Interview: David Oliver, Red Bull

We interview David Oliver, procurement manager at Red Bull, about individualisation and why it’s the business travel buzzword for 2018 ahead of this year’s Business Travel Show

How long have you been working in corporate travel? 
More than 15 years now.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in that time? 
The move to online booking platforms and increasing traveller awareness, knowledge and personal preferences, plus the blending of business and leisure travel.

What tips would you give to any new entrants (suppliers/buyers) into the industry? 
Take time to understand what is really important for travellers and your own organisation’s objectives. Then try to marry these into a working strategy.

What’s the biggest challenge the industry is currently facing and why? 
We’re facing challenges to why we still need a TMC and how to demonstrate their value, plus the rise of options like Airbnb.

What’s the most exciting opportunity and why? 
Individualisation, so that the traveller feels the organisation has their end-to-end journey covered as well as if they booked it themselves.

How are things going to look for travellers and travel managers/suppliers in two years’ time?
Hopefully even simpler, quicker and clearer to reduce questions and uncertainty by bookers and travellers.

What is your top tip for surviving/making the most out of Business Travel Show?
Know what you are interested in and work on a visit plan for the greater percentage of your time there, but allow some time for wildcard areas/suppliers that you are curious about.

What are you hoping to see on the conference programme this year and why? 
I’m always looking for any innovation and genuinely ground-breaking changes, not just re-badging of existing systems and ideas.

What drives you mad about corporate travel? What would you put in Room 101? 
Suppliers who don’t seem to be bothered in taking the time to understand your business before wasting time explaining things that would not fit culturally – or work operationally – in a million years.

What’s your funniest Business Travel Show story/rumour/experience? 
I’ve not had one yet. Maybe I will this year, though.

Hear David speak at the Business Travel Show on Wednesday, 21 February, 1000-1100, about The NDC revolution begins – triumph or disaster for your travel programme?

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