh and the procurement method of purchasing travel? If your company is still doing it — you need a new CFO. And if your CFO is the one in charge of authorizing travel, you need a new CEO.
More in this week’s PlaneBusiness Banter on the conference.