The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) hosted an Executive Forum last Thursday, 22 March, 2012 at Le Meridien Stuttgart. The sold-out forum offered 130 ACTE members and guests a unique perspective on the evolution of the business travel industry.
The main theme of the ACTE Stuttgart Executive Forum was “Farewell to Yesterday – Evolution is Always.” The event was designed to enhance understanding of the corporate travel market, offer professionals the opportunity to network with colleagues and openly discuss the future of the industry with high profile speakers and interactive workshops.
“We were pleased to partner for the fourth consecutive year with VDR –The German Business Travel Association for the ACTE Executive Forum in Stuttgart,” said Suzanne Neufang, ACTE President and General Manager of GetThere. “With dozens of Germany’s top business travel decision-makers in attendance, the discussion and idea generation at the Executive Forum was very energetic. Germany is a critical business travel market, not just for Europe, but for the global community. Interactive sessions and learnings from the Executive Forum in Stuttgart provide keys for advancing the business travel agenda in Germany, and well beyond its borders. ACTE is proud to enable this consistently successful event.”
In fact, attendees, who participated in a series of discussions and roundtables with industry experts to examine challenges, innovations and solutions for the future of business travel management, were asked to rate this year’s event on a scale of one to four. The 2012 Executive Forum in Stuttgart received ratings in excess of 3.5 across the board.
Following welcome remarks from Suzanne Neufang and Hans-Ingo Biehl, Executive Director of VDR, attendees enjoyed an opening session titled, “Evolution always works.” Featuring experts from Expedia, Inc. and BCD Travel, this session explored successful innovation management as a key factor to developing new solutions and approaches to contribute to successful market positioning and securing the future of a company. The session touched upon on-demand solutions, mobile technologies, “consumerization,” end-to-end processes and social media in business travel. Attendees were encouraged to discuss and collectively vote on new solutions and trends – using a new interactive application introduced for the first time at an industry event – based on their company’s individual priorities in terms of cost control, duty of care and quality.
After a networking lunch break, attendees participated in a session with Dr. Carl Naughton, PhD linguist and professor of linguistics and educational psychology. This session, titled, “The Travel Brain – if you think you are thinking,” delved into questions that affect individual employees and companies on a daily basis, regarding how we think about problems and solutions and how our brains work towards innovation.
Other sessions and roundtables included “Integrated Mobility Management,” examining the potential for innovation and new concepts in the areas of car leasing, hire-pooling and sharing to reduce costs and utility and user friendliness, and “Ancillary Fees,” projecting where the ancillary fee trend is heading, whether these fees are a global issue and what solutions are being considered. Speakers for these sessions included representatives from AirPlus International, SIXT GmbH & Co. KG and IBM Germany.
The ACTE Executive Forum in Stuttgart was made possible by a planning committee of dedicated industry professionals, from companies including SIXT,AXA, Daimler AG, Bosch, IBM, Gambro, FCm, VDR, Linde AG and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.