Today the debate continued on the final day of Business Travel Market, at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre
With an impassioned address by BA’s ceo Willie Walsh, thanking the industry for their support, the delegation were entertained, enlightened and educated in a number of conference sessions throughout the day.
Qatar Airways’ Jo Lloyd led an inspired session on the ash cloud crisis. The highly fuelled and topical discussion saw speakers from a cross section of the travel industry - Ciaran Kelly from FCm Travel Solutions, BA’s new general manager UK, Richard Tams and the BBC’s Jamie Hindhaugh - debated how the ash cloud had been handled and what changes would have to be implemented in case of another crisis.
Mike Carrivick (BAR UK) began the debate saying that the crisis is not over and there are plenty more volcanoes to come. With a huge loss of revenue across a multitude of industries, the fall out from the crisis is still being calculated, however, big lessons have been learned. Richard Tams agreed saying that even BA ‘who has a contingency plan for everything’ couldn’t plan for this crisis. Tams reiterated the benefits of being loyal to BA saying that after compassionate cases, their ‘loyal and most valuable’ customers were repatriated as a priority. He said: ‘It’s not just the price of the ticket companies should consider…but the value.’
The big question on everybody’s lips and succinctly put by audience member CWT’s Andrew Waller was: ‘who will pay for it next time?’ - Carrivick stated that there was a huge misapplication of rule EU261/2004 meaning that airlines had to foot the bill last time, but in the future, will it rest with individuals, government or others? FCm’s Ciaran Kelly back the TMCs saying their ‘creative and experienced’ consultants were an asset during the crisis. Fortunate to have a volcanologist on their team, they were able to work closely with the government and met office to ensure their stranded clients were as up to date as possible.
The unifying problem raised by both the panel and audience members was the role of GDS such as Amadeus and Gallelio, whose systems were unable to respond to the situation with inventory being unavailable, or withdrawn on a number of occasions. Newly appointed ITM chairman Jamie Hindhaugh described how the new Phoenix group comprising the HBAA, GTMC, BA, and other industry professionals would ensure that companies are able to work better together and ensure planning for future similar crisis.
All agreed that a crisis such as the ash situation needed a technological touch, but also the importance of humans where technology could not be relied upon.
Other exhibitor news from the second day at BTM included an announcement from GetThere®, the world’s leading travel and collaboration management solution. In association with Tata Communications, a leading provider of the new world of communications, they today announced that they will team up to provide access to public and private Telepresence rooms for GetThere’s customers looking to meet virtually. The agreement between the two companies advances GetThere’s Collaboration offering, providing its customers with access to Tata Communications’ network of public Telepresence rooms located around the world.
The new offering meets the growth in demand for virtual meetings as an option for corporate travel programs and business travel plans. Participants in a Telepresence session benefit from life-size, high-definition video and audio quality, providing an immersive experience and giving them the sense that they are in the same room. The overall experience facilitates effective collaboration in a wide variety of interactions, from standard meetings and recruiting interviews to training sessions.
Partnership Travel Consulting International (PTCI) today celebrated their first year anniversary after launching last year at the inaugural Business Travel Market. PTCI is an international consulting firm providing Business Travel Consultancy, Interim Travel Management and Travel Supplier Sourcing Support. Their team comprises of a collection of the 3 most respected individuals in the global business market world, each at the pinnacle of the consultancy market in Europe, UK and USA, with experience between them in in TMC’s , corporates, airlines and hotels.
Budget Car and Van Rental, one of the world’s largest car rental brands has recently appointed Tricia Regan as International Commercial Manager. Tricia was recruited in order to target the SME community. Their global network now includes more than 3,400 locations, operating a wide range of cars, trucks and vans in 128 countries. Budget Car has recently opened up in a number of airports in the UK, most recently Luton and Kentish International, which is part of their strategy to expand their corporate market.
The dates for next year’s Business Travel Market were announced today as Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June 2011.