The 25 Most Influential Business Travel Executives Of 2012 - Business Travel News

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The 25 Most Influential Business Travel Executives Of 2012

January 22, 2013 - 02:25 PM ET

After a year in which the future of certain aspects of the business travel industry were debated in courtrooms and boardrooms, there is no shortage of candidates who exerted influence during 2012. Though only time will reveal who among those behind 2012's mergers, near-mergers, lawsuits, technological advancements and innovations truly helped set the industry's future course, the following list represents the best attempt by The BTN Group's editorial and research staff to identify them.

After several solicitations for nominations from the industry, The BTN Group during the fall of 2012 created this list following several animated meetings. Unlike prior years in which the list was not publicized until the time Business Travel News published its first print edition of the new year, The BTN Group on Dec. 10 first revealed the names on this year's list at its Travel Management 2013 conference in New York City.

The 25 Most Influential Executives of 2012, BTN's 29th annual attempt to recognize industry movers, is not a ranking; BTN is not measuring their relative influence against one another.

This list includes 17 first-time and eight repeat honorees, the latter group headed by Prism's Michael Whitesage, whose ninth time on this list trails only Robert Crandall's all-time record of 10.

The BTN Group thanks all those who participated in creating this year's list, including everyone who pitched a nominee, participated in the vetting process or granted an interview.

Click on each individual's name to read their entry.

Mary Bastrentaz, Accenture

Tim Burke, U.S. General Services Administration

Carmine Carpanzano, nuTravel Technology Solutions

Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association

Mark Frissora, Hertz

Connie Hedegaard, European Commission

Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Hotels Corp.

Tom Horton, American Airlines

Michelle Hunt, DHL

David LeCompte, Short's Travel Management

Barry Liben, Travel Leaders Group/Tzell

Kevin Maguire, University of Texas at Austin

Luis Maroto, Amadeus

Barack Obama, United States of America

Lauri Reishus, ARC

JR Sherman, Active Network Business Solutions

Kristen Shovlin, Delta Air Lines

Rajeev Singh, Concur

Jeff Smisek, United Airlines

Michael Tangney, Google

Bill Tech, Travel and Transport

Todd Tyler, Lanyon

Michael Whitesage, The Prism Group

Gordon Wilson, Travelport

Andrew Winterton, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

 

Mary Bastrentaz 

Managing Director, Global Travel and Events 

Accenture 

Business Travel News in 2012 named Mary Bastrentaz its Multinational Travel Manager of the Year "for innovation, influence, communications skill and teamwork, as well as a commitment to advancing industry and company practices, and particularly for the vision for a universal profile."

Never shy to push her suppliers, Accenture's managing director of global travel and events helped leaders at her firm's travel management company understand the need to secure funding for development of a universal profile. Carlson Wagonlit Travel last year built the technology now available to Accenture and other clients.

With "CWT's Portrait Abroad mobile or universal profile, the profile moves with travelers," Bastrentaz said. It allows business travelers to access the discounts, unique policies, accounting codes and travel management support in any country where they are doing business. An administrative assistant in India, for example, now can book for a traveler based in the United Kingdom—with correct discounts and proper data capture.

To help build her own business case several years ago for a travel technology transformation and global consolidation, Bastrentaz said, she tapped the expertise of peers and stole "shamelessly" from the best of their programs. But she also cited the importance of "sharing generously" with peers about her latest travel and meetings management successes. Internally and externally, Bastrentaz can be found networking, collaborating and brainstorming.

"The technology transformation is really the critical piece," Bastrentaz said. "The stuff we're doing now is really hard stuff," such as managing demand, addressing traveler needs, working to improve compliance and cutting costs, she added.

That is partially why she has been pleasantly surprised by the impact of a mini-report that Accenture deployed last year on all travelers' home pages. "My Travel Summary, as little as it seems, is a big contributor" to policy compliance and traveler awareness of how their travel-booking decisions impact costs and carbon footprint.

"So many messages about cost reduction come from the top," Bastrentaz said. "But to really change the mindset to more of a cost-conscious awareness, there has to be a grass-roots type of culture."

— Mary Ann McNulty 

 

Tim Burke 

Executive Director of Travel and Transportation Services 

U.S. General Services Administration 

Building an end-to-end travel and expense system for a managed travel program generally is a challenging task, but doing it under a mandate for what amounts to the largest-volume program on the planet is probably as ambitious as it sounds. Doing it all again to bring further improvements may be even more daunting. But that's just what the U.S. General Services Administration and director of travel and transportation services Tim Burke are doing right now.

The first generation of GSA's E-Gov Travel System ramped up in the middle of the last decade, furnished by CW Government Travel, Electronic Data Systems and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. According to GSA, it has saved the U.S. government more than $20 million annually.

A massive solicitation for the second-generation ETS began in 2010 and finally wrapped up last May—later than planned—when GSA announced that Concur had been picked as the sole provider for the "cloud-based service" to be used by more than 90 federal agencies for travel booking and expense management.

It was quite an undertaking to get to that point, and now the heavy lifting begins as GSA helps each federal agency prepare for the transition, in partnership with whichever of the roughly three dozen TMCs approved to service civilian federal agencies they choose to use.

Described by GSA as "the backbone of government-wide managed travel programs," ETS2 is required for civilian agencies. Once deployed, it will handle online booking governed by the Federal Travel Regulation, authorizations, voucher processing, expense management and greenhouse gas emissions calculations. It is meant to provide federal agencies with purchasing leverage, travel management support, cost transparency and plenty of data.

"It's a more mobile environment, a more service-oriented architecture technology capability, but one that is very centered around the travel transaction," said Burke, who helped lead both the original ETS effort and the provision of the second-generation system, and landed on this list for a third time. "When I got here, we knew we didn't have data. We were just pushing out contracts and letting the price drive the choice, but we weren't necessarily sure how we were buying or whether we could have bought differently.

"ETS1 was more built for our particular revolution at the time, that we were going end to end to reach the Holy Grail," he continued. "ETS1 used a more traditional government approach to vendors, but we still wanted to become more commercial, and as we get to ETS2, we have optimized a commercial solution while maintaining the very best of what we have on the legacy side. We'll have a full window into the end-to-end travel costs for every federal agency, which will enable their budgeting processes to be better, will enable their cost containment to be predictable and will allow them to make travel, while important to their job, not a job unto itself."

Burke said the goal is to fully deploy ETS2 by mid-2015, with an aggregate online booking adoption rate of 70 percent to 90 percent and 100 percent use of online expense management processes.

