You never stop learning, especially if you’re a World Travel, Inc. Client.

We stand by our commitment to invest in client events that bring industry experts straight to you. The 2015 Boston Regional Symposium, held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston on Wednesday, November 18, was no exception. Here are some takeaways from the event.

  • Concur Technologies:  Keynote Speaker Mike Koetting, EVP Supplier and TMC Services at Concur, addressed the four key trends that Concur sees affecting the world and the travel industry.
    1. The Power of AND - Companies don't force you to choose either/or. They offer this AND that. For example, Tesla offers the chance to drive an eco-friendly car AND a sports car at the same time.
    2. The Power of the Consumer - Consumer habits will supersede corporate policy. For example, Blackberry may be the most secure email communication device, but Apple gained consumer loyalty, so it forced Blackberry from 60% market share down to less than 1%.
    3. The Power of Suppliers - Companies that control access to the goods or information we need are increasingly demonstrating their ability to control distribution. Think of Lufthansa's recent agreement to sell inventory via Google Flights.
    4. The Power of New Entrants - Oftentimes, new market entrants are the greatest disruptors because they have little to lose. was not started by a brick-and-mortar retailer. The iPhone wasn't created by a phone company.

After explaining these four tenants, Mike tied them to Concur. Concur is committed to capture and add value to all travel and expense data, regardless of where it comes from. The company has realized that if they do not capture all the data, they become less relevant.  They've identified that they can add value by giving visibility to all the data, so you can manage all travel and spend regardless of where it occurs.

Following his presentation, Mike Koetting also took time to engage Symposium attendees and answer questions - some of which were targeted and program-specific. Mike offered insights and answers openly.

  • Focus on Data: Maribeth Minella, EVP Human Resources and Corporate Counsel at World Travel, Inc. addressed how the Schrems opinion affected U.S. – EU Data Transfers. Maribeth dug deeper into this topic that she covered for the World Travel, Inc. Blog just last week. Check out her post for the overview of what Schrems means for Safe Harbor and Data Privacy parameters.

Set clear objectives to address with your C-suite. As Shelby LeMaire says, "You need to go in with a plan, not an idea."

  • Panel: Securing C-Suite Buy-In: Shelby LeMaire from iRobot, Dan Ryan from PegaSystems, and Barb Cubbler, SVP Client & Consulting Services at World Travel, Inc. gathered as our expert panel to offer advice on how to gain support for your travel program from your executive suite.
    • Define "buy-in" before you try to get it. Does your C-suite need to see numbers, or do they only think about travel when their flights are bad or someone complains?
    • Consider your corporate culture. You may want to get buy-in from regional directors before you approach your C-suite.
    • Have a plan. You need to set clear objectives that will show progress to your leaders.
    • Be patient. Successful travel program adoption requires education of travelers and of decision makers, and that takes time.
      Barb Cubbler (World Travel, Inc.), Shelby LeMaire (iRobot), and Dan Ryan (Pegasystems) shared insight into gaining executive support for your travel program

Tough love may also work, according to Dan Ryan. "'Sorry you're stranded. You booked through Kayak. Unless you want to buy another ticket from World Travel, Inc., there's not much we can do, because you chose not to book inside the program.'"

  • United Airlines in Boston: A focus on the local airport hub closed the educational portion of the day, as Jack Purdy, Regional Sales Manager for United Airlines, took the stage to discuss the airline's recent improvements, and their investments in Boston’s Logan International Airport.
    1. United is investing in better food selections for travelers, including 3-course meals and free beer and wine on international flights.
    2. On-time performance is always a boon. United has invested in baggage delivery processes to enhance efficiency and timeliness. This October, United had the best on-time arrival percentage in their entire history.
    3. United's new area in BOS Terminal B took 18 months to build and spans 97,000 square feet. It features 10 gates, the United Club on the 2nd floor, check-in area, and ticket counters. And every seat in the boarding area has an electrical outlet.

For further information, check out our 2015 Boston Regional Symposium Event page.

Chesley Turner

Written by Chesley Turner