ACTE Moscow Executive Forum Experts: Big Data will help companies save up to $15 bln on business travel

10th anniversary ACTE Moscow Executive Forum was held on March 29 in The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya. Business travel experts discussed emerging digital technologies and their market influence, relationship between corporate buyers, TMCs and providers, possibilities to cut business travel costs and even special aspects of catering during a business trip.

With the help of the simplest lexical analysis event participants revealed system changes that had occurred in the industry for the past ten years. “Such notions as “a paper-based ticket”, “a fax” or “a business trip permit” have disappeared, active vocabulary nowadays includes different terms: SLA, big data, travel policy and so on”, Mila Sidorina, marketing and communications director of Carlson Wagonlit Travel noted, as she opened the session “From the Past to the Future”.

General manager of City Travel Yulia Manuylova spoke about the need to meet new realities, automate the processes of business trip planning and integrate new business solutions. The expert came to the conclusion on the basis of data provided by IATA, PwC and BBT, that cooperation with a TMC would be promising in case the agency is able to provide the necessary online booking tools and expert consulting to its customers. According to her forecast, up to 80% of requests will be processed online, but to complete the other 20%, the most difficult and challenging tasks, companies will require top-quality experts ready to work with large data volumes, able to go deep into market specifics and having a unique set of knowledge and skills.

“The amount of information is growing, but its usefulness is decreasing. To work with big data, you need experts able to analyze this data”, general director of Anatoly Kuryumov noted. In his words, the market needs a neutral OBT to settle standard questions. And employees` efforts should be aimed at service development and the search of new market solutions.

The eternal value of our industry has always been ensuring travellers` comfort. “Our growth driver is the understanding of passengers` needs, the ability to provide services that meet these demands. We can't focus on cost cutting only”, commercial director of Air France-KLM Yoram Franzen said. This is why our experts are focused on the development of entertainment offered on board, improvement of service during the flight and customer support tools.

Practical issues of cooperation between corporate buyers, air carriers and hoteliers were the topics of panel discussions. Economy on airline ticket is one of the main cost cutting tools for corporations, is the opinion of the executive director of FairFly Abel Siman-Tov. According to his data, companies all over the world can save up to $15 billion, using the possibilities of big data. According to the expert, the right approach to the process of air fare monitoring will help to reduce business travel costs by 7,5%.

“The key to economy is the development of a travel policy, conclusion of direct contracts with airlines, development of hotel programs, optimization due to the use of OBT", general director of HRG Russia Philip Lookianenko added.

Besides, corporations can draw additional benefit due to cooperation with TMCs, event participants concluded. After the experts calculated the expenses the company incurs in case its employees choose and book rooms themselves, they found out that the cost of working hours spent on this process and its administration could exceed the commission of the agency.

Services of a TMC are also necessary, if you work with hoteliers in the regions, because the company cannot ensure a sufficient travel volume in all the destinations to conclude a direct agreement with the hotel, is the opinion of the head of administrative department of METRO Cash&Carry Oksana Tchumak. Cooperation with a TMC is also efficient, if the agency is not only a transactor, but also the author of new models of interaction with providers.

The atmosphere of the event was very friendly. Permanent participants of ACTE Moscow Executive Forum, both service providers and corporate buyers, noted the traditionally high level of informational value of speeches, immediacy of topics, considerable involvement of speakers and event guests into the discussion.

“It is great that the organizers also raised health issues that are extremely important for travel experts, whose work assumes a fast rhythm, sleep debts and frequent flights", marketing expert of MariboHilleshög Irina Buryak said.

Forum partners were AccorHotels, Air Charter Service, Air France — KLM, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, City Travel Business Travel Solutions, Cosmos Group, Eventicious,, Very VIP, Zelenski Corporate Travel Solutions.