The ACTE Column: Upwardly Mobile

The digital revolution is changing the way business is done across the globe

IN 1980, the number of global internet users could be indexed in a book the size of a telephone directory. Fast forward just 30 years and that number now exceeds 1.8 billion, or 26.6 per cent of the world's population.

Business travel as a specialised sector of industry is almost the same age as the internet, so it's no surprise that it should follow the digital trends that continually challenge the status quo and the way business is conducted globally. With the constant release of increased functionality on new versions of smartphones and tablets, the mobile revolution is only set to surge forward and increase global connectivity.

Technology trends and functionality underpin our industry. The way we access inventory, book, report and review, all depend on ever more sophisticated technology. With the ease of access to the new generation of mobile, emerging markets are likely to leapfrog some of the stages of digital evolution that the more mature regions have gone through, and launch strategies directly embracing mobile internet access. These emerging markets will become the test beds for new innovation: the Middle East, Africa, the BRIC regions.

Conversely, in mature markets, many traditional corporations still have policies forbidding access to social media sites through corporate devices. This often results in travellers using their own smart devices to circumvent policy controls in order to get to the content they want - which can contribute to a fragmented procurement platform.

Progressive corporations recognise new avenues and opportunities to deliver results to their boards, and that communication will become the new control mechanism. The way we communicate, both internally and externally, is a key component to achieve corporate travel programme success.

At the ACTE autumn one-day forums in Stockholm and London, and at ACTE's global conference in Barcelona, progressive organisations discussed alternative ways to prove the value of the travel buying function, beyond cost savings reports. At the upcoming November forums in Milan, Dubai, Paris and Madrid, key challenges will be discussed and debated to understand the role of value contribution; the opportunities of creating a corporate 'super app'; the role of gamification tactics in the corporate workplace; as well as a focus on risk management and other topical subjects.

Why not join the ACTE community? As a non-profit organisation, we don't exist as a commercial entity to make money. We are here solely to help the wheels of your business travel company turn. Choose to be a part of ACTE and help your career and business grow.

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