Ch-Ch-Changes – Forecasting a Disruptive Future for Travel and Meetings

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in my working life is the trend for businesses to constantly question how they do things. Until 10 or so years ago the status quo was there to be respected and adhered to. Now by contrast the term disruptive is very much in vogue. Everyone is being challenged to do things differently and rip up the existing model. In short – If it ain’t broke fix it anyway. The need for change is now constant.

Strategic Meetings Management came out of this desire for change.

For years our industry worked on relationships and only began to change with the introduction of Procurement who demanded more from their suppliers. Agency commissions came under examination along with the need for the agent to show how it could add value and differentiate itself from others in its field. The better agents in turn responded by improving their technology and working practises, and delivering more to the client for less. Compliance and data became key to the success of any meetings programme and the need to constantly improve on this remains a strong focus.

One of the largest internet service companies has totally rethought its policy

Part of my role at Grass Roots is to ensure that where possible we stay one step ahead of our competition in all of this. What we offer today almost certainly won’t be central to the businesses thinking of tomorrow. My interest therefore picked up when I learnt recently that one of the largest internet service companies has totally rethought its travel and accommodation policy, apparently with great effect. Their Travel Department have decided rather than directing their employees to a preferred list of hotels and airlines as is the current norm, their travellers will be given a per diem allowance instead, with any savings from this allowance being returned to the traveller via a company rewards programme.

Innovation, freedom and compliance

I really like this innovative approach as it gives their staff freedom of choice whilst simultaneously  generating very high levels of compliance and useful data. This travel policy offers “a controlled freedom.” The employees have to register their travel details, i.e. hotel stayed at, rate paid etc to be able to access their rewards and so are driven by self interest, rather than being told to do something solely for the benefit of their company. In return the company can negotiate with and appoint preferred suppliers safe in the understanding that they know where their employees really want to stay, and what airlines they want to use etc.

Whilst this approach is not really disruptive in the sense that something like Uber is, it is different and importantly builds compliance and generating cost savings whilst satisfying their employees wants. That, to my mind ticks a lot of boxes. So now I just have the not so simple task of taking this model and applying it in to a meetings programme. All change!

Prepare for change with grassroots.events