— David Jonas 

 

Carmine Carpanzano 

President and CEO 

nuTravel Technology Solutions 

A strategy in development for a few years started coming together in 2012 to produce an "amazing year" for nuTravel Technology Solutions, said co-founder, president and CEO Carmine Carpanzano.

After the November 2011 acquisition of TRX's ResX online booking tool, Carpanzano said 10-year-old nuTravel planned to sunset that tool and migrate ResX customers to its own Enterprise Solutions platform.

"What we found when we started talking to customers and the distributor base was that most if not all of customers were happy with the existing platform," Carpanzano said. "When we did a side-by-side analysis, we found that a lot of what we were going to build was already there. It didn't make sense to continue to invest money building a platform when we already had one for enterprise and large customers."

Instead, nuTravel rebranded ResX under its own name for the large market and continued to sell its existing solution to small- and midsize customers and meeting planners. The company also "built a system that sits between the two platforms to house common functionality for search, global distribution system connectivity, profiles, travel policy, etc., needed in the booking process," Carpanzano explained.

For the global market, nuTravel partnered with France's KDS and New Zealand-based Serko to forge the Mundi Global Alliance, a structure in which the three companies share sales leads and offer mutual multinational clients integrated data, broader content, consolidated contracts, speedier deployment and common service-level agreements. The companies expect to soon deploy its first customers.

"There are 15 really big business markets in the world and we cover 12 of the 15" with booking and expense tools, Carpanzano added.

NuTravel has more than 200 distributors and serves more than 8,000 corporate customers with aggregate travel spending of $20 billion, according to Carpanzano. "In North America, we feel we've taken the number-two spot [behind Concur]. In Canada, we feel we've taken the number-one slot."

"We dominate Canada because of our relationship and partnership with Air Canada" for a small business booking tool that is used by more than 1,000 companies, Carpanzano said.

Late last year, nuTravel upgraded Air Canada's online booking functionality after the carrier updated the application programming interface it uses for direct connections. The improved booking tool now allows users to apply corporate discounts and promotion codes.

"We added the same functionality for WestJet and Porter Air," Carpanzano said. He noted that nuTravel also is working to upgrade its Air Book Modify tool that allows users to change an existing reservation online—whether via laptop, mobile phone or tablet—rather than call an agency, and "thus save a lot of money."

Another major milestone for the company was a new partnership with Insperity Expensable to forge a booking-to-expense solution. "We have 40 to 50 mutual customers using our combined systems," Carpanzano said. "That is a great partnership and it's growing substantially, beyond where we thought it would grow."

NuTravel also continues to partner with Certify and power the booking piece of its booking-to-expense offering for the small and midsize market, with Travelocity in the smaller space and with Spendvision and KDS in international markets. 

Taking an open-platform approach, Carpanzano said his company will integrate its booking tools with any expense product, provided the deal makes business sense and meets customer need.

— Mary Ann McNulty 

 

Roger Dow 

President and CEO 

U.S. Travel Association 

When U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow last year heard rumblings that the U.S. General Services Administration was considering a plan to reduce hotel per diem rates, he mobilized a lobbying effort. "We were able to build a compelling case that this doesn't make sense," Dow said. "It was very important as the GSA planned to cut per diems by 30 percent. It would have just raised rates in different ways."

Dow explained that New York would have "become unaffordable" for government workers who would be forced to stay at hotels in Newark or other less expensive lodging options. That, he said, often would necessitate a car service or a rental car, which ultimately would boost travel expenses. GSA opted to keep 2013 per diems at the 2012 levels.

"We got a stay of execution," Dow said. "Now, we have to redouble our efforts because of the tremendous pressure on government cost cutting. We've already seen cancellation of meetings by government agencies," including the Army, which is "taking action in front of demands for cuts."

As the head of a national umbrella organization representing all segments of what it describes as an "$813 billion industry" that last year generated $1.9 trillion in "total economic output," Dow is focused on ways to increase travel to and within the United States—and thwart any attempt to dial it down. The role includes lobbying Congress, the White House and state and local governments, and working with agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the State Department to finesse rules to make the country more welcoming. When necessary, the role also includes chiding officials when actions curtail travel.

"The challenge I have going forward is that our support for this industry is an inch deep and a mile wide," Dow said regarding lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. "We have to identify 10 to 20 champions who can identify the benefits and bring it home."

Dow applauded recent process improvements for inbound international travel. For example, the U.S. State Department decreased wait times for visa interviews in some countries as long as "a little over a year ago to less than 10 days," he explained. "The big push now is to get more countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Israel and Poland—into the Visa Waiver Program." When international travel buyers can't get visas to attend large U.S. pharma, heavy equipment or technology shows, "that doesn't just affect the travel industry," Dow said. "It also affects the selling of U.S. products."

Dow also welcomed the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck and Global entry programs that speed qualified travelers through airport security lines. PreCheck, Dow said, "is an airline program, and [travelers] have to spend about $10,000 [per year on a carrier] before you get into that. Global Entry allows anyone to complete a form, pay a fee and submit to an interview for faster customs processing. Interviews are now offered at 25 airports. While the form is still "a little complicated—government-speak that could be better—I'm telling people to join Global Entry. It's $100, good for five years and it automatically puts you through PreCheck," no matter which domestic carrier one flies or their status in that carrier's loyalty program.

Dow expressed optimism about 2013 business travel and meetings demand, with a caveat: The continuing fiscal negotiations between Congress and the White House not only could "cause corporations to hoard cash and continue to put pressure on expenses not knowing what will come out," but also lead to further government travel and meeting cutbacks. Otherwise, he said, "we're projecting a 1 percent to 2 percent increase in business travelers [in 2013], the same as the past two or three years."

— Mary Ann McNulty 

 

Mark Frissora 

Chairman and CEO 

Hertz 

In April 2010 Hertz signed an agreement to acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for $1.2 billion. After more than two years, a bidding war with Avis Budget Group, initial pushback from Dollar Thrifty shareholders, a protracted regulatory review by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a price tag that more than doubled to $2.6 billion, Hertz in November finally sealed the acquisition.

Overseen by Hertz chairman and CEO Mark Frissora, the deal redraws the competitive landscape in the U.S. rental car market and provides Hertz with new tiers to position to corporate travel buyers.

Prior to the acquisition, the four largest U.S. rental car companies—Avis Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and Dollar Thrifty—accounted for about 97 percent of the business at the top 50 U.S. airports, according to Abrams Consulting Group data. Now, Hertz is one of only three major companies dominating the market. While the pricing-power implications may concern some travel buyers, the acquisition gives Hertz the opportunity to position Dollar as a "value" business brand, according to Frissora. That allows it to better compete with its chief competitors, which have similar structures.

