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The Innovate Conference for the Advancement of Business Travel offered business travel executives the opportunity to articulate priorities and recommendations.
GroundLink CEO Liz Carisone talks:
Marcou Transportation Group's acquisition of car service
platform GroundLink comes as Marcou, parent company of Dav El BostonCoach,
seeks to hasten development of an on-demand platform for chauffeured car
suppliers. GroundLink CEO Liz Carisone, who will stay in her role following the
acquisition, spoke with BTN transportation editor Michael B. Baker.
BTN: What drove
marketplace is really ripe for consolidation for two reasons. The fragmentation
of software systems that companies are on makes it difficult to amass scale, so
the opportunity under the Marcou Transportation Group is significant because it
puts big brand names together to combine supply in order to meet customers'
demand and meet the competitive pressures that are out in the marketplace.
The other thing is that it puts together GroundLink, which
is strong in technology, with the backbone of the affiliate network within Limo
Anywhere, which enables us to provide seamless service across the world. Dav El
BostonCoach has built out a superior product from a duty of care perspective
and a class of merchandise that can benefit on the GroundLink platform. I'm
looking at it from being able to cater to the corporate travel managers' needs
to deliver on-demand service, as well as directed service, but also having the
scale to cover road shows and significant events. The Dav El BostonCoach brand
has a strong presence in the events marketplace, and GroundLink does, as well.
Up to 10 percent of the combined revenues are related to events. This will
allow us to provide technology-enabled support and service to these event
Once we start to integrate and all our processes come to bear, we'll be coming to market with some very good tools that will make the event manager's job easier."
BTN: What sort of
event products do you have in mind?
has developed an event product that allows travel managers to automatically
upload their manifest, which makes making changes and moving things around much
easier. Providing the scale that the Marcou brand has across different modes of
transportation, from bus to Sprinter vans to black cars, it also enables us to
deliver a much more personalized service. Once we start to integrate and all
our processes come to bear, we'll be coming to market with some very good tools
that will make the event manager's job easier.
BTN: What's the
time line on getting these products to market?
Carisone: We have
launched an initiative to really get to near-demand, 20 minutes or under, in
our top markets. We are now in beta on that. We do have on-demand service in
three markets: New York, the greater New York City area and Chicago. The next
step is to roll out our near-demand service, and we will be starting in our
largest markets. The good thing is: The combined organizations share the
largest markets as the top markets, so we will be focusing in the L.A. area.
BTN: Dav El
Boston Coach Scott Solombrino CEO sees his parent company's acquisition of
GroundLink as a transformation into a technology supplier rather than a
brick-and-mortar business but said MTG also plans to continue consolidating
the chauffeured transportation industry. What's your take?
order for competition to thrive, we're going to have to be bigger to get scale.
This opportunity allows us to really focus on the technology. We've got some
exciting projects that we're working on and hoping to deliver at [the Global
Business Travel Association conference] in July.
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