60 seconds with Helder Mendes 

It seems to have been around forever and yet many buyers are still none the wiser about what NDC will mean for their programmes. Name one thing you think it will change for the better? 

I’m still quite concerned about NDC. It’s still too early in its lifespan to produce any visible results. However, if airlines are able to manipulate through NDC as they claim, corporate buyers may be able to purchase precisely what they need rather than purchasing what airlines have been pushing corporate accounts to purchase. Meaning, if my company needs air tickets at a decent rate, including pre-assigned seat, one piece of hold luggage, one carry on plus one personal item, fast track and semi flexible tickets, we may get precisely that instead of having to buy full flex or premium fares. But we are yet to see if this is what’s going to happen.

When it comes to business travel, what keeps you awake at night? 

The safety of my travellers. Have we been doing enough to ensure the safety of all our travellers? Although we haven’t had any incidents since I joined the company almost 18 years ago, you never know what lies hidden behind the next corner.

What innovation will make the biggest impact on travel management in the next 12 months? 

Definitely the challenge of moving, adjusting and training staff to use NDC.

How will business travel look in 2022? 

Hopefully, easier for the traveller to get airside by using more biometrics and less paper and mobile check-ins.

How will managing business travel look in 2022? 

More and more challenging.

How will the business traveller look in 2022? 

Busy people that want to move from point A to point B and who want to have everything taken care of for them. They don’t want to worry about details themselves, so someone or something will have to do it for the traveller. A person that does not want to waste hours at the airport or trying to get his luggage off the conveyor belt. A person that does not want to go through reception to collect room keys, or waste time getting the correct invoice for his stay.

How will we, as an industry, best survive the next three years? 

We need to take care of our travellers even better that we have done up to now. There is a need to collect as much information possible about travellers and process it on a way to anticipate the traveller needs and wishes even before having to ask them.

What will buyers learn from your session?

That there is still a lot to do and a lot to learn; if someone believes that they have done enough to sit, rest, and watch their results coming in seamlessly, they’re so wrong.

What drives you mad about corporate travel?

People trying to sell me things I’m not genuinely interested about, are useless for my business, and who haven’t taken 5 minutes to understand what my company’s needs.

Also, the lack of standards on most aspects of travel. Lack of standards on airlines concerning fare distribution, ticket issuing, reissuing, exchanges. IATA used to regulate those aspects and is widely used by airlines as penalty excuse to perpetrators not doing things the way airlines want, is not able to standardise airline ticket processing for all their associates and make them comply.

Lack of standards on hotel classifications, the growth of major hotel chains that should bring consistency (but this doesn’t happen all the time), lack of a global ground transportation booking system

What would you put in Room 101?

A big loudspeaker. 

 

Helder Mendes is travel supplier relations supervisor at NetJets Europe. He is taking part in a panel session on 20 February at 14:30 - 15:30: NDC – Will travel buyers win or lose? To book your free ticket to Business Travel Show, please click here.

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