"Instead of having one brand, we're going to have three brands you can choose from, obviously at pricing levels that are different," Frissora told BTN. "That's the exciting thing, the fact that we now have three growth brands."

When it comes to the corporate market, Frissora acknowledged that Hertz has faced challenges in competing with Avis Budget and Enterprise, both of which own mid-tier brands suitable for price-sensitive corporate buyers.

"Today it's rare to find a corporate customer who doesn't have one of our competitors' brands," said Frissora. "Hertz has kind of been fighting with its hands behind its back because it's had no other brand to fight with."

With Dollar and Thrifty under its wing, Hertz's hands are untied.

— Jay Boehmer 

 

Connie Hedegaard 

Member In Charge of Climate Action 

European Commission 

Meant to force airlines and their passengers to account for their environmental impact, the much-maligned European Emissions Trading Scheme is on hold, at least for international flights that originate in or depart from the European Union. The contentious part of ETS would require airlines to purchase permits should they exceed predetermined annual emissions quotas. But the European Commission recently provided the global aviation industry a one-year "window of opportunity" to create and implement a comprehensive framework.

By including international aviation in ETS, EU faced much criticism from the airline industry and other governments. The United States, for example, is one of a few nations that prohibits its carriers from participating. There also were fears of retaliation by other nations against EU carriers and larger trade wars.

A common complaint is that Europe should not unilaterally exert authority over other countries' airlines, especially because ETS would require airlines to pay for emissions generated from the entirety of flights arriving or departing EU airports—including the portions of those flights not in EU airspace. Many argued instead for a global framework established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Even so, it appeared that ETS would go forward. In January 2012, some airlines raised fares or added new surcharges to cover their expected ETS costs.

But following an ICAO meeting in November 2012, EC proposed to "stop the clock" on the international aviation portion of ETS.

"It is actually materializing as a political process," said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commission's first-ever Commissioner for Climate Action, during a December interview with Business Travel News. "There is a real chance to make progress. We can tell our partners outside of Europe that you can unite around one thing, namely that you do not like the European way of doing things. We would agree with you that we'd rather have a global regime. But you will have to show you are serious in ICAO."

The decision was welcomed the world over by leaders from airlines, aviation associations and governments, but the next flashpoint is on the horizon. ETS once again automatically would cover all flights to and from non-European countries should no global deal be in place following ICAO's general assembly in autumn 2013. Internal EU flights will continue to be included in ETS, regardless of whether the operating airline is from within or outside the European Union.

When the U.S. House of Representatives in November passed legislation disallowing U.S. carriers from participating in ETS, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said, "The proposal must not be allowed to resurface in one year like a phoenix rising again from the ashes. This scheme has the appearance of nothing more than a cash grab by a struggling European Union."

But Hedegaard countered such rhetoric by saying that "sometimes our international partners do not understand. This is not a fancy idea to regulate emissions from aviation. It's in our law, adopted by 27 member states. When you adopt a law, you enforce the law."

Hedegaard, previously Danish Minister for the Environment, said EC therefore is steadfast in its intention to activate ETS for international aviation if it must. "If nothing comes out of [the ICAO process], then I wonder about all these countries who have said, 'We do not like the European scheme, we would prefer a global scheme.' What will they say next? But we took them for what they said, that they are serious about a global scheme."

— David Jonas 

 

Mark Hoplamazian 

President and CEO 

Hyatt Hotels Corp. 

Hyatt Hotels Corp. in less than a decade rapidly has transformed from an exclusively upscale hotel company to a multibrand player competitive in the extended-stay and select-service tiers, an evolution primarily under the leadership of a man initially appointed as an interim CEO.

Mark Hoplamazian in 2006 became Hyatt's CEO, having previously helped its owners, the Pritzker family, band the company together. His appointment, initially temporary as the company conducted a CEO search, became permanent. Since then, Hyatt has emerged as a solidly performing public company—Hoplamazian led it through its IPO in 2009—and, more interestingly to travel buyers, a supplier viably covering a wide range of corporate hotel program needs.

To establish itself as a multibrand player quickly, Hyatt set a course of developing new brands through acquisition. The plan, then not unanimously embraced by Hyatt executives, started just prior to Hoplamazian's start as CEO, when the company acquired AmeriSuites and rebranded it as Hyatt Place.

Hyatt "ended up doing a significant amount of consumer research and made some decisions that were not necessarily consistent with what was in the minds of a number of people at Hyatt," Hoplamazian said in a December interview with BTN.

Hyatt followed a similar, though more elongated, pattern in the extended-stay tier. It acquired Summerfield Suites at about the same time as it did AmeriSuites. Hyatt continued to operate it as Summerfield Suites until last year, when it combined it with a portfolio purchased in 2011 from LodgeWorks to create a new brand: Hyatt House.

As of late last year, Hyatt Place had about 170 properties in the United States, and Hyatt House had more than 50. Although that's a smaller footprint than many of its multibrand competitors, Hyatt's brands have gained favor with travel buyers. In BTN's 2012 Hotel Chain Survey, for example, buyers rated both Hyatt Place and Hyatt House—then still called Summerfield Suites—the highest in their respective tiers.

Hoplamazian attributes that performance to thorough market research that helped Hyatt define the two brands before their launches.

"The key was watching the transformation of consumer insights to which the company had committed itself into compelling brands," he said. "When you start with the consumers' needs and are successful in translating that into brand identity, you put yourself in the best position to gain traction with guests."

— Michael B. Baker 

 

Tom Horton  

Chairman and CEO 

American Airlines 

Bankruptcy reorganization is an opportunity not only for financial stabilization, but also reinvention. Like its largest competitors before, American Airlines has worked to advance both of those objectives under court protection.

Taking the helm of the company in late 2011 when it filed for Chapter 11, CEO Tom Horton has overseen several initiatives impacting the corporate market, from a sales force realignment that helped return growth in corporate business to the launch of new fare bundles and reinvestment in products. Bankruptcy, however, did not change the carrier's course in continuing legal battles against global distribution system operators.

While the terms of its settlement with Sabre have been sealed, an agreement reached between the two companies in late October assures access to AA content for Sabre's agency and corporate subscribers for years to come. And though a jury never had a chance to deliberate on the case, the spoils seemingly went to AA, which received unspecified damages from Sabre, a "modified payment amendment" to its content agreement and other revised terms. The new agreement "requires Sabre to display American's content in an unbiased manner," and allows the carrier to "continue to pursue its Direct Connect initiative," according to court documents.

At press time, talks between American and Travelport to settle their parallel suit continued.

The past year has had its fair share of challenges for AA, including spotty operational performance, labor challenges and a persistent US Airways intent on preventing AA from its earlier stated goal to emerge from Chapter 11 as a standalone carrier.

For American, the reinvention continues in 2013.

— Jay Boehmer 

 

Michelle Hunt 

Regional Category Manager for Travel Services 

DHL Global Business Services 

When seeking to consolidate her company's transient and group travel, DHL Global Business Services' Michelle Hunt took her case to preferred hotels and convinced most to load group rates directly into global distribution systems.

Like many companies, DHL faced the conundrum of strong online adoption levels for air tickets but low hotel compliance: about 38 percent of hotel stays in 2010 were booked through the designated agency. Knowing that meetings were a key cause of this, Hunt and her team requested hotel chains load group rates into GDSs so travelers could use the same portal for transient and group travel.

DHL piloted the project with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. That meant testing it, learning the lingo and ensuring key account managers were comfortable with the process. Using that as a model, DHL set up similar systems with most other major hotel chains it uses, including some outside of North America.

Even though one large chain declined to participate, Hunt persuaded one property in that chain that had been an important group travel partner to use a workaround. Travelers still can book that hotel through the online tool; the property on the back end adjusts rates to comply with the set group rate.

By the beginning of 2012, DHL's hotel booking compliance had increased to 76.5 percent.

Besides the benefits to her own program, Hunt's work also paved the way for other buyers who wanted to embark on similar projects with the participating chains.

Speaking at the Business Travel News Travel Management 2013 event in December, Hunt said the project represented a "simple solution we overlooked" and encouraged fellow buyers to similarly build influence through partnerships.

"Engage your business partners, travelers, admins and suppliers in the conversation," she said. "Find out what needs to be done, and educate both sides on their needs. Elevate your program and evolve it."

— Michael B. Baker 

 

David LeCompte 

CEO 

Short's Travel Management  

New products in travel management are hard to come by. New tips and tricks are more common, but truly new tools are as rare as an airline volunteering credit for unused tickets.

Part of the reason is that as fast-paced as the road warrior life can be, corporations and other organizations that employ hundreds or thousands of people typically are slow. Innovation gravitates to the ready test bed of consumer travel and from there, maybe, attracts business travelers and their employers.

It's based on this consumerization that Short's Travel Management CEO David LeCompte is attempting to build his travel management company's future, and for little other reason than if he didn't, he'd be bored. This is a guy who flew his own plane to Cleveland in 2008 for The Beat Live travel business conference. At the same conference in Las Vegas three years later, he plummeted 108 stories on the Stratosphere's SkyJump.

In December 2011, Short's announced plans for a new service enabling travelers to search for air travel options anywhere online, quickly get those results over to the travel management company and have the selection booked through a proprietary online booking system.

Called BookIt, the function launched last year and this month got a boost through a partnership with ProcureApp that essentially puts a Short's checkout button on any site. (Short's had bested ProcureApp in an innovation contest at an Association of Corporate Travel Executives conference last April.) Clients including Georgetown University's Office of Financial Affairs said they love BookIt, and some other travel management companies, including Traveline Travel, have shown interest in the technology.

Not everything works. Short's shuttered an air taxi service it built a few years ago because demand vanished. A fractional jet ownership initiative also never quite took off. But LeCompte isn't on this list because of some major initiative that has changed the whole industry. Rather, he's recognized for leading a company that is smart enough to come up with potentially good ideas and wacky enough to try them.

"Being traveler-centric will be key, and where that's coming from I don't know," said LeCompte. "But we're eyeing it from all angles. I give credit to TripIt for ignoring the company and focusing on the end user. The big innovation was [Apple's] AppStore, and now that's in the hands of travelers, and the corporate marketplace hasn't kept up."

With clients like the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Nascar, one niche for Short's is the sports market. It's not a big market, which keeps it under the mega agencies' radars, but it's big enough for Short's. Similarly, LeCompte sees innovation as a niche that the big guys cannot pursue. A leader at a larger travel management company confessed to BTN her jealousy of the simplicity of the Short's solutions.

LeCompte still sees as the top value propositions offered by travel management companies the basics of offline traveler service, tracking unused tickets and client program customization. But in addition to those expectations, he said, one can never be sure what will excite a client.

It's these innovations—these purple carrots, as LeCompte calls them—that keep him from selling out and working for a bigger company. "We're having way too much fun embracing innovation, and we're at the tip of iceberg," he said. "The marketplace is just slow to move."

— Jay Campbell 

 

Barry Liben 

CEO 

Travel Leaders Group 

A year in the making between respective CEOs Barry Liben and Priscilla Alexander, Travel Leaders Group's acquisition last month of Protravel was nothing new in the long-term process of consolidation among business travel agencies. Yet, the move highlights the positioning of a handful of agencies, with the combined Protravel-Tzell as its largest, in a distinct group separate from the global travel management companies and above the rest.

Let's call them the mega unmanaged.

Mega agencies like American Express and Carlson Wagonlit Travel generally focus on global corporate travel clients, which tend to have their own supplier contracts. While that means those travel management companies are processing a mind-boggling amount of business, it tends to be lower-yielding to airlines than what some large travel agencies drive from independent, niche corporate and small-market business travelers who fly a lot internationally. Airlines are more willing to incentivize agencies for this high-yielding international traveler who is not already benefiting from a large corporate discount.

On the smaller end, where many boutique or midsize travel agencies do influence the traveler's choice of supplier, they often lack the overall volume required to earn supplier perks.

Tzell and other large agencies that have sizable percentages of unmanaged and/or small and medium business—such as Travel and Transport, Altour, Frosch and Ovation—in recent years quickly added volume through various forms of consolidation to maximize supplier relationships and income.

For Tzell, that's been based largely on expanding its independent agent model into a form of consolidation that's really a partnership with other travel agencies, allowing it to leverage their volume without actually buying the partner's assets. These methods for externalizing costs help strengthen the ways Travel Leaders can attract business travelers and their employers.

"We know better than anyone how to take care of the commission agent model," claimed Liben. " 'You sell, we support.' And it works."

— Jay Campbell 

 

Kevin Maguire 

Travel Director, Intercollegiate Athletics 

University of Texas at Austin 

Group check-in with Delta Air Lines became much less of a hassle in 2012, largely due to the efforts of UT intercollegiate athletics travel manager Kevin Maguire and the Global Business Travel Association Sports Committee that he spearheaded.

Delta in March announced a new online check-in process for groups with six to 40 passengers, in which a leader can check in the entire group and its baggage and print out individual boarding passes for each traveler. Previously, athletes often would arrive at the airport in large groups and clog up service counters as they checked in individually while a team leader paid baggage fees separately for each traveler. Talks with other carriers to adopt similar policies continued, though the United-Continental merger and American Airlines' bankruptcy slowed the process.

Maguire's role in developing the process was one reason why BTN in 2012 named him Travel Manager of the Year.

He also cultivated a partnership with technology supplier Go Ground to build a single-source ground transportation management system, helped develop a similar system for charter air management and led an effort to establish better hotel pricing and inventory policies related to large events.

In all these areas, Maguire effected change beyond his own organization's travel program. Speaking at BTN's Travel Management 2013 event in December, he said a general reluctance to pursue new approaches and exert influence externally has stymied progress in the corporate travel industry.

"We don't like change, and there's a resistance to innovation," Maguire said. "We need to start communicating ideas and different ways to look at things. We're not good at that right now."

— Michael B. Baker 

 

Luis Maroto 

President and CEO 

Amadeus IT Group  

Amadeus long has sought to make deeper inroads into North America, where it lags rivals Sabre and Travelport in providing global distribution system services, air reservations systems and other airline IT products. It made substantial progress during 2012.

The big coup was landing a contract to provide to Southwest Airlines international reservations capabilities, beginning in early 2014. It marked Amadeus' first North American customer for the Altéa system, which is used worldwide by about 120 carriers.

A longtime user of Sabre's res system for domestic operations, Southwest also is considering a new system for that much larger portion of its business, though it hasn't named a vendor. The odds appear tilted in Amadeus' favor.

"It was an important deal for us to convince Southwest that while we are not [based] in the United States, they can trust our capability to deliver with a combination of resources in Europe and a local presence in the U.S. market," said Amadeus IT Group president and CEO Luis Maroto. "Our ambition is to keep growing. At least we have been more present with the U.S. carriers. They know us, they know our capabilities and they are open to conversations."

Amadeus during 2012 also picked up some additional U.S.-based users for the Amadeus One agent desktop—designed as a customizable, web-based, multi-GDS platform—including Atlas Travel International and TS24. "We are pleased with the evolution," Maroto said. "We are still smaller than our competitors [in the United States], and hopefully we will continue growing on the TMC side. We are investing in the long-term in the U.S. market."

Indeed, Amadeus in 2012 also struck new deals in North America with travel search firms Kayak and Hipmunk and expanded a relationship with Expedia that covers content distribution, fare searching, web services and agent desktop software. Expedia for years had been using Amadeus services in 15 other countries, but "to convince Expedia to work with us in the U.S. gives us a presence that hopefully will be a reference for other players," Maroto explained.

He has told analysts that Amadeus expects within two or three years to process more than 10 percent of Expedia's U.S. volume.

Meanwhile, like other GDS operators, Amadeus during 2012 struck new or extended "full-content" deals with several airlines, some of which, including those with Delta and Qantas, called for Amadeus to sell certain ancillary services. Maroto said the company signed 46 airlines to use Amadeus Airline Ancillary Services to distribute ancillaries, "and 21 of them are selling ancillary services using our solutions in the indirect channel."

On the hotel front, Amadeus last year made progress in aggregating content not normally found within GDSs, including a deal with Germany-based hotel portal HRS (which distributes content from 250,000 properties).

Through it all, Amadeus continued to produce strong financial performance and grab a growing share of global travel agency air bookings.

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2012, it claimed 37.7 percent of such bookings worldwide, up 0.5 percentage points from the same period a year earlier. Maroto credited the company's local presence around the world, ongoing efforts to build up content and "continuous investment in technology."

— David Jonas 

 

Barack Obama 

President 

United States of America 

In November 2011, President Barack Obama issued a mandate for federal agencies to reduce fiscal year 2012 spending, including travel costs, by 20 percent versus the previous year's levels.

That meant some government contractors likely were affected, as well as certain hotels, airlines, travel management companies and others that service government travelers.

When Obama signed the executive order, some industry associations objected to the message. The U.S. Travel Association, for example, stated that "broad policies seeking to cut government travel budgets ... can have the unintended consequence of discouraging legitimate government travel by adding extra layers of bureaucracy and making federal employees fearful to travel."

Reflecting on the past 14 months, USTA director of domestic policy Erik Hansen said results have been mixed. "We've seen a little bit of the good and a little bit of the bad," he said. There still are opportunities, he continued, for government and Congress to "do the right thing" in making sure travel is managed properly. "The government has a lot to learn from the private sector in terms of how to manage travel. We're seeing a lot of proposals in Congress that aren't accompanied by a lot of thought or analysis of what impact a deep cut in travel budgets could have," such as a reduction in services for taxpayers and for veterans, and fewer job-related conferences.

"Federal employees can't do their jobs by being hermetic," Hansen said, adding that "the Obama administration is trying to take a more measured approach."

In fiscal 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation reduced its travel expenditures to $75.1 billion from $77.3 billion during fiscal 2011, according to a spokesperson, who added that DOT's use of remote conferencing has doubled in the past two years.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration went to a $75 million travel budget in FY 2012 from $94 million a year earlier, a spokesperson said, adding that the budget for FY 2013 was reduced another $500,000.

Meanwhile, Obama in January 2012 signed an executive order to ease inbound international travel. He stressed the need to establish more trusted-traveler program links with other countries for expediting the entry process; to create a "national travel and tourism strategy"; to improve visa processing for visitors from outside the United States; and to expand the Visa Waiver Program, which allows some travelers from participating countries to remain in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan in October was added as the 37th VWP member.

According to a White House report issued in September, travel and tourism within the United States in 2011 contributed $1.4 trillion to the economy and created 7.5 million jobs. "The travel and tourism industry projects that more than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the U.S. increased its share of the international travel market," according to the report.

— Holly Leber 

 

Lauri Reishus 

Vice President and COO 

Airlines Reporting Corp.  

A major initiative for the Airlines Reporting Corp. and the agencies and airlines it serves involved a much-needed update to the contract that allows travel agencies to issue airline tickets.

The "driving force" of the multi-year project was Lauri Reishus, ARC's newly promoted vice president and COO. The new Agency Reporting Agreement is scheduled to take effect in July and represents the first major revision to a document written in the 1980s—before electronic ticketing, reporting and settlement. Reishus said the revision shrank the ARA to 21 pages from 55 and now uses simpler English instead of legalese. Importantly, it provides agencies with "more flexibility" to run their operations and airlines with "faster settlement and more transparency" regarding agency ownership structures.

For example, ARC-appointed travel agencies will settle cash remittance within five days instead of 10. "The bigger changes are the business models, the ability to move ARC numbers from state to state without having to get new ones and the ability to share ownership with another agency or share a branch," Reishus explained.

She added that ARC is "getting rid of the last vestiges of control of paper documents—the storage and tracking of those paper documents. Agencies will still have all the accountability that they have today. But we're getting out of the Big-Brother-telling-you-how-to-run-your-business mentality. It made sense back in the day of paper tickets. It didn't make sense today."

Beginning in late 2011, Reishus talked to "airlines and agencies about what wasn't working with their ARC relationships," and with ARC staff to compile a list of issues. The iterative process required "lots of face-to-face meetings," drafts and revisions, she said. As the go-between, ARC staff "could help airlines understand what the agencies were asking for today and why it mattered and vice versa."

The ARC board in mid-2012 approved the revised ARA but voted to delay implementation to July 2013 to allow all parties—agencies, airlines, global distribution systems and ARC itself—to update their systems.

The agreement is one step in a major ARC modernization that also will update the entity's accreditation and settlement systems, Reishus said. As part of this transformation, Reishus said she and about a half-dozen other ARC staff members earned certification from Net Promoter, a community owned by customer loyalty software maker Satmetric.

To determine how to make customers loyal, "Net Promoter is really figuring out which customers love you, why they love you" and why others do not, Reishus said. "It's a different mindset at ARC about how we approach our agency and airline customers. We want them to love us" and the organization plans this year to launch a program to prove it.

— Mary Ann McNulty 

 

JR Sherman 

Senior Vice President 

The Active Network 

The meetings technology industry in the waning days of 2011 once again seemed poised for major change. No stranger to acquisitions and mergers of major players, the industry saw one of its strategic meetings management war horses, StarCite, struggling with declining revenue despite a core of Corporate Travel 100 clients and exploring strategic alternatives. With a large, aggressive and well-funded competitor, Cvent, on the ascendance, whispers about a possible merger grew louder, and a future with a single dominant SMM technology provider seemed quite possible.

Enter The Active Network, a publicly traded developer of online registration and other capabilities for community activities and the outdoors markets that heretofore had no involvement in SMM tech. Instead of Cvent, it was Active on Dec. 30, 2011, that purchased StarCite from its investment bank ownership. The deal not only enabled Active to approach the market as a single vendor for the technology needs of customer-facing marketing events and procurement-centric strategic meetings management, but also kept StarCite in its market as part of a financially stronger entity.

Sources pointed to Active senior vice president JR Sherman, who also serves as general manager of the Active Network Business Solutions division, as the driver of the deal, which Active had broached as early as mid-2010. In an interview last month, Sherman pointed to the 2008-09 financial recession as a key reason why Active, which had spent its existence acquiring attendee management and registration tech companies, decided to enter the SMM tech market.

"We really dominated the marketing event arena, but coming out of the recession, we realized not only that new ways people were interacting with content and each other were driving marketing events, but also that events were the first to get cut when recession hit," Sherman said. "We started researching strategic meetings management and came across companies like StarCite and Cvent. We realized the true value of meetings and events was the ability to tie these things together."

Still, challenges persist. Cvent remains a potent competitor and had a noteworthy 2012 of its own, buying a pair of mobile technology developers (the first acquisitions in its 13-year history) and raising its employee headcount to more than 1,000.

Active executives publicly announced only one "cross-sold" joint client of its legacy attendee registration tools and its StarCite SMM tech, Computer Associates, and have noted longer lead times in StarCite sales efforts.

Sherman, though, added that technological integration between StarCite and Active has accelerated, positioning the company to show progress in 2013. "We knew it would take a good part of 2012 to do a deep evaluation of the back-end systems that nobody sees as a user to make sure that when we build a suite or unified deliverable for customers, they can be sure that the back ends are integrated and scalable and fall within compliance," he said. "In the third quarter, we made real aggressive progress tying those platforms together on the front end, and on the back end from an aggregation of data and spend standpoint."

— Chris Davis 

 

Kristen Shovlin 

Managing Director of Sales Operations 

Delta Air Lines 

Delta Air Lines in 2011 blazed a new path in corporate reporting when it began detailing to clients their travelers' bag fees, frequency and value of frequent flyer upgrades and the impact of travel disruptions.

The SkyPartner Review reports drew immediate praise from Delta's clients. In the past year, competitors expressed their sincerest flatteries through imitation.

As Delta managing director of sales operations, Kristen Shovlin was instrumental in developing the reports.

She said the impetus stemmed in part from travel buyers frustrated by the lack of bag-fee transparency. As industry task forces set out to address that problem, Shovlin and her team sought to formulate Delta's own response.

"We can't say that we can't do this, so let's go find a solution," she said. That led to the realization that Delta was sitting on heaps of meaningful data that wasn't conveyed to clients. "We stepped back and said, 'Let's look at the value proposition of this relationship, not just the contract savings.' We wrote out all the touch points, services and programs that a relationship with Delta offers corporate customers. We needed to make sure we're sharing that information with them."

Delta now shares data on the vast majority of ancillary fees paid by clients, according to executives, and breaks out each company's spending on base fares, fuel surcharges, ancillary items and government-imposed taxes and fees. Delta also details how it services an account's travelers during irregular operations. For example, reporting highlights how often and why a company's travelers call for support and how the carrier addressed those situations, perhaps by waiving a change fee or offering a preferred seat.

Delta's competitors have taken note. US Airways in July started detailing client-specific data on bag fees in monthly reports, including information on the number of bags checked by corporate travelers, the sum of fees paid and the number and value of fees waived for frequent flyers. The carrier this year plans to expand reports to include other metrics that Delta already discloses to clients. American Airlines also is planning to improve the level of detail in corporate client reports.

Continental Airlines was an early pioneer in corporate reporting, but it stopped sending some data to clients while it integrated with United Airlines. Executives said it would start sending those again, and more, some time this year.

— Jay Boehmer 

 

Rajeev Singh 

President and COO  

Concur 

Few topics last year generated as much buzz as Concur Open Booking, an option to allow travelers to book travel however they wish, then track data by forwarding their itineraries to TripIt or linking their hotel and car loyalty programs to Concur accounts. As product head, Concur co-founder, president, COO and director Rajeev Singh makes his debut on this list. (His brother, Concur chairman and CEO Steve Singh, has appeared eight times, most recently on last year's list.)

