Travel Buyer Q&A: Cristina Chimenti, Sky

Cristina Chimenti is Global Travel Manager at Sky, and has been at the company for eight years, having picked up travel procurement more than two years ago.

Chimenti covers Sky UK, Sky Italy and Sky Germany, with a combined yearly spend of US$50 million across the three territories, including Sky News and Sky Sport-specific programmes, and manages a travel population of 28,000 people. She is responsible for negotiations with hotels, airlines, rail and taxi, and serves as the main contact with Sky’s TMC.

Working on improving digitalisation within Sky, she has increased the online booking usage by 10 per cent in the last 12 months and is now working on implementing additional innovations to drive compliance and savings in the travel category.

We caught up with Chimenti ahead of this month’s Business Travel Show to find out why she finds the event to be a good return on her time investment.

What is the most important thing you do to look after your travellers’ wellbeing?
We offer flexibility and choices to travellers. We recognise not everybody has the same preferences and we built our programme with the choice to pick what people value most! For some people that might be location, for others the opportunity to squeeze in an extra gym session.

Is it possible to have an ethical travel programme?
Yes!

What would it look like?
Sky is working more and more on this since the recent announcement of achieving Net Zero emissions 20 years before the target (2030 instead than 2050). We are already on our way by including a preference for sustainable choices for both hotels and ground transport.

How ‘ethically conscious’ is your travel programme?
We are already on the way by identifying which of our suppliers have a sustainable programme or certifications and it will only improve from here.

Should air miles be banned for encouraging unnecessary travel?
This idea was floated but I believe it would impact on traveller wellbeing for which we are big advocates. Personally, I think it’s better to make people aware of the impact their choices have as that will have a bigger weight than banning air miles!

Has Brexit impacted your travel programme and if so how?
No impact at all aside from possible longer queues at immigration for our travellers.

What’s the best thing about travelling on business?
Trying something new and discovering new places that you might not necessarily pick for your holidays.

And what’s the worst?
No down time as people still expect you to answer your emails!

Why do you attend the Business Travel Show?
It’s the best travel industry event I’ve ever attended, and it gives me the opportunity to meet with so many suppliers, learn new things, get inspired by new technology and catch up with peers!

Chimenti will take part in a panel discussion chaired by BBT digital editor Molly Dyson entitled “Hotels – how to solve corporate travel’s problem category” at Business Travel Show on 26 February from 2:30-3:30pm.

The Business Travel Show runs 26-27 February at Olympia London. Register now for your free visitor pass at businesstravelshow.com/register

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