It’s going to be a banner year for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. The Alexandria, Va.–based global group will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013 with the enthusiasm of a new executive at the helm. Greeley Koch, a 20-year veteran of the corporate travel industry who most recently served as director of strategy development at Acquis Consulting Group, started as executive director on December 1.
ACTE offers two major conferences annually—one in North America in the spring and one in Europe in the fall—as well as three regional conferences in Asia, Australasia, and Canada, and over 50 smaller events in each of its seven regions (Asia, Australasia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Middle East/Africa, and the U.S.). This year’s Global Education Conference will be in New York City, April 21–23.
Corporate Meetings & Incentives: How does ACTE approach such a global constituency?
Koch:ACTE is focused on being the primary source of education, networking, and advocacy for the global corporate travel industry. Global in every sense of the word, our international board recommends an integrated approach to national culture, corporate culture, and common objectives in proposing uniform corporate travel standards. We do not export one country’s interpretation of travel management policies and systems as the best practice for the industry worldwide. Rather, ACTE relies on the experience and expertise of its members, leaders, and staff within each region and nation to develop the most relevant and applicable programs and events.
CMI:How do meeting professionals fit into ACTE membership?
Koch:While we don’t capture the travel/meetings breakdown among our members, I’ve seen statistics that roughly 40 percent of corporate buyers are also responsible for managing meetings spend. For ACTE, I would estimate that figure to be at least 60 percent, based on our member profiles. They typically manage larger, mature, global programs.
There are similarities in the fundamentals between corporate travel and meetings spend in the eyes of corporate travel professionals, corporate procurement officials, and travel suppliers. We see our members negotiating with air, hotel, and ground transportation suppliers on the combined spend in order to leverage both the hard savings, such as cost reductions, and soft benefits, such as better experiences for the travelers and meeting attendees.
CMI:What are the top concerns of ACTE members looking ahead to 2013?
Koch:Based on what we’ve heard at our events worldwide and on a 2012 survey of ACTE’s U.S. Council members, the top travel industry issues for ACTE members are compliance management and policy changes,negotiations, data consolidation and analytics, current economic conditions, and traveler tracking.