Travel Buyer Q&A: Earle Thomas, Buro Happold

Ahead of next month’s Business Travel Show, we took 60 seconds to catch up with Earle Thomas, associate director – procurement manager, at Buro Happold, who sits on the show’s advisory board

What’s keeping you awake at night?
Traveller tracking system accuracy and reliability.

Because the Duty of Care for our staff is my top priority.

What is the most important thing you do to look after your travellers’ wellbeing?
The implementation of our traveller tracking system through our TMC. We also provide a great deal of support and ‘local knowledge’ via various media and networking.

Is it possible to have an ethical travel programme?
I believe so, but it requires mandates from the top (with consequence) and full engagement across the business to make it work.

And what would it look like?
Well, it would need to have simple high-level drivers that users can easily see themselves supporting with their actions.

How ‘ethically conscious’ is your travel programme?
It tries to be, but we lack mandate with consequence. We also rely on market actions too – from the airlines, for example.

Should air miles be banned for encouraging unnecessary travel?
No. Corporate air miles are a benefit to the company. Justification for a trip should be robust enough to manage unnecessary trip requests, but we could use them to carbon offset.

How has Brexit impacted your travel programme?
It’s actually had very little impact, as EU travel is only a small part of our programme.

What’s the best thing about travelling on business?
Being able to work with fewer distractions.

And what’s the worst?
Definitely time away from my family.

Why do you attend the Business Travel Show?
To keep up to date with market developments and keep my network current.

See who else is on the advisory board at The Business Travel Show runs 26-27 February at Olympia London. Register now for your free visitor pass at

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