What remains of the business trip? Beyond doomsday prophecies, the need for MICE travel – seminars, meeting, expeditions or exhibitions – has been around for centuries in various forms. The real question is one of innovation and imagining the future for such crucial activities.
In 2021, after a year of quasi locked down, an unprecedented crisis is looming and the travel industry is devastated. Yet the MICE industry remains at the core of any economic activity, as it brings together the yet distinct areas of business and MICE travel : the organization of seminars, conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs. …
What remains of the business trip?
In the age of teleworking, it has never been so obvious how much we thirst for human contacts, face-to-face exchanges and interactions that go beyond the confined framework of our screens, keyboard, some fun.background screens and doing our presentations in slippers !!
What remains of the business trip? Beyond lamentations and doomsday prophecies, the real question is one of innovation and the future face of such a crucial activity.
According to Bertrand Mabille, former Executive Vice President at CWT, much remains to be done to bring disruptive innovation to business travel. But if a fundamental credo were to be retained, it would be that of daring to combine “a more automated service and improved quality at the same time”.
Keeping the sense of service above all, providing a great customer digital experience
To pose the challenge in other words: how to rationalize the complex connections that characterize the MICE industry without reducing the quality of service, but on the contrary, improving it at the same time? Because we must not be mistaken: a sense of service and hospitality are at the heart of the travel and hospitality professions, of which they form the DNA.
A provocative way of asking the same question would be to ask how not to do what the telephone providers have already done and what the big generalist banks are doing: destroy their customer relationship.
In the era of digitization, technicians and engineers are taking over because technology helps streamline all business processes and materials are grouped around marketplaces that structure and improve connectivity across all channels. where the business is done: from face to face to APPS and from telephone to computers.
As Bertrand Mabille underlines
“the most important element that must remain is the sense of service”.
To a corporate audience, avoid “ruptures”, limit uncertainties and wasted time
For tomorrow’s business travel – the introduction of technology should never be seen as a ‘minus’ in terms of service. Conversely, winning solutions must know how to identify the main frustrations (“pain points”) felt by business travelers and find the easiest ways to correct them.
Isn’t that the digital transition? harnessing technology for the benefit of the customer experience.
We could therefore say that innovation will consist in profoundly transforming the experience of business travel.
In particular, all possible means could be considered to limit uncertainties and wasted time. How to offer prices for groups whose size changes all the time, or for rooms whose rates are calculated on a day-to-day basis?
As Bertrand Mabille and many others have suggested, the business client abhors “ruptures”, that is to say all the moments when the services are either disjointed or disconnected – between them and / or with the users: indeed, between the agencies, the suppliers, the “paper” proposals and the realization in the field, the decision-makers, the sponsors, the operators and the executants, there are many opportunities for disruption. How can all the players be linked together without running the risk of ruptures or even a hiatus between what was planned and the reality on the ground?
The solution of the business traveler MICE (BT MICE) of tomorrow must make obsolete this refrain of business travel or business MICE:
“I found cheaper on the Internet” …
How can you guarantee the best price without having to depend on third-party players such as GDS and OTAs? And how do you succeed in presenting an integrated offer in terms of the hotel industry, but also activities, team building or tools for organizing seminars?
Daring to liberate tomorrow business travelers, daring to innovate
Here are some key issues for the coming years: how to keep in mind these questions around the value of the human relationship, of the peace and of the trust that business customers are looking for, while making the necessary digital transition. Do not sacrifice customer service like telephone operators have done in the name of productivity and modernization. On the contrary, create the most effective tools to put them at the service of the customer experience
For Bertrand Mabille, the globalization of those who have become the giants of travel has been built by “setting up processes and control systems that go the opposite of risk-taking and disruptive initiative. ” For him, innovation will come from new entrants:
“It is therefore time to think about the technologies of tomorrow rather than seeking to integrate those of the past.”