Microsoft engaged a dozen technology companies, supplier partners and like-minded travel buyers to join its team for a corporate travel innovation summit to map a vision of the corporate travel future.
The manifesto asserts that the future of managed travel depends on providing the right traveler experience, not just for employee satisfaction purposes but also for the best operational efficiencies. Corporations "cannot realize the full value of [travel] without owning the traveler as a customer and truly partnering with suppliers to define and deliver the optimal experience," the authors wrote. Putting the traveler first, however, will disrupt longstanding technologies and commercial relationships, particularly at the level of the travel management company and global distribution system.
The group called for transparency in TMC and distribution relationships and for mechanisms that would ensure transparency and the free flow of data. Corporate travel programs, they wrote, "cannot be predicated on the limitations of legacy system dependencies, opaque commercial relationships, backdoor financial incentives and locked up data." They name-checked buzzwords like blockchain, New Distribution Capability and smart contracts, but they also began to define possible paths forward.
Get the complete manifesto (PDF 1.1 MB) or a summary at BTN