CAPA 2019: experts discuss the future of corporate travel in the Millennial economy

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

At CAPA 2019, an expert panel discussed the future of corporate travel in “the Millennial era of Airbnb and Uber Eats”.

During a four-pronged discussion between big names from, Hyatt, Blackmores and BP, Simone Gibbs (indirect category manager Blackmores) asked the following question:

“What’s our incentive to book through the traditional route to go to a hotel?”

It came after a discussion about the future of corporate travel in the millennial economy, where corporate rentals are favoured to hotel stays and room service has been usurped by online food delivery companies.

The panellists agreed that hotels need to embrace non-traditional frameworks to survive.

The panel took place during the first day of CAPA 2019 Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit, which opened on Wednesday morning with an address by CAPA chairman Peter Harbison and an update from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Matthew Talbot, director of sales and marketing, Hyatt Regency added there are some destinations where a fully dynamic model “makes sense” for negotiations with corporate organisations and travel management companies (TMCs).

In others, like Sydney, he said a “static model still has its place” in allowing corporates to engage and know a ceiling rate and last room availability (LRA).

“The world is moving … into a dynamic place,” Talbot said. “I think that eventually our hotel and hotels around the world will be fully dynamic with every channel that they have.”

These include engagements with online travel agencies (OTAs), corporate organisations or TMCs.

One of the challenges the panel identified for the future will be to engage customers that favour ‘no frills’ packages – a demographic that Millennials particularly go for, according to the panel – and keeping track of corporate travel habits.

Talbot went so far as to say that as many as 95 per cent of Hyatt Regency’s corporates negotiate on a room-only, lowest-rate basis.

Early in the panel discussion, Gibbs spoke of the need to move away from the traditional ‘request for proposal’ (RFP) and a need for further online solutions, like online inventories and travel habit data sharing.

“I think we need to look at more dynamic, online solutions than the traditional RFP,” she said.

Karina Harris, regional head for indirect procurement across the Asia Pacific at BP, echoed this point but said that there was a place for preferred suppliers in key markets and base rates, to suit the changing dynamics of corporate travellers.

BP has three static connections for fixed rates in Australia, according to Harris.

“What [BP is] finding is that the dynamic of our travellers is changing,” she said.

Harris went on to say that maturing younger generations were playing a large part in changing this dynamic.

“Traditionally we would have gone out for Wi-Fi, breakfast, etcetera, but now we’ve found as Gen Y and millennials grow out and enter our workforce … they don’t want to stay in their hotels … they want to drop their bags and enter the city that they’re in.”

Gibbs later posed the question of how Hyatt Regency and were ensuring sustainable and ethical practices.

Stewart Jones, regional director of strategic partnerships for APAC at, responded by directing Gibbs to the OTA’s corporate social responsibility program, ‘ Cares’.

Talbot told audience members about Hyatt Regency’s partnership with the City of Sydney for the Sustainable Destination Partnership, a program that includes more than 30 accommodation and entertainment companies.

As a part of the Sustainable Destination Partnership, the NSW Government said members have agreed to work together to source energy from renewables, divert waste from landfill and reduce potable water.

According to NSW Tourism Accommodation – the NSW Government’s peak industry body – the program identifies ways businesses can go greener through environmental ratings, increased use of renewable energy, reduced water use and improved waste management and recycling.

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