Many of the discussions taking place on stage today at the ACTE Paris Global Summit and Corporate Lodging Forum have been focused on data and how travel managers can use it to improve their programmes.

During the opening plenary session at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel and Conference Centre, a trio of buyers talked about the headlines that have impacted them the most in recent months. All three brought up issues of data, from the news that American Airlines had joined SAP Concur’s Triplink and the challenge posed by integrating the content with managed programmes to capture data, to the implications of ride-hailing services on duty of care, to how a supplier’s data breach might affect travel managers.

Later in the day, the HRS Corporate Lodging Forum presented a session on ‘The power of data’ featuring Axelle Lemaire, partner at consulting firm Roland Berger and former French minister in charge of innovation and digital affairs.

Lemaire discussed the use of data in an ecosystem ruled by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). She said that rather than posing a threat to marketing tactics, GDPR actually presents an opportunity for suppliers to tailor their services to individual customers so long as consent has been given.

She was then joined on stage by HRS CEO Tobias Ragge, who said that data has become the ‘fifth dimension’ of goods and services. He also commented that the corporate travel industry has a tendency to focus on outdated systems and that travel managers have a duty to demand transparency from their suppliers.

When asked if data is ‘the new oil’, Ragge pointed out that in some ways it already is, with many of the top companies on the stock exchange building their business model around data.

On the contrary, Lemaire commented that oil becomes more expensive the scarcer it gets and said the opposite is true of data. Instead, she put forward the idea that data is more like the new light or air – the more available it is and the smarter companies get about using it, the more everyone benefits.

Check back here on Wednesday for a round-up of Tuesday’s discussions. BBT will report on the ACTE Paris Global Summit and Corporate Lodging Forum in full in the November/December 2018 issue

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