Christian recently boarded the MSC Fantasia for The Advantage Conference 2016 in Genoa. A non-executive director of Advantage Travel, he joined industry leaders, including Virgin Atlantic, Europcar and Radisson Hotels, to share business travel expertise.
Advantage Travel is the only organisation of its size that is solely owned by member partners. With a collective turnover of £3billion, it vastly increases SME buying power as well as driving innovation in the industry. It’s no surprise, then, that key speakers tackled some of the hottest industry topics.
The rise of social media in the business travel industry was a standout discussion point. There was in-depth debate on the role of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in building relationships with clients and business partners. Social media is vital for delivering a personalised travel experience, but this has to be done in a responsible and professional manner. It continues to be an effective conversational tool for Review Travel, keeping clients up date with company news and providing real-time travel alerts while allowing them to provide feedback on their experiences.
Keynote speaker Daniel Levine, Executive Director of Avant Guide, delivered an important talk on personalisation. Daniel emphasised the importance of strong relationships between a TMC and its clients in order to understand their specific needs. The value of regular customer satisfaction surveys was also highlighted, allowing TMCs to monitor client concerns and priorities. Review Travel has embedded this bespoke approach to business travel in its company ethos and it was fantastic to hear a leading industry voice recognise its importance.
As expected, Brexit was an overriding theme of the conference, with the majority of attendees agreeing that the result of the referendum is far too close to call. It was difficult to say exactly how Brexit could affect the business travel industry as there were few hard facts being presented by independent parties. One thing was for sure – no matter what the outcome, the business travel industry will continue to adapt and progress as it always has done.
Attendees were treated to a true star of a keynote speaker on the final night of the conference, as astronaut Chris Hadfield took to the stage. He emphasised the need for TMCs to focus on meticulous planning and risk management strategies to ensure client safety and security. This included preparing for every eventuality with steadfast plans and 24 hour customer service – a core focus of Review Travel’s day-to-day service. The conference ended on a high note with the traditional announcement of next year’s location as Provence, France. Christian also managed to get a photo with Chris Hadfield, an out of this world ending to a week of exciting plans for the future!