Written by Caleb Parker, Chair, Technology Committee, HBAA
A walk around any major business travel or meetings industry event demonstrates the vast range and number of different technology products and suppliers there are in this market. And many more will not be exhibiting.
Each of these companies will have a range of products and capabilities and different ways of delivering them.
As a potential customer, sorting out exactly which of the many options is right for your particular needs now and in the near future – when technology changes so fast – is a daunting challenge. It can be confusing.
And then how do you make the most of what you’ve bought? Like any software when new, learning can be time-consuming even with good training by the vendor.
I believe that the answer lies in sharing, and sharing more. I’m sure that most of us have found that the internet, whether it is Google searches, forums and user groups, has proved to be a fountain of valuable advice and solutions on so many issues and decisions, particularly on technology in our daily lives. When I’m curious about how something works, or how to do something, I type my question in Google.
The principle is the same in business. Within the business travel, accommodation, meetings and events sectors there are numerous LinkedIn groups, forums, publications and social media channels where there are many solutions, hints, tips, valuable experiences, opinions and insights. But there is scope for much more… the more the better.
But how do you find and choose the right advice? Where are the expert sources of advice that you can trust?
Associations such as the HBAA are ideally placed to be focal points for this approach, in fact one of the main driving forces when the HBAA was set up 20 years ago was to share best practice. We’ve been sharing first class knowledge and experience on technology, innovation and security among agents, accommodation providers and venues at members meetings, our Annual Forum and bespoke workshops for many years; access to the collective expertise of others is one of the many benefits of being a member.
We recently partnered with ‘The Future in 15’ Show to keep HBAA members updated on the latest innovations affecting our sector. We are collaborating on a series of informative interviews with expert business leaders who are solving problems through innovation on a variety of key topics and sharing the show’s episodes on our website, social media channels and through our association newsletters.
Later in the year we anticipate rolling out a new platform to increase member collaboration,
to connect members to personalised, relevant content, and highlight the experts in our association.
But in all these ways of sharing, what is most crucial is the input of individuals, sharing their knowledge, experience and views. Without it there is nothing. Typically less than 5 per cent of people who are dissatisfied with an issue, whether it is poor service or a political issue, actually express their views outside the friends and family, so I’m sure that fewer than 5 per cent share their advice.
At HBAA, we aim to change that.
If more people in our industry share their thoughts and expertise, then complex subjects such as selecting the right advice and technology for your agency or venue can be much easier. The more people sharing, and the more we share as an association, the better it is for everyone.