As we do every year, the GoldSpring team has compiled our list of hot topics from this year's convention. We hope you enjoyed the show and find ways to continue the discussion in the coming year.
1. NDC is Real and Heading Your Way: This is no longer a pie-in-the-sky concept that can be ignored. 20 carriers have committed to have 20 percent of their bookings through an NDC pipe by the end of 2020. Those 20 carriers represent 30 percent of the global airline bookings, so by our math, that means that in less than 18 months, 6 percent of worldwide bookings will be NDC. In real terms, it's already here.
2. Diversity and Inclusion: Ensuring that the travel industry caters to 100 percent of its members and travelers is a clear talking point and should remain so until the day comes, hopefully sooner rather than later, when there is no need to talk about it. GBTA created the LGBTQ committee to address policy issues that are often lacking. Connecting to overall security for these groups is an overdue focus.
3. Human Trafficking Counter Efforts: The travel industry is often the mechanism in this terrible practice. Companies and associations are now addressing this from center stage with training, education, targeted initiatives and fund raising to prevent human trafficking.
4. Experience Management vs. Trip Management: Buyers continue to look for new technologies that will improve their travelers' productivity, while allowing them to enjoy the experience. There are many companies now who are building their products and services around this as a central theme and doing a better job of quantifying the ROI.
5. Potential Shift from Traveler Experience to Cost Savings: Balancing traveler experience with cost and compliance is top of mind for travel managers. The balance could really shift away from traveler experience if a recession comes into view. Managed travel and convention buyers had this as a primary discussion point.
6. M&E Risk Mitigation: A welcome emphasis added to the transient focus for the M&E space.
7. M&E Technology Disruptors: Disruptive technologies are impacting the meetings and events industry which is generating change management angst for SMM program leaders.
8. TMC vs. Direct Technology: Buyers were presented with terrific tech options for both cost savings and service enhancements, leading buyers to further consider, "Do I buy and manage on my own?" or "Do I continue to let the TMC handle it?"
9. Cultural Alignment: With the continued emphasis on the traveler experience, organizations are formalizing their evaluations of supplier cultures against their own. Buyers are seeing where alignment creates additional value and considering the issues that result when company cultures are not aligned.
10. Platform vs. App Store: TMCs are primarily evolving around two central infrastructures – we have it all in our platform (think Amazon) or we can connect it for you (think App store).