Notes from the ITM Conference 2016 – a risk management perspective

beTravelwise is just back from the ITM conference at Celtic Manor.  We were fortunate to be included in the start-up section of the exhibition and participate in the Innovation break out session; we found it a thoroughly worthwhile couple of days in which we were able to meet existing and potential clients and deep dive into the mind of a travel manager and their professional pre-occupations.

During the conference there were a few recurring themes and as we see travel from a risk management perspective we thought we’d make a few observations.

1. Millennials. A statistic was shared on day one that by 2020 over half the travelling work force would be comprised of Millennials.  The main two areas of concern for this demographic will be covered in next two points but my main question is: will Millennials need to travel to get the job done?  This is the first generation that grew up connected and they have an innate ability to communicate virtually and collaborate remotely.  Distance hasn’t been a barrier to them building social and professional networks in their life prior to employment so why should it be an impediment to their professional lives?

2. Mobile. Hand in hand with the increase in numbers of Millennials in the work force is the increasingly ubiquitous access of the workforce to mobile devices.  A show of hands in the plenary session showed that everyone in attendance had a smart device on their person.  With mobile come Apps (someone estimated that over 70,000 travel related Apps are currently available) and increasingly travellers will have their favourite Apps/providers and their travel Apps that they want to use.  It was interesting to hear that there seems to be a view that business travel deserves considerable personal flexibility in a way that IT and health and safety is not allowed.  Just because an employee has a specific hotel scheme or taxi App on their phone, does that mean they should be allowed to use them[1]?

3. Duty of Care. During the Dealing with Disruption session 4 questions were posed about what might happen as we approach 2020 we were surprised that a common reason given for travellers not doing what they wanted and booking whatever they liked was Duty of Care.  This term was used often but moving between tables it became clear that definitions were widely different as to what the term means.  We wonder whether this stems from travel crossing different departments, often with the primary business goal of each department being efficiency or financial rather than DoC, so it is relegated to something more ethereal than it should be.  As the primary laws governing DoC come from HSE do they need to be stipulated more firmly just as we know we need a yellow warning triangle when a slippery floor is wet?  Looking from the outside it would seem that a clear organisational DoC framework will guide how Millennials and an increasingly ‘Mobile’ workforce will operate in the future.

Even Paddington Bear can beTravelwise

Even Paddington Bear can beTravelwise

As we see the ever increasing use of mobile technology and Apps in travel, even to the extent that hotel room keys will soon be on mobiles, should we as a training company consider developing a course entitled “What to do when your mobile is lost, stolen or runs out of juice”?

[1] Interestingly our stand was beside a company called Roadmap which seems to be addressing this issue by allowing corporates to develop their own App that controls 3rd party Apps they have authorised so that this ‘personalisation’ can be controlled and captured by the company.

10th May 2016