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The three-key combination infamous for bailing stressed users out of the most annoying computer glitches. It's inventor, former IBM engineer David Bradley came up with the combination to hasten the reboot of computers, without powering them down.

No-one presses these 3 keys lightly. It's a last resort when technology is controlling the outcome - not you. COVID-19 is now controlling the outcome of the future of business travel. This is one of those moments where the time has come to press:


This pandemic is forcing incumbents and digital disruptors to re-evaluate. Business, as it was, must adapt or perish in the new economy. In the business travel sector, the pandemic has leapfrogged clients into a more digitised world. Changes to how they conduct business and how they run their travel programs will be profound, but TMCs have a pivotal role to play in the new normal.

Executives and Management should already be anticipating new normal, not "back to normal" Andy Slough, CTO, Travilearn

Business travel has been taken hostage by COVID-19. It's impact is unprecedented. No-one is immune, no-one can hide from it. It's a dark cloud hanging over our industry, the global economy and the entire world.

"Every cloud has a silver lining" - the infamous cliche spouted by mothers and grandmothers over the years, but something we clung to nevertheless.

Covid-19 is the cloud that may have that silver lining. It might have given us the most extraordinary opportunity, to turn the virus into a catalyst for the long overdue structural and values-based changes needed by the entire business travel community.

Without transactions the TMC does not have a viable business so, for the moment, the existing business model has become obsolete.The crisis has forced everyone to reassess the way they live, travel, work, exercise, eat, clean, cook, consume and buy. Many are analysing their carbon footprint, particularly business travellers.

Questions about sustainability have now become more immediate. As an industry we cannot view this as a threat, with the same incremental responses we did before the pandemic. It's time to confront this and, other imminent threats knocking at the door. A new window of opportunity has opened for the TMC.

Is collaboration and empathy their salvation? 

Because empathy is a uniquely human skill, it will likely become all the more valuable in an increasingly automated world. This will create new opportunities for monetisation, resulting in the creation of an “empathy economy” where services that augment and build human empathy can be bought and sold.

Businesses can be good or bad at empathy, but those that have built an empathetic culture see real economic benefits.

“The top 10 companies in the Global Empathy Index increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10, and generated 50% more earnings” Belinda Parmar, founder of The Empathy Business.

Technology already played a critical role in the way travel companies interacted with their customers before the pandemic. However, circumstances have changed for the business traveller, who will now have to navigate their way through a maze of information and mis-information.

Clients and their travellers will need support, empathy and understanding to stimulate trust and subsequently demand. Travel policies and programs need to be rebooted and updated. Legal and moral obligations, duty of care and risk management need to be scrutinised and modified. Costs need to be controlled, trends forecasted - the list is endless.

The key differentiator for TMCs is an unprecedented knowledge and experience of the eco-system, supply chain, legislations, legal requirements, technology, automation and, disaster recovery.

Combine this with human intellect, emotional intelligence and empathy and you have a new business model which monetises those services.

It's time to get inside the hearts of your customers. What are their biggest challenges? What do they think they want? What do they really need? How are they feeling?

Connect with feelings instead of thoughts and you reach the place where decisions are made.


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