Industry collaborates to solve talent crisis across business travel industry during GBTA Europe Conference
The Big Idea reports on industry findings
Brussels – Dec. 5, 2022 – Representatives from all areas of the business travel eco- system gathered at the GBTA Europe Conference in Brussels in November during The Big Idea session, sponsored by BCD Travel. The travel management company developed the theme for the session “Travel and The Law of Attraction” to discuss the pain points and solutions that appeal to talent both in and outside of the industry. This also included ensuring sustainable growth for business travel around four core pillars: industry image; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); traveler well-being and technology.
“Travel has returned rapidly so the industry is catching up to recent demands,” said David Coppens, BCD’s EVP operations strategy. “Making sure travel stays attractive to the workforce and keeping retention high for current employees is so important, so The Big Idea is all about bringing constituents together to develop solutions as an industry rather than each individual constituent on their own.”
The session attracted about 300 participants and sparked debate among attendees about the future of business travel as a career and how the sector can continue to remain relevant and convey its value and purpose to those inside and outside of the industry. After Coppens gave an overview of the challenges faced in business travel, attendees split into groups and were asked to summarise their ideas into one slogan and a series of tangible actions for each of the four pillars.
“I wasn’t surprised to see that most of the participants focused on discussing industry image and traveler well-being during The Big Idea,” said Carol Fergus, director – global travel, events and ground transportation for Fidelity International. “Organizations are struggling to get people back to work and change the overall perception of the industry. It’s important to remind our audiences how we make travel seamless with our suppliers and how we equip clients with everything they need to feel safe and supported while traveling.”
The output from the session has been summarized in “The Big Idea Report” co-published with BCD and available at https://www.bcdtravel.com/the-big-idea-travel-and-the-law-of-attraction/.
Summary of Findings:
- Slogan – Travel4Good: Invest / Thrive / Connect / Prosper
- Boosting the image of business travel starts with identifying the underlaying reputational issues about the industry. A sense of ‘risk’ attached to a sector that was so directly impacted by the pandemic may discourage new entrants to the travel industry.
- There is a clear need to better frame business travel’s value proposition as ‘travel for good,’ accentuating not only the benefits the sector brings to the economy and society but also the flexibility, inclusivity and long-term career path potential within the industry.
- Business thrives on in-person connections, bringing people together in a smart and sustainable way and bringing some fun back to travel.
- Slogan – A shared journey, individual paths
- A new generation of industry talent and business travelers should reflect all facets of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, mobility and socioeconomic group.
- The sense of community that unites business travel and the role of every single player as an actor of change is a core part of what can help build a diverse, equitable and inclusive future for business travel.
- Promoting cultural awareness and removing barriers to entry and success by targeting underserved, under-resourced or non-traditional talent populations supported by technology will help drive the change.
- Slogan – Happy traveler, healthy company!
- A traveler-centric approach, making sure that business travelers and their well-being is ‘front and center’ is critical to spur employee engagement, encourage travel and appeal to talent.
- Re-establishing the excitement of business travel post-pandemic and the benefits of the hybrid working model on a more positive work-life balance will be key to build the appeal to new generations.
- New generations such as Gen Z and Gen Alpha don’t want to choose between professional advancement, personal growth and social responsibility. Business travel is an enabler to connecting to the wider world.
- Slogan – User first – elevate the experience
- Technology is a key lever to appeal to new and existing talent. Digitization is a real opportunity to build personalized career paths for travel managers, travel services and solution providers alike.
- Building the tech appeal of the industry will help accelerate the shift and support the transition towards smarter and more sustainable business travel choices.
- Designing a digital workplace for the future and thinking like a digital marketer embracing the new platforms and communication channels to attract the next generation.
Further insights can be heard at the Broadcast Studio. Chris Elmitt from LIVVE Broadcasting talks to Coppens and Fergus about “The Big Idea: Travel and The Law of Attraction”
The findings will also be reported at the APAC Travel Summit in Bangkok (December 8-9) and in a podcast and further webinar planned for 2023.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. Visit www.gbta.org for more information.
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 13,000 dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.
About BCD Group
BCD Group is a market leader in the travel industry. The privately owned company was founded in 1975 by John Fentener van Vlissingen and consists of BCD Travel, its subsidiaries BCD Meetings & Events and Advito, and Park ‘N Fly. For more information, visit www.bcdgroup.com.