Concur officials claim the offering, when launched, will provide unmanaged travel programs with insight they don't currently have and address the data and security concerns expressed by managed travel program proponents.

Rajeev Singh in November told investors that "Concur Open Booking is a critical element in our strategy to enable The Perfect Trip," a seamless means to shop, buy, execute and expense a trip. The program "acknowledges that travelers of today and the future won't always do as they're told, but they will often do the right thing. It is a solution that can link an itinerary from any source to your expense report," he said. "It's a solution that motivates the traveler to submit their itineraries or sources them automatically from suppliers and allows administrators to have visibility they never had before."

Singh named Google and Salesforce.com as participants in its Concur Open Booking Alliance, "a relatively small group of customers who are supportive of the ideas and participating with us in product and program design." Supplier participants in the initiative include Avis, Best Western, Choice, Hertz, InterContinental, LaQuinta, Marriott and Starwood. Concur officials said the program is to launch this quarter.

But Open Booking is by no means the only new development at Concur, Singh said. More than 500 developers are working to enhance its global expense solutions. "We've made expense accessible and deliverable to every traveler in the world," he said. "We've done that by adding a significant amount of features for markets like Japan, India, South America or Brazil specifically where things like pre-trip authorizations or approvals need to be robust."

— Mary Ann McNulty 

 

Jeff Smisek 

Chairman and CEO 

United Airlines 

For Jeff Smisek, 2012 was to be the year that Continental Airlines and United Airlines "become one airline for our customers," as he said during a January 2012 earnings call. "We will have one brand, one website, one loyalty program and one name."

Those goals indeed have been met but the unification of the two carriers and their systems came with significant struggle, including a series of summertime operational woes, a decline in corporate buyer sentiment and some diverted business travel to competitors.

During that same earnings call last year, Smisek conveyed optimism about what turned out to be the carrier's biggest 2012 challenge: the transition to a single passenger services system. At that time, the carrier had conducted "four full-scale dress rehearsals" and Smisek declared the company "exceedingly well-prepared." But in the wake of the cutover in early March, United customers faced unsynced passenger name records, missing itineraries, check-in issues, mileage accrual problems, upgrade difficulties and long hold times to speak with customer service agents. As anticipated, United also suspended sales of Economy Plus seating through global distribution system channels and halted its prepaid PassPlus program. At press time, Economy Plus remained unavailable through GDS channels.

Smisek in July acknowledged the carrier "added new stress to the system by simultaneously converting to a single passenger system, implementing hundreds of new processes and procedures, rerouting aircraft across our network and harmonizing our maintenance programs. Those changes were in large part responsible for the degradation of our operational performance," which included what he called declining performance "on metrics such as on-time arrival, mishandled bag rates and cancellations."

Smisek and other executives cited those difficulties in acknowledging some negative corporate share shift. One airline analyst estimated that lost corporate revenues in 2012 could have reached $750 million. But with 2012 over, so too are those growing pains, according to carrier officials. This year's plan is to regain customer loyalty and reclaim operational excellence.

— Jay Boehmer 

 

Michael Tangney 

Global Travel and Expense Manager 

Google 

Google's pioneering efforts to bring open booking strategies to a managed travel program have made global travel and expense manager Michael Tangney no stranger to this list. His 2012 contributions to a key industry technology supplier's move to facilitate such strategies landed him on it once again.

Tangney has been a key member of Concur's panel of corporate buyers that advises on the company's Open Booking initiative, an approach that would allow corporate travelers to book however they want while Concur collects data on the back end. He also was among the first customers of that initiative.

It was a natural fit. Google since 2008 has operated under Tangney's program, which similarly permits employees to book their travel in whatever manner and with whatever supplier they prefer, provided they keep their costs within the price parameters that Google sets.

Tangney at industry events has been vocal in defending his strategy and demonstrating the benefits.

"I think of Mike as a thought leader in the face of being disruptively innovative," said Salesforce.com travel buyer Ralph Colunga, another notable player on Concur's Open Booking committee. "Mike tends to challenge the conventional wisdom of certain methodologies in the travel industry, and that's a good thing."

Tangney continues to work on improving Google's program. At a Global Business Travel Association event in September, he said he's looking to better automate data collection for travelers. The program now requires travelers to enter into an in-house system about nine fields of data. "If there's anything Googlers hate, it's having to go and enter different information on multiple pages and in different ways," he said. "It's not as deep as I'd like."

During the next year, Tangney said he expects to find partners with technical solutions to take the user out of the data-gathering equation.

That ongoing work also will affect the industry at large, said Salesforce.com senior manager of global travel and tech solutions Dorian Stonie. "The Open Booking alliance is about how to connect systems so they talk with each other," he said. "Google, as well as Salesforce and other companies, are going to be critical in how fast we see a lot of these changes."

— Michael B. Baker 

 

Bill Tech 

President and CEO 

Travel and Transport 

When Omaha-based Travel and Transport in October announced it paid cash for New York's Ultramar Travel Management, it ended the relative lull in large travel agency consolidation and created implications for two of the global associations that national agencies use for multinational service and support.

Travel and Transport president and CEO Bill Tech said that for his company, the deal fills a gap in New York City that for years has disadvantaged the firm.

It also makes the company relatively more relevant to airlines, the biggest of which are competing heavily in the nation's largest city.

"We have more buying power and are a bigger force for airline agreements," Tech told The Beat in October. "The airlines are getting to a point where they're not able to treat each travel management company the same—before, they might have had deals with 100 agencies; now they might have 20 or get to 10. We're making sure we get our seat at that table."

One unresolved question is in which global agency network the combined company would remain—if it remains at all. Executives said it would not stay in both Travel and Transport's Radius and Ultramar's GlobalStar, and Tech even hinted at the possibility of creating a whole new network.

"We're not threatening that, but we have to look at all options," Tech said in October.

Reinforcing Travel and Transport's position among the very largest U.S. travel agencies, Ultramar will operate as a subsidiary and retain its branding and management. Ultramar employees after one year would become employee-owners by participating in Travel and Transport's Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

— Jay Campbell 

 

Todd Tyler 

President and CEO 

Lanyon 

Lanyon in 2012 received an unconditional patent on its process for auditing hotel rates and availability, providing legal protection around a service that is becoming de rigueur in corporate travel management, particular among the mega travel agencies.

While many technology giants like Google and Apple accumulate patents as both defensive and offensive measures in the competitive, litigious technology realm, Lanyon's patent was not pursued with an eye for lawsuits. Rather, it is protection for an intricate process developed for ensuring buyers get the rates they negotiated.

