If 2020 taught the business travel industry anything, it’s that getting back to travel will require flexibility, ingenuity, and technology, plenty of technology.
Staying connected to travelers. Monitoring risk. Navigating digital health passes. Tracking carbon footprints. Providing anytime access to content and information for travel managers and agents. The solutions to all are digital. To access them, travel programs need only look to a travel management partner who specializes in the unexpected. BCD Travel has invested heavily in an open platform that allows them to unlock the solutions clients need.
“Over the past several years, BCD has invested in an open platform infrastructure to support the unique needs of our customers and scale for the evolving demands of the industry,” said Will Pinnell, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Advancement at BCD. “When COVID-19 introduced a new and peculiar set of demands to our business last year, that was a great test of our ability to adapt our digital strategy to meet the needs for where our customers were and where we hoped they’d return to.”
As travel stalled worldwide, BCD focused on four areas it projected would grow in importance as business travel recovered: evolving delivery models, fragmented distribution, data driven innovation and the simplified digital experience that travelers expect.
BCD’s openness to new ideas is a differentiator
The SolutionSource marketplace is just one example of BCD’s renewed focus. Launched in 2018, SolutionSource introduced a new approach to helping clients capitalize on the most promising new technologies the industry has to offer.
“For clients, this gives them access to the latest innovation with more speed and less risk, which are critically important for clients as they tip-toe back to a more regular pattern of travel,” Pinnell said. “Third-party technology partners are vetted and authorized by BCD before being accepted into the marketplace, paving the way for more immediate results for our clients.”
Another example is BCD’s award-winning TripSource.® The platform provides messages that help business travelers understand their options, discern what to do and navigate the changing traveler landscape. Recent enhancements in the platform help make it easier for business travelers to stay up to date, with links to the COVID-19 Info Hub for real-time information on specific airlines, airports and international destinations.
“Business travelers want a consumer experience in a corporate structure. Digital services allow travelers to self-serve in a world where they previously could only call or email an agent,” said Pinnell. “Through technology, we provide multiple ways for them to interact with us, giving them greater flexibility before, during and after their trip.”
Companies returning to travel also should take a fresh look at DecisionSource,® which gives travel managers and programs key travel program data, proactive notifications capability and actionable insights into duty of care, traveler behavior, program compliance and supplier negotiations.
“We turn the insights we pull from DecisionSource into ‘aha’ moments for travelers, travel managers and the people using the data, like procurement, security, HR, and sustainability teams,” said Pinnell.
Developing digital services from BCD Travel will touch hotel content optimization, next-generation platforms that make it easier for agents to book NDC content; guest travel management, traveler identity & access management; and more robust messaging functions within TripSource.