Debut paper in BCD Travels Inform series explores impact of tech on corp travel sourcing

BCD Travel examines the implications of technology on sourcing in the corporate travel industry with release of first ‘Inform’ series paper

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – August 16, 2018 – A new report by global travel management company BCD Travel examines how emerging technologies will impact sourcing in the business travel industry. Approached from the corporate travel buyer’s point of view, the paper is intended to close a knowledge gap within the travel industry when it comes to understanding the implications of digital technology.

“Given that corporate travel buyers are now headed into annual supplier negotiations, we thought the sourcing topic would be a good one for our debut paper in the Inform series,” says BCD’s Miriam Moscovici, director of emerging technologies and leader of the team that produces Inform and the widely ready Industry Forecast. “The paper helps travel buyers better understand how to use digital technologies – like AI and chatbots – in sourcing scenarios. This is real-world information for real-world programs.”

The report on sourcing is the first paper in a six-part series on Emerging technology and Travel Management examining how blockchain, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, machine learning, chatbots and artificial intelligence will impact six key areas of corporate travel program management:

  1. Sourcing
  2. Policy
  3. Communications
  4. Duty of care
  5. Payment & expense
  6. Performance management

Specific areas of sourcing examined by the debut paper in the series include the identification and selection of suppliers, the specification of products and services, pricing and contracting, the presentation of choices to travelers, payment and supplier performance management.

Areas of influence on sourcing examined in the report include:

  • The ability of blockchain to allow smart contracts, as well as redemption and exchange of rewards points across hotel programs
  • The role of machine learning in automatically lowering rate caps and giving preference to less expensive hotels to save money
  • The role of virtual reality in meeting room configurations and the replacement of in-person meetings.

The role of bots to expand beyond chat into the automation of routine tasks like spend analysis, catalog management, purchase order creation, invoicing and payment processing.

The sourcing report concludes with tips that executives and travel managers can use to drive innovation forward, such as joining beta test groups and consolidating data and systems before introducing new technologies.

The Inform series is being published by BCD Travel’s Research and Intelligence team, most widely recognized for its work producing the travel management company’s annual Industry Forecast as well as white papers and research briefs. With their combined analytical skills and deep knowledge of the corporate travel industry, the team’s members are frequently cited as sources for industry news reports and invited to appear as speakers at industry events.

The second report in the Inform series, focusing on policy, and will be published in October. Among the key subjects explored in the policy report is the role new technology is playing in the transformation of policy development and policy detail. “Technology doesn’t mean policy is necessarily dead, but technology will help tailor policy to individual needs and provide better compliance,” says the policy paper’s lead author, Mike Eggleton, Senior Manager Analytics and Research at BCD Travel.

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About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit