RIGHT CHOICE

Mexico 2019 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

As one of the top two global corporate travel management companies, BCD Travel ensures its clients choose the optimal option for their companies and themselves.

Beat Wille
BIOGRAPHY
Beat Wille has more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry. He has been Country General Manager of BCD Travel Mexico for over six years. He was previously BCD Travel’s Vice President of Sales and Director of Operations, among other roles. Before working at BCD Travel, he spent five years at the Kuoni Travel Group.

What have you identified as the main trends in business travel?

The industry has been growing steadily, and this is attracting new players while increasing a trend of consolidation. This means that while there are fewer travel agencies, they are expanding. We make forecasts each year, studying the trends on airfares and hotels. A lot is linked to existing market demand, whether there will be an increase in flights, and what routes will be available. The same is true for hotels. In Mexico, an increasing number of hotels are being built. Therefore, we foresee that rates will go down. We predict that airfares in Latin America will drop by 2%. The statistics show there is more on offer and a growth in new routes. This creates more seat offerings, which push down average ticket prices all the more.

How much of the market does BCD Travel cover?

We are one of the top two global players; there was a recent merger that took the third player out of the market. We have a number of global customers in addition to several strong local Mexican companies that we have been servicing for years. Our customers fly everywhere, but our single-most popular destination from Mexico is São Paolo, Brazil. We organize all our clients' business trips and have global agreements with the clients we serve in over 100 countries. Some agreements are only for Mexico or Latin America. We help the companies to organize and administrate their travel program. Having a better-administered travel program generates healthy savings, especially for larger companies.

What are your sales expectations for 2019?

Over the last few years in Mexico, we have continuously registered growth rates higher than 10%; Mexico remains a growing marketplace for us. However, we don't foresee our growth in 2019 reaching double digits. We are cautious of the new government, as well as the new agreement with the US. We still need to see how this will come into place. Many of our customers are in the manufacturing business and automotive industry. Therefore, we need to wait and see if their travel patterns will change. Normally the impact is two to four months before an economic event happens. Good news is that, as of yet, we have not seen the big companies cutting back on their travel expenses. Corporate travel is the first cut in trying economic times, though our biggest growth years also coincided with years of high financial pressure. Once people experience our service, they stay. Remarkably, our retention rate was above 98% in 2018. Globally, our target is 95%, which is high compared to our competition.

Why do you think emerging technologies will disrupt tourism?

Everything will end up on the mobile and become available through an application. As a total trip management platform, TripSource is our answer to our customers' needs. We have invested heavily in it; it focuses on itinerary management, flight alerts, alternate flight lookup, gate changes, hotel booking, and imports outside bookings. We are now globally in the rollout of air bookings, custom policy messages, emergency response, global risk alerts, and branding. An example of transformation of the digital travel experience are policy specific notifications. The platform delivers notifications right when travelers need them, providing financial and emotional value about their travel program. Another aspect is big data and finding savings opportunities and how to administer them better. We make suggestions and reports to show how a client can travel smart and run analytics and predictions on how to save money. DecisionSource platform helps our clients run a smarter program; it gets support from stakeholders and plays a bigger part in a company's success.