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Top 3 trends of GBTA Convention 2023

August 21, 2023
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Innovation


Corporate travel is back in full swing.

Last week, 5,000-plus people from around the world got together for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2023 in Dallas, Texas, to connect with old friends, make new ones, and discuss how to move the travel industry forward.

Three major trends were the subject of conversation around the convention for the business travel community and innovators across corporate travel.

Traveler expectations have shifted

With business travel’s return after Covid, the expectations of travelers have evolved as well. In a panel titled Modernizing Global Travel Management: The Elephant in the Room, industry experts and travel buyers explored how shifting trends are driving the travel program of the future.

“Generation Alpha, the next generation of workers, are only a few years away from the workforce,” said Johnny Thorsen, Spotnana’s VP of Partnerships, who participated in the panel discussion. ”They will have even higher digital expectations. It’s important to look at the shift from the classic one or two day trip to the longer work trip around the world. The corporate booking agents, the programs, the policies were designed for another world.”

The ease of changing and servicing a trip has taken on a new importance as well. Self-service change management for travelers is becoming a must-have for travel managers who want to provide a better experience to their travelers.

“Why would anyone want to wait on a phone or send an email and hope somebody responds randomly when you’re in a high pressure situation in the airport?” asked Thorsen. “We have the capabilities to enable and support them with self-service. Why would you want to stay in the old world?”

Modern airline retailing is here to stay

The emergence of New Distribution Capability (NDC) in airline distribution was also a hot topic among travel managers. Gaps remain in how legacy solutions empower travelers to access NDC content, but new features are quickly emerging to provide better experiences to travelers.

Spotnana’s unused ticket management capabilities, which allow for redeeming credits from EDIFACT-based flights on NDC flights, is an example of new innovation emerging to provide better experiences to travelers.

“It’s obvious we cannot continue to build on a 25-year-old tech stack,” said Thorsen. ”When American Airlines launched its full NDC offering in April, you could not use an unused ticket credit from the EDIFACT world in the NDC world. You can now. It didn’t take two years, because this is modern technology in action. They build it, we and others quickly connect it, and it’s now available.”

The integration of NDC content alongside traditional GDS-sourced content in online booking tools (OBTs), which has been baked into Spotnana since day one, is another example of functionality only a modern travel platform can support.

“For 20 years, we’ve accepted a world where the traveler sees one thing in the OBT, and the moment they switch to an offline TMC agent, there’s another content source available,” said Thorsen. “That friction is going away.”

Global programs are evolving

An upside of technology and distribution innovation in corporate travel is the emergence of solutions that allow travel managers to manage their programs on a truly global scale

Modern cloud-based solutions are bringing business travelers and travel managers experiences that mimic the consumer apps they are used to.

“When the OBT solutions emerged, we had no technology back then that allowed us to build a single global solution,” said Thorsen. “When you build a cloud-native platform like what we have built at Spotnana, it works. Think of Netflix. Netflix has one engine, but they distribute different content around the world. Some things are available globally, and other things are only available in the local market. But, it’s the same Netflix platform everywhere.”

To learn more about Spotnana’s Travel-as-a-Service platform, get a demo today.