What does scuba diving, teaching and your sales career have in common?
At first, they’re not really linked, a priori. That’s what I used to think until I experienced the journey myself. Becoming a teacher, and a scuba diving one at that, had a profound impact on my sales career that I hadn’t realised until many years later.
Lets start, Scuba Diving:
Scuba diving is a very safe sport. Chances of mortality are 1 death in 34,000 divers. To put this in perspective, driving has a 1 in 6700 chance and canoeing a 1 in 10,000. There is a caveat, its safe as long as you practice common sense and follow the rules. The rules are simple: never hold your breath, stay within the limits you are comfortable with, take your time, and never shoot to the surface. Sounds simple right?
Scuba diving brings you into a whole new world. No longer the top of the food chain, humans are out of their element in the water. Using articifical means to remain alive, in neutral buoyancy, lacking the ability to speak, walk…. all this makes for a challenging environment that you have to learn to adapt to survive. But this strange and silent new world also has all the thrills of discovery and adventure one could hope for!
Being an avid diver myself, I have enjoyed Jacque Cousteau’s “world of silence” since the young age 10, with my first dives in beautiful turquoise waters of Cancun, Mexico. About 6 years ago I decided to challenge myself and do the final step: become an awe inspiring instructor. The pinnacle of diving leadership!
With the advent of the computer, we replaced the type-writer; with the advent of the mobile phone, fixed phones are becoming a rarity. Each technological solution addressed a particular pain-point or need, allowed for the development of new services and revenues, and required an up-skilling of the labor force.
So what about Travel Arrangers and Business Travel Management?
Business Travel Management
There is much literature and research conducted on this subject, seen that it is one of the highest controllable costs that a corporation will bear (see previous article). One memorable one was conducted on 600 corporations in Western Europe, detailing the % of these and the types of services they sought from their Business Travel Agency or Travel Management Companies (TMC). Ranging from Policy Definition, Supplier Selection Assistance, Expense Reporting, Repatriation, etc… the one that hits you smacks you in the face was “Online Booking Tool”, with an clear 20-30 point win ahead of all others. Totaling a whooping 56% of all corporations in 2013 having purchased one, this one also saw the largest increase in 1 year – another 10 points, totaling 66% of all corporations in 2014. This number is expected to have another clear rise for 2015 (although now tangled with an Expense Management System or EMS, is the burgeoning trend).
Advantages for Travel Arrangers & Managers
Naturally for Travel Arrangers or Managers savings is great, but the $$$ don’t necessarily get into their personal pockets. And although Travel Arrangers or Managers might not be the ultimate decision makers, they certainly have a heck of influential weight when it comes to deciding on solutions that will waltz through their front door. So what’s in it for them?
More research on 1000 interviewed travel managers, asked why did they chose an Online or Self Booking Tool (OBT or SBT). Reasons such as Single Window, Multiple Searches, Automated Reporting, Integrated Approval Flow, and about 5 other reasons were cited. In essence, all the reasons could be categorised into 2 parts: Automation & Simplicity.