Integrated platform shifting business strategies

bic event

The 9th edition of the Travel M!CE and Corporate Show turned out to be the perfect platform for the convergence of industry titans and corporate leaders, with a focus on innovative strategies in the business. With over 1,600 meetings, the event highlighted corporate travel excellence, and set new standards in engagement.

By Janice Alyosius

The Travel M!CE & Corporate Show held recently, facilitated an exchange of ideas and laid the groundwork for implementing innovative strategies and solutions in corporate travel management.

The event provided a platform to discuss various topics in the industry including the adoption of Online Booking Tools (OBTs), which has risen to prominence as a necessity rather than a luxury. Industry leaders, including Rajdev Bhattacharya Global Head, Travel and Hospitality, Wipro Limited; Dr. Sanjay Pai, Vice President & Head, Corporate Travel, Aviation, and Facility Management, Larsen & Toubro; Rikant Pittie, Co-founder, and Devendra Saraiya Director- Administration, Deloitte Shared Services India LLP, shed light on whether online booking tools are merely a marketing strategy or genuinely create value for businesses.

Integration is imperative
Highlighting the importance of a unified platform in the corporate event industry, Rajdev Bhattacharya, said, “We need to get into a platform where everything comes together, right from the user to all the other stakeholders that we have.” Underlining the shifting trend for adaptation of OBTs, Dr. Sanjay Pai, added, “People are talking about voice technology, AI, blockchain management, or non-fungible technology. It is an evolution; some have incorporated it, while others are yet to get on the bandwagon.”

Moreover, Devendra Saraiya, envisions AI as a crucial parameter in achieving the end goal of ensuring traveller convenience. “Considering the aspects of simplicity and user-friendliness, AI will be a crucial parameter. It can assist travellers in evaluating fares and resolving issues that may arise during the booking process,” he said.

In addition, Rikant Pittie shifts the focus from marketing to technology’s role in enhancing customer experience. He stresses the importance of leveraging technology beyond marketing strategies. He claimed, “With over one billion people in India using the internet on their mobiles, ensuring user-friendly interfaces, data security, and integration becomes paramount.”

Empowering employees with choices
Emphasising the inevitability of incorporating technology and Self-Booking Tools (SBTs) into corporate travel systems, Saraiya shared, “When it comes to technology, there is no choice but to incorporate both technology and SBT into the system. We are aware that most of our travellers are experienced and have exposure to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and other industry data, readily available on the internet today. Additionally, to empower employees to make their own decisions, having an OBT, allows one to integrate one’s policies seamlessly providing significant opportunity for policy compliance and cost savings.” Dr. Pai delves into L&T’s journey in corporate travel tools and highlighted the necessity of such tools and the shift from a focus on SBT to value-added services such as GST compliance and Management Information Systems (MIS). Pai emphasizes the importance of customization, advocating for tailoring SBT tools to specific business needs based on factors like geography and spending patterns.

All-in-one as a strategy
Like Bhattacharya, Pittie also focuses on the integration of products and services, i.e. a platform with all-in-one features. He shared the impact of bundled offers, where flights, hotels, and transportation are packaged together. Emphasizing that this strategy has proven successful, leading to increased business, he said, “We received excellent market traction, recording almost 15 per cent increase in our business when we started selling flights, hotels, and accommodations together.”

Additionally, he discussed innovations in visa and passport information, insurance integration, and efforts to reconcile GSTs, recognizing the challenges faced by corporates. “In terms of visas and passports, creating an ecosystem with accurate content is essential. However, upon inclusion of such content, we observed a significant increase in traction, ranging from 20-25 per cent. We have since been innovating and curating content related to visas and passports, providing users with informative options regarding the formalities for travelling abroad,” Pittie emphasised. Moreover, the incorporation of travel insurance for corporate customers is another game-changer in boosting revenue, he highlighted.

In today’s fast-paced, technology driven business landscape, corporate travel management has become a complex web of choices and challenges. Corporate leaders at the Travel M!CE and Corporate Show this year claim that owing to changing needs and shifting trends, the focus must be on the need for incorporation of new tools and technologies. They claimed that technoloogy can provide a seamless experience and better accessibility to the user on a unified platform with integrated products for escalation of business.

The event provided a platform to discuss Online Booking Tools (OBTs), which has risen to prominence as a necessity

Technology can provide a seamless experience and better accessibility to the user on a unified platform with integrated products