Is Business Travel in Terminal Decline?

Posted on: June 1st, 2016

business travelThere is an increasing problem in the business travel world – the big corporate travel agencies such as Carlson Wagonlit Travel and American Express Global Business Travel are seeing their edicts ignored. Instead of corporate booking tools and preferred rates, travelers are opting for their own option.

The programs are not just leaking, the boat is sinking. Young road warriors want it all: an app on their smartphone that works everywhere has infinite choice and gives them a great deal.

So, what is the reaction from the Carlson and American Express? One possible solution, that is attracted large amounts of interest and funding at present is gamification. Matured in the gaming industry and really nothing new, gamification is about enticing people to do what you want by a combination of fun, competition and actual rewards. Both companies have gamification initiatives and, perhaps, bigger hopes attached to them.

The idea that a few badges and other gimmicks will make a difference is a contested one. The attitude of the big players is that it’s not been tried, so it may be a good idea and it can hardly make the situation worse.

In fact, the problem of open booking seems to be getting worse. At a GBTA conference in San Diego, it was a trend throughout.  A slim majority of delegates were against open booking, mainly on cost and infrastructure grounds.

The interesting question is, why the opposition? If this is a trend, then why aren’t the mega travel agencies embracing it? While not publicly admitted by either of the big two, they have made considerable investments and tied themselves into long term relationships that they’re just not willing to break for what could, after all, be a short term thing.

If the reaction at GBTA San Diego is anything to go by, opposition to open booking would appear to be here to stay. Is this the same as the early 90’s? Back then there was an industry wide opposition – that now seems farcical – to the use of online booking services as opposed to speaking to an operator. Will we be looking back in disbelief that the mega travel agencies were so against choice in a few years? That question would depend upon how well they can discourage us all from doing it.

CEO Transportation has been facilitating ground transportation for all aspects of business travel for over 30 years in the Central Florida area and worldwide. We are proud to offer our clients not just the best service but also the best value service. We offer customers the choice of a wide variety of services in hundreds of cities across the globe and would be proud to provide you and your business with the same first-class service that has built our business.  To speak with one of our travel specialists, call (352) 633-9309 today or visit us online at


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