TORONTO — “Have you seen our app?” was a question you heard a lot while walking on the trade show floor of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) conference in Toronto earlier this week. The corporate travel arms of Flight Centre, Vision, Merit and CWT all vied for the attention of travel managers from some of the biggest companies in Canada, with one common theme tying them together: custom apps for corporate clients.
FCM Travel Solutions, Flight Centre’s business division, for example, was promoting an app that features Sam the chat-bot, who will ask you questions like “Would you like us to book you a taxi or Uber from the airport” and provide reminders about your itinerary. The app is linked to the client’s agent, giving the option to call directly. It also gives helpful tips like emergency phone numbers and weather updates when arriving at a new country.
The ‘Travel-Ready with MeritBiz’ app promises to simplify business travel with features such as full itinerary management with check-in, city guides, offline maps, weather, world news, a translator, currency conversion, airport wait times, visa advice, alerts and expense reporting capabilities.
Direct2U is Vision Travel’s app offering airport guides, weather forecasts, currency converter, calendar sync and traffic updates. Its biggest feature is a promise to connect the agent to client with push notifications, flight status, itinerary, and communication from the agent when flight confirmation changes.
The Toronto conference was hailed as GBTA’s second largest in North America, and featured keynotes from former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Canadian astronaut Julie Payeete. It also featured one-on-one interviews with AccorHotels’ COO Kevin Frid, Vice-Chairman of FocusPoint International Peter Martin, and Executive Director and COO of GBTA Michael W. McCormick.
Throughout the conference, the GBTA also filmed one-on-one interviews for its YouTube channel. You can view the interviews here:
For more information on the GBTA, go to gbta.org.