"It's not a simple screen-scraping technology," Lanyon president and CEO Todd Tyler said. "We are going out to central reservations systems, which allows us to extract a wealth of information, so we decided to protect the innovation."

Securing the patent was good business practice, to be sure, but it also cemented Lanyon's ownership of technology now used by many corporate travel management companies, including some of the biggest. Some Lanyon TMC clients had previously developed their own technology for rate auditing, according to Tyler.

"Most [TMCs] are our clients," Tyler said. "A few had their own proprietary technology but moved to us, and not only on the rate-auditing side."

The patent was Lanyon's first, and Tyler said "others will follow."

Lanyon is poised for further growth this year following its acquisition this month by Vista Equity Partners.

"Given the broad horizon and multiple product offerings, we should be able to grow our product sets and bolster benefits," he continued. "We've transformed Lanyon from a small [request-for-proposal] provider to this kind of machine now, so it's a unique model."

— Michael B. Baker 

 

Michael Whitesage 

Founder 

The Prism Group 

Prism Group founder Michael Whitesage called it the "entrepreneur's dilemma."

"You develop a company," he said, "you develop an asset that has value and you build it, and at some point you have to convey it to someone else. One, because we don't live forever, but two, you have to build a larger proposition."

After years of talks with a variety of potential suitors to pursue that larger proposition, the "someone else" turned out to be Sabre, which scooped up Prism for an undisclosed sum in an acquisition announced in August. Sabre retained Whitesage and all the rest of Prism's roughly 75 employees.

As the industry-standard tool that airlines use to manage marketshare agreements with corporate clients, Prism's sale to Sabre certainly aroused fears—from travel buyers that their data protections were in peril and from airlines that Prism was just a lever that Sabre could pull to shoehorn them into content deals. American Airlines, in fact, announced plans to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the deal, but dropped that plan in November.

Buyers' and airlines' concerns are unfounded, Whitesage insisted. Thus far, the "mantra has been business as usual," he said. "They really have allowed us to operate independently." Prism under Sabre won't require companies to grant access to more corporate data, he said. As for airlines, Prism is operated separately from the unit that oversees Sabre's global distribution business.

"I can't run this forever and also I need to pass it off to a group that will allow it to grow," said Whitesage. "That was the motivation behind this sale."

With its global distribution system and full array of airline IT products, Sabre has more than seven times as many airline clients as Prism—a huge installed base and clear target market for Whitesage's company. Sabre also provides scale.

"As a company like Prism goes abroad, the administrative burden really increases on us with taxes and time zones, etc.," Whitesage told The Beat last year. "So having a parent company that has all that behind them will be an advantage as we seek additional customers."

And that's just on the Airline Solutions side, where Prism now resides. Prism also has a data product, Avion, targeted at large corporate buyers that could fit into the Sabre Travel Network business, Whitesage said. Furthermore, while Prism is the de facto tool for airline contracting, Whitesage said he also sees the potential to extend its technology and approach to the rental car and hotel segments, given that Sabre also acquired Whitesage's patent for marketshare-based contracting methods within the travel industry.

Whitesage explained that he retains the patent for the process outside the travel industry, which he said he'll explore during his "life after Sabre." In the meantime, Whitesage will continue to transition his company and colleagues into Sabre's hands, with his own departure still in the future.

— Jay Boehmer 

 

Gordon Wilson 

President and CEO 

Travelport 

Travelport president and CEO Gordon Wilson wouldn't describe it as urgent, but he thinks the revenue models of what remains the most important technology business in the travel industry need changing. This is not to say that other global distribution system firms disagree, because they do not, but Travelport more than its rivals in 2012 made a wholesale effort to shift GDS economics even without being forced to do so—and met some success.

The company's Agility program, while pretty much derided and discarded in the United States, took hold around the world and now has many of Travelport's travel agency subscribers kicking in a greater share to cover the cost of distribution. Meanwhile, some of the programs in which Travelport is investing to help cushion the blow are getting traction, particularly its new desktop tools and the Rooms and More initiative that provides vastly more hotel content than the Apollo, Galileo and Worldspan systems of old.

Wilson is anything but a traditionalist when it comes to the business travel industry's economics.

"My personal view is that we're reaching a point whereby the incessant upward march of incentive payments has to come to an end," Wilson said in an interview last month regarding the payments that GDS firms make to travel agencies, which paradoxically make agencies essentially sellers of transactions to GDSs. "The more sanguine players in the industry recognize that."

That said, Wilson cited Agility and Travelport's Agencia program with Air Canada as examples of ways the company is subtly attempting to change the industry—without "blowing it up" in the way that, perhaps, a certain airline's Direct Connect program might have.

— Jay Campbell 

 

Andrew Winterton 

Former President For Suppliers, Products And Technology 

Carlson Wagonlit Travel 

Before he up and left a rather senior position at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Andrew Winterton engineered a bold, mobile move for the largest travel management company—buying WorldMate.

With its rivals' apps dusty, bare-boned or nonexistent, Carlson Wagonlit acquired one of the top-selling travel itinerary apps and related technologies. Like mobile tech itself, WorldMate is not just about apps. But for now, downloadable apps remain more popular than mobile-enabled websites and the hybrids of the two. HTML5 promises to narrow the features gap between native apps and mobile sites, but this technical specification remains incomplete.

Carlson Wagonlit previously had offered an app built with Rearden Commerce technology, and Winterton said the company would migrate users to the WorldMate apps while retaining some services from Rearden.

Like another big mobile itinerary app provider, Concur's TripIt, WorldMate as a touchpoint with travelers offers Carlson Wagonlit clients additional benefits for data capture and servicing. In a November interview just before news of his resignation, Winterton said Carlson Wagonlit would "obviously" integrate into its core service WorldMate's ability to capture bookings made in other channels via email forwarding or more direct integration. In this way, WorldMate appears to be Carlson Wagonlit's answer to managed travel program leakage issues that new initiatives like Concur's Open Booking and GDSX's TripLink aim to solve. Carlson Wagonlit has been on a mission to reduce leakage, especially in lodging, since long before mobile travel management took off.

Serving as Carlson Wagonlit's president for suppliers, products and technology since he left American Express in 2009, Winterton planned to "pursue other opportunities," according to a Carlson Wagonlit spokesperson. He could not be reached for an update on his plans.

Carlson Wagonlit since has installed dedicated leaders in its marketing and supplier management areas and consolidated IT and product delivery teams under new CIO Kevin O'Connor.

— Jay Campbell 

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