Beat Wille
Country General Manager
BCD Travel

Data a Game-Changer for Corporate Traveling

By Gabriela Mastache | Thu, 04/02/2020 - 11:40

As corporate travel needs shift, companies must adapt their portfolio to incorporate more personalized services, says Beat Wille, Country General Manager of BCD Travel Mexico. “We need to offer better personalized services that appeal to a changing traveler profile and provide more than a seat on a plane.”

The core mission of BCD Travel, a global leader in corporate travel management, is to generate innovative tools that simplify the complexities of business travel. Although the company’s expertise lies in the corporate segment, it also participates in the meetings and events segment and the leisure category. While the latter might be the most visible component of the tourism industry, Wille says corporate travel plays a key role with airlines and hotel chains given the constant influx of passengers and guests it attracts. “Corporate travelers result in higher yields because they tend to travel in business class or purchase last minute tickets, thus paying higher fares to get those last seats on a specific flight as they have to be in a particular city at a certain date and time.”

Going mobile is among the investment bets the company is making to innovate in its technology offering for travelers. “The world is moving toward a mobile concept and TripSource, BCD Travel’s trip management platform, will allow us to interact directly with the traveler,” Wille says. The company has recorded an increasing number of downloads and for Wille, this will be a stepping stone to gain more direct exposure and interaction with travelers, rather than with their assistants. The app aids communication between travelers, companies and hotels to help travelers if they are running late or if they catch a later flight, for instance. “It is a matter of closing communication gaps. The ultimate vision is to have a much more personalized traveler profile.”

Wille says the company has introduced a third-generation traveler-identity management system that will help the company transform its current TripSource Profile Manager into a digital-first solution that combines unique functions, such as traveler-identity management, traveler-consent management and traveler-profile management. The solution will also help the company to collect data and provide tailor-made solutions to travelers. “The idea is to follow the Amazon effect, where the platform knows you better than you know yourself. We believe that this push can help us to create a corporate traveler ecosystem.”

Putting innovation at the core of BCD Travel vision, Wille says the company believes heavily in the power of data for decision-making processes. “Data is key in this industry, so we want to measure travel behavior and demonstrate the opportunities that exist for companies.” BCD’s DecisionSource platform can help clients create reports and simulations related to how changes in travel behavior can impact expenses and budgets. “Companies can run the program and create their own reports to internally compare their department’s travel behavior without depending on us to do it.”

Mexico has grown in importance for BCD Travel with annual growth rates of over 10 percent in its results. Yet, there is still a gap in terms of the technology solutions that are being implemented in Mexico and Latin America when compared with travel technology in Europe and the US. “Although we have not seen a big change in terms of technology implementation as in more mature markets, we continue working on different strategies to introduce new technologies to Mexico,” Wille says.

The company and its global partners have implemented a marketplace called SolutionSource, with authorized third-party solutions that provide cutting-edge technology solutions. “We partner with these companies and certify them to make sure their solutions can work with the travel program of other companies and create value for them,” says Wille. Still, many of these solutions sometimes are not applicable to Mexico given the market conditions. “We are evaluating what will work here. Limitations often result from market conditions rather than technological barriers. Since market conditions in Mexico are not the same as in the US or Europe, many solutions do not generate the same benefits or savings.”

In the medium term, Wille says the company will continue to focus on the mobile part of its business, which it expects to become a game-changer for the industry. “Our main focus is to make everything digital, and work on how we can make travelers’ lives easier.”

Photo by:   BCD Travel
Gabriela Mastache Gabriela Mastache Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst