News & Information
In 2022 its no longer a secret that meeting organization without reflection of travel processes and travel management without accounting the trigger mechanism has unfavorable effects for all involved persons and parties.
That is why Cytric and CONVIEN joined forces to deliver interoperability between their platforms in order to enable companies to take advantage from an end-to-end process between the CONVIEN Meeting Place Finder and the Amadeus Cytric Online Booking Engine.
The effect is very far-reaching and valuable while the implementation in the company is very easy - the Meeting Place Finder can be made available company-wide (or for specific user groups) in MS Outlook with just a few clicks and provide the meeting organizer with valuable savings potential, taking into account the travel processes of the participants. After sending the invitation, the participants are taken directly to the Cytric Online Booking Engine for planning and booking their trips - single sign-on mechanisms ensure that the user can switch between the applications throughout the entire process without password overhead.
The system recognizes and differentiates between internal and external participants, so that it can be used not only for purely internal meetings. In addition to the individual advantages and savings potential of both platforms, the joint process - in addition to convenience for meeting participants - brings many other advantages, which makes the whole thing something greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Let's look at an example - according to statistics, companies lose 10-20% in savings due to maverick buyers, i.e. travelers who book their trips outside of the guidelines without considering the purchasing strategy. All efforts to gain advantages through strategic purchasing or to avoid savings in climate-damaging emissions through measurements in the set platforms are then useless. These problems can be drastically reduced through targeted guidance of employees to the set booking platforms by being picked up when the need for a trip arises.
Find out more about the cooperation between Cytric and CONVIEN in the Amadeus Partner Center in the adjacent link.
Promoting sustainability in companies is closely linked to increasing efficiency. In areas where there are already good, efficient processes - such as in travel management and also in strategic meeting management - increases in productivity and reductions in climate-damaging emissions can usually only be realized extensively and yet it is necessary to achieve the set climate goals and economically to stay competitive at the same time.
The situation changes as soon as meeting and travel processes are not considered as separate, sequential processes, but as cause and effect. 75% of business trips have an M&E background, so it pays to put on an expanded lens and understand the decisions of meeting organizers as input parameters for travel processes. If one takes into account the travel and accommodation needs of the participants when selecting the place and time of an event, there is not only considerable direct savings potential in terms of climate-damaging emissions and travel costs, but also insights that can have a direct and positive influence on several special fields.
Interplay between procurement, travel & meeting management
Negotiated rates in the hotel and travel sector are often not sufficiently effective, since destinations are chosen in which there are no contract hotels/meeting venues and it is a matter of luck whether travel suppliers with contract rates will handle the journeys.
Especially in the unmanaged meeting segment, it often happens that participants are faced with problems when booking their travel to the meeting location if the destination cannot be reached according to the companys security guidelines or can only be reached with conditions. Even in the managed area, the organizer / meeting owner does not always have the latest information / guidelines available, which can also lead to the selection of a suboptimal destination.
Without projecting the travel processes, it is difficult to choose a destination that can be traveled to for all or most of the participants within the framework of the general or role-specific travel guidelines. The selection of the place and time of an event therefore also has a direct impact on the policy compliance of the attendees.
A common fallacy is to believe that attendees value a representative meeting destination more than convenient travel. In order to take both into account, it is also necessary to choose a meeting location that optimizes travel time and minimizes transfer times.
Transparent End-to-End process
Imagine a process in which the concentrated competence of your departments is taken into account and accompanies and supports the user from organizing a meeting to booking the venue, travel and hotel accommodation. According to the motto "Its better to help than to whip" you correspond to the modern working world, avoid maverick buying through guidance and enable ecologically and economically valuable decisions of your employees.
In view of the need to actively protect the climate in the form of reduced CO₂ emissions, the above benefits can be viewed as soft skills. An intelligent choice of place and time of an event enables an average reduction of climate-damaging gases by 40% and a minimization of direct travel costs by 30%.
The topic of sustainability in corporate mobility is broad, extremely important and, unfortunately, is still treated by many companies as it was at the beginning of the millennium. In particular, the CO2 emissions caused by air travel are repeatedly classified as specially harmful by climate protectors.
To avoid misunderstandings: offsetting climate-damaging emissions is an important component in achieving the sustainability goals, as it releases capital in line with the polluter in order to build up long-term climate protection and, depending on the type of compensation, offers a form of climate justice that makes it possible to take effect in regions that are under suffer from climate change, but did not significantly cause it.
In view of the global task of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, however, this instrument is hardly helpful - the time lag between the emission of climate-damaging gases and the effectiveness of the compensation measure is too long and does not take effect before the so-called irreversible tipping points that threaten us if we do not quickly find effective solutions.
Anyone who thinks that the problem has been resolved thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions and currently does not require any attention is wrong. On the contrary, it is an important time to take those measures at a standstill that are more difficult to implement during operation. Business trips will take place again - even if there is hope that the switch to online meetings will make at least part of the business travel volume obsolete in the future.
In fact, meetings, events, trade fairs - in short, all kinds of gatherings - are the main reason for business trips and should therefore be in the focus of sustainability efforts. Mobility and accommodation make up 85% of the CO2 footprint of events (Source : atmosfair) - only those who manage to optimize these areas at the planning stage can justifiably claim to organize sustainably.
For this purpose, new planning tools are required that enable the organizer to project the mobility of the participants so that travel behavior can be compared and controlled through intelligent selection of place and time in such a way that unnecessary emissions of climate-damaging gases can be avoided during travel and accommodation.
According to long-term case studies, an average of 40% of the CO2 emissions per meeting can be avoided without loss of quality for the participants - because their travel preferences and guidelines can be taken into account in the operational environment. Check the saving potential for your company here : Savings Calculator
This creates multiple benefits for companies - in addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions during travel processes, the meeting place and time can also be selected according to travel costs and travel productivity, which enables an ecological and economic balance.
In sum, the dogma for the operational post-COVID travel era applies:
Avoidance through web meetings
Reduce with intelligent tools like the Meeting Place Finder
Compensation of the remaining quantities
This joking quote from Mark Twain applies to many business processes - not least the area of business travel.
In fact, there is a crystal ball for business trips, which can make visible who is going to where, when and for what reason – you know it as Microsoft Outlook.
75% of all business trips have a meeting as the (mostly unknown) cause - so if you deal with the treasure trove of data that is slumbering unresolved in the planning tools for meetings and events, you get a glimpse on the travel processes of your employees and can optimize them at a point in time which still allows all options.
If you go one step further, this also offers the possibility of not only projecting travel behavior, but also optimizing it for the better - at the time an event is organized, there are still an almost infinite number of possibilities in terms of place and time combinations which all have very different effects on travel and accommodation costs, travel time & traveler well-being, travel security, availability of travel options and also the CO2 footprint.
All in all, this principle allows travel processes to be recorded from where they arise and allows the processes to be controlled and optimized gently without restricting collaboration.
The perfect task for a supporting, artificial intelligence, which is able to find the optimal place and time for events taking into account your procurement, your guidelines, the safety and well-being of the travelers and thus minimize the costs and the CO2 footprint.
This form of technology represents the missing link between meeting and travel management and brings together in a user-friendly way what has always been subject to the principle of cause and effect.
Get ahead of the wave and use the Meeting Place Finder to optimize your meeting and travel processes!
Dear Prof. Zeiss, First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview.
You are professor at the Harz University of Applied Sciences with a focus on sustainability and international tourism. In 2011 you founded the Institute for Sustainable Tourism and had previously been responsible for the sustainability management of a global tour operator for a long time.
What made you focus so strongly on sustainability?
During my work for a globally active travel company, I was responsible for the topic of environmental management, I became more and more familiar with it and it has grown dear to my heart. At that time, the company was also looking for someone to represent the area to the public, and I was happy to take on this role. Through the exchange with people like Mr. Brockhagen ( Atmosfair ), I then dealt more and more with carbon emissions and their avoidance.
You know the topic of sustainability from several perspectives: as a person responsible in a company and from the research perspective. How big is the gap between the potentials and the implementation in companies?
That is very difficult to answer - what would be the maximum, the worst so to say, that a company could emit in carbon dioxide? After all, climate neutrality should be the minimum. In general, there are still significant areas that need to be dealt with - for example traffic. In this area, the homework has so far only been done to a very limited extent. There are very different approaches on the way to climate neutrality. From my perspective, the positive thing is that some companies are already getting involved beyond what is legally required. My personal wish would be that society changes from a "fossil" to a "renewable" one and that the appropriate legal basis is created for this. Politicians should be bolder, because the economy has already priced in the change process and is now waiting for a legal framework.
Tourism is a broad area and includes both business mobility and leisure travel in various forms - which measures are useful in both areas and where do you have to differentiate?
Tourism is defined by the change of location - in this respect the motive of the travelers is mainly different. The same infrastructure is largely used for business and vacation trips. Business travel, for example, can easily be replaced by video conferencing - but digital media can hardly replace a vacation trip. I cannot imagine how to replace a visit to a marketplace in India by a virtual reality - this experience cannot be copied. Diving into the culture and experiencing it with all the five senses is an important part of a vacation trip. I see a big difference between flying halfway around the world for a business meeting or taking a private trip to broaden my horizons. I would also like to differentiate between a classic business meeting and, for example, a trade fair / event, where one not only travels for a single purpose, but also meet several different people in one go and accomplish several business goals at once. Thus, a trip to a major event is usually more profitable than for example traveling to an internal work meeting.
Do you see a realistic chance that we can still achieve the targets for reducing global warming under the Paris Climate Agreement? Which global, political and individual measures would be necessary for this?
The topic of climate change has gained massive momentum: ten years ago you had to search for a long time to find articles, today it is published daily. Surveys around the world show that it is important to people that something is progressing here. However, the speed is still not fast enough and that worries me: we get tangled up again and again in topics that have been discussed for too long. Ultimately, we have a climate catastrophe on our doorstep. Take coal exit, for example: that could have been achieved much cheaper and faster with certificates trading. Mobility has to change: why dont we have a speed limit on our highways yet?
Are the goals still achievable? Probably, but everything is going far too slowly.
In the field of business travel, offsetting gases that are harmful to the climate still seems to be the most popular instrument for meeting social responsibility. What other measures do you specifically advise companies to take?
Offsetting is a bridge to the future. At the end of the day, of course, you have to get rid of fossil fuels entirely. In this respect, I have nothing against the compensation, it just has to become more expensive every year and the certificate trade restricted accordingly so that the incentive to be climateneutral becomes stronger. Unfortunately, in the public debate, compensation has gotten the reputation of trading in indulgences, even though the capital released has largely been used to take very sensible measures.
Currently the world is almost standing still due to the COVID pandemic: do you have the impression that the compulsory break is being used sensibly to prepare for the achievement of the climate targets?
I believe that only a few are well prepared for what is to come because it is still so unclear what will come.We dont know when and in what form we can travel again. Presumably there are now reduced travel budgets and typically these budgets stay low for the time being. Business travelers will probably have to justify more the purpose of their travel than before. For many, business trips are also a form of appreciation for customers, partners, and service providers. It remains unclear to what extent digital meetings can establish themselves in the long term.
Bill Gates firmly believes that the postpandemic travel volume will decrease by 50% compared to before, do you agree?
I dont think it will be that much, maybe 30 % to 40 % less. Flying will become significantly more expensive. But I have also read that a number of new airlines are already in the starting blocks, as assets such as planes are currently cheap to buy. Future will tell which patch society is taking.
Dear Mr. Stiglbauer, First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview.
You have been working in the tourism field for a long time and have worked both as a consultant and in the management of various airlines and other tourism companies.
Among other things, you are currently advising startups with a special focus on sustainability - what was the trigger for you to also deal with this topic professionally?
The simple answer would be, I have 3 kids and they must have a good perspective into the future – but to be frank the truth is that over the last years with all discussions about for example the energy sector I learned and blamed myself that beside protesting against nuclear power plants my generation has done almost nothing to sustain an environment that can be handed over to the next generation giving them the same opportunities we had. Lately the “Fridays for future “movement showed me that we should have started much earlier and since we did not, everybody must start doing something about it. Now one can change private behavior but also any idea in one’s professional world must get double checked against sustainability requirements. Consulting acting players in the industry for me means I cannot only act accordingly but have the big chance to have other people to shorten their learning curve toward this topic.
Do you think that mobility and the travel industry play a special role in achieving the necessary climate goals according to the Paris Agreement?
Yes – mobility in general has a major impact starting whether we use public transport but our private car whenever possible (and empower our politicians to enforce much more sustainable solutions). The travel industry needs people to come from A to B first, so one must start there. I personally do not want to refrain from traveling in the future because there is nothing what opened my views more than learning about other cultures and people. But beside the private view we cannot neglect that we live in a global world meaning that traveling is and will stay part of our business live. So, what can we do to solve this conflict – my answer: do not question always the why but the how and I have learned over the many years of my career that there are always solutions if mankind is required to solve a problem.
The current pandemic is a major turning point for the travel sector - how do you think it will develop after COVID-19? Is everything going to be "normal" again?
Yes, but a new normal. Things need to change and will do so. For example, home office working I believe will grow and with it will people move outside big cities with much less commuting travel BUT that needs better public transport. What does that mean for office meetings, will they disappear – I do not believe that. May be there are no big offices in some companies anymore, but people meet somewhere just for a day – what an opportunity for hotels and MICE operators. See what I mean by normal but different! As I said what was most important in my live was to learn about other cultures and meet people, that can be reduced but never replaced and will be organized differently in future.
Times are difficult, especially for airlines and their suppliers - first of all, the pandemic-related loss of income and imminent changes in terms of climate protection. How can airlines deal with this double burden?
This is a hard question because I believe that airlines will suffer longer than other players in the travel industry. First step will be that they must clean up their portfolio of destinations served, not subsidizing different routes by ridiculous low fares to operate a fleet not adjusted to the needs but their expansion plans. Second, they must focus again on their customers’ needs – travelers first, for example with new business models like subscriptions comparable to Netflix. And as the car industry they must focus much, much more on alternative fuel engines – become the spear head of development and not the end.
Do you think that a distinction must / can be made between sustainability for leisure travel and business travel?
First of all, I’m convinced that the suppliers as well as travelers will have to start compensating their CO2 consumption. It must get part of the prices and new models must give options where and how to save consumption with differentiated offers. In my eyes it is within the responsibility of all parties to publish the CO2 footprint with every service used and thus increase awareness. And yes, there are no “one fits all” solutions and the answers must differ. How, I do not know an answer right away (and I am convinced nobody has a complete answer yet) but how challenging and interesting are times with complete paradigm changes. Big opportunities for new entrants and startups!
What should companies in particular pay attention to in order not to fall back into old patterns in the post-covid era?
Be proactive and open – publish what is one’s share of CO2 consumption, offer alternatives and put environment on 1st place of company priorities – after Covid the environment will and need to be Nr. 1 and not only for a time but for long! It should have been for long but we the elder ones were so busy to rebuild societies that we almost forgot about the consequences and I am happy that youth stood up and showed us again that we have responsibilities for future generations.
Dear Mr. Bayer, First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview.
You have a long professional history as global travel manager, have been chair at the Working Group Business Travel at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council for over three years and founded the TravelHorst consultancy with a focus on sustainable business travel in 2016.
What was the trigger for you in 2016/17 to deal so intensively with sustainability in business travel?
During my professional journey as a Travel Manager at multinational conglomerates, my family and I learned to value different cultures and the diversity of people. When my kids grew older and learned about “climate change and global warming” they asked me if I knew about it and what had I done against this crisis so far. At that moment, I felt guilty because YES, I had heard about it, and NO, I hadn’t done anything against it, on the other hand I had contributed a lot to it. As a consequence, I started to research more about it. The more I read about Climate Change, the more I felt the urge and need to do something against it. Therefore I founded TravelHorst and since then I am on my “path of redress”.
How does your work as a business consultant in the context of TravelHorst look like? What services do you provide to companies? What sets you apart from other consultants in the field of mobility?
Together with network partners, TravelHorst advises and supports companies in the development of sustainable travel management practices. We also support our customers in the negotiations with selected internal and external partners and organizations to implement the actions.
We define the scope and line of actions together with the travel management team. We analyze their business travel program in terms of sustainability and create alternative proposals, set priorities, targets and success criteria.
The focus is on a sustainability business travel report based on the 17 sustainable development goals SDGs of the United Nations and then transparently reviewing our customers’ travel activities. Based on this report, the potential for change is identified and options for action are developed for the entire company, from leadership, employees, and shareholders, up to suppliers. This will enable our customers to have future travel activities that are economically, ecologically and socially compatible and sensible.
In addition, to facilitate the implementation of the goals and to promote awareness, we offer online training and workshops for employees together with our network partners and conduct surveys on request.
The topic of sustainability is very broad and complex - which areas are very important to you personally?
Sustainability is the concept of a permanently sustainable development of the economic, ecological, and social dimension of human existence. These three areas of sustainability are also called the three Ps - People (social), Planet (ecology), and Profit (economy). They interact with each other and require a balanced coordination in the long-term. Sustainability in a Travel Programme means understanding that increased savings is not the only requirement, it only functions with the wellbeing of the travellers and the mitigation of a negative impact to the environment.
My biggest concern is that we are running out of time by doing too little for the ecological dimension. As longer we wait with needed actions against the climate crisis, the harsher we must act. This will lead to more social dissatisfaction of the people and make acting more difficult. We need to focus more on the social-ecological factor in our decision making process. When we decide to travel, we need to better understand and communicate the negative impact it has on the environment.
Meetings and business trips have barely been possible worldwide for almost a year - how do companies prepare to be able to meet again in person? Do you see trends / opportunities to make sensible use of the compulsory break in travel management or can one only wait and see how the situation develops?
The pandemic is a “show stopper” and forces us to rethink how we travel and meet. The corona virus doesn’t stop at state borders or at airports, airplanes, trains, etc. The virus is transmitted from human to human. We can mitigate the risk, but until we have a herd immunity through vaccination, maintaining social distancing is the only way keeping infection under control. We will win the fight against this pandemic in the end, but it will take its time.
Several experts say that there will be a small recovery in 2021, but most agree that it will take at least until 2025 for a full recovery of the Business Travel Industry. Just like the discussion about home office, some will enjoy travelling again, other would prefer joining a meeting remotely via video conferences. Therefore, I would not be surprised to see a continued increase of hybrid meetings, first on a domestic level then international and intercontinental levels.
What do you see as the biggest hurdles for companies on the way to achieving global and individual climate goals?
Hesitation to act now is probably the biggest hurdle for companies to overcome. Courage is required, within companies and with each individual. Act today, question your behavior and put tried and tested to the test. If necessary, continue or adapt. Dare to do something new. Particularly now, during the pandemic.
Covid-19 forces us to rethink. What can we take from the experience and positive-creative implementation of the lockdown into the post-virus era? What can a healthy and sustainable future look like in a broad sense and what consequences does this have for our present?
What importance do you attach to technology / digitalization when pursuing sustainability goals? Do we need better / new tools or is it more about a change of mind?
In the future, unavoidable business trips will have to be assessed according to new, not cost-driven aspects, but in a balance between economic, ecological and social-societal interests. Technical solutions, such as video, web and telephone conferences are already omnipresent, however the creative use of Virtual Reality technologies, augmented or blended, offer further alternatives to business trips. Technologies enables us to implement faster transition to more sustainable business travel.
Another example, aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis is a problem that needs a solution. Carbon emissions are a global problem – it does not matter where a ton of carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere. In the coming decades, one substantial way of achieving the necessary carbon dioxide reduction in aviation, is through the use of sustainable aviation fuel SAF. It is made from hydrogen generated by using green electricity and water and from carbon dioxide captured directly from the air. The technology for doing this is already available, but it needs to be produced in big scale so it will become economical viable. VR technology and SAF are just two examples that show the importance of technologies for pursuing sustainability goals in the Travel Industry.
What incentives can companies still be given from a political perspective to act more climate-friendly?
Companies can invest more in employees’ education for more sustainability. Starting this spring, the independent and neutral non-profit Global Sustainable Travel & Tourism Council is to introduce a series of e-learning programs aimed at addressing the challenges of a post-pandemic world of sustainable business travel programs. During this four weeks online training, Business Travelers and Travel Managers can learn how to make informed decisions and implement best-in-class sustainability practices for their companies. After successfully completing an exam, course participants will receive a certification. GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program is relevant for a wide range of tourism industry professional and has a proven track record of successful education and training. It would be desirable for companies to receive further state support in this respect.
Bill Gates says more than 50% of business travel will disappear in post-coronavirus world – do you think he is right?
Companies should avoid all “unnecessary” trips for an ecological, economic and social cause. Most of them can be replaced with innovative technologies. So yes, I think Bill Gates is right and if more companies would join Microsoft’s strive becoming a carbon negative company, less business travels are necessary in the future.
Great news! The climate protection company atmosfair and CONVIEN are now partners in supporting companies to achieve their individual and global climate goals derived from the Paris climate agreement.
atmosfair was founded in 2005 and is a joint initiative between forum anders reisen and Germanwatch, an environment and development organization. Additionally, the German Federal Environment Agency supports the initiative. As a german non-profit organization they actively contribute to CO₂ mitigation by promoting, developing and financing renewable energies in over 15 countries worldwide.
Since the end of 2020 CONVIEN is using atmosfairs highly qualified emission calculation standards in the Meeting Place Finder and also in the individual travel sector.
Thus, the CO₂ footprint of an event can be projected even more precisely and, above all, based on this data quality, an even higher potential for savings in terms of avoidance of climate-damaging gases can be achieved through the use of CONVIEN services. In addition, the emissions determined can be used even better in operational reporting by calculating according to the VDR standard.
Together with atmosfair the presentation of the reported CO₂ emissions was revised in such a way that the impact is even more visible for the user: the projected sums are related to the individual climate-friendly annual budget of a business traveler.
The new features are included in the following products:
Would you like to get a non-binding impression? Click HERE for the ShowCase of the Green Meeting Place Finder.
How often have you heard or read this… before the pandemic temporarily made this decision for us?
On a global level, we have all broken new ground in 2020 in terms of interaction and collaboration with friends, family and colleagues. Some welcome this and see video conferencing not only as an equivalent substitute for a face-to-face meeting, but also as a guide to the future of cooperation, at least in the professional sector. Others found the change very difficult, partly due to technological hurdles, but partly also because it is difficult to establish a "connection" with the conversation partner without personal contact.
In addition to individual preferences, there are of course a number of factors that have to be taken into account when making a decision, such as sustainability, efficiency, safety, costs and well-being of the participants.
The fact is that after the end of the pandemic, the decision is again before us as to which event we choose which format - and that is a good thing.
Let us embrace the variety of possibilities, let us use technology where it makes sense and let us look forward to shaking hands again with our colleagues, suppliers and customers. With this in mind, we have expanded our public and free platform CONVIEN KLATCH to support the planning of web meetings in addition to optimizing the meeting location for face-to-face meetings.
Enjoy the procedural freedom and the opportunity to organize face-to-face and web meetings on one platform and in any case have the certainty that you will be supported in the planning process as efficiently, sustainably and cost-effectively as possible.
If you search for it on the Internet, you will get a wealth of results with valuable information on how CO2 emissions can be reduced or avoided on business trips.
Above all, of course, avoiding travel is the first means of choice - do I have to travel in person or can I also achieve the desired purpose through virtual meetings?
The Corona crisis achieved a large area effect and showed us that it is very possible to largely avoid personal meetings through digitalization - however, this was not a conscious decision and not a process that we could get used to. Most of the people affected now want a return to "normality", as they do not see virtual meetings as a full substitute for permanently interacting and collaborating with colleagues, suppliers, business partners and customers. So we have to assume that with the return to normal, there will be an improved awareness of travel avoidance and a significantly broader infrastructure for virtual collaboration - the business travel market will nonetheless remain a challenge when it comes to sustainability.
The next largest tool in the kit is of course the compensation of CO2 emissions - a convenient and relatively cheap form of reparation for the polluter, which certainly has a positive effect, but is not seen as a panacea by climate protectors. A big problem here is the time lag between the cause of climate damage and its actual compensation through afforestation or other measures - time that we may not have to achieve our climate goals.
In addition to avoidance and compensation, there are of course a number of other ways of reducing CO2 on a small scale by choosing a climate-neutral hotel, using public transport instead of a taxi, etc. The travel process itself, however, remains the biggest cause of CO2 at around 70% followed by accommodation including power supply in the hotel / at the meeting, nutrition, ... So it definitely makes sense to optimize the travel process itself as the biggest chunk.
What does the CONVIEN Way look like?
We differentiate between 2 types of business trips based on the purpose of the trip: I travel to meet other people (meeting / event trip) or to pursue a business activity in a certain location (individual journey):
Ecological optimization options for an individual trip:
a) Multimodal travel search - by comparing different transport options, the ecological footprint of a trip can be massively reduced.
b) Comparison of CO2 emissions at provider level - CO2 emissions for the same route can be very different depending on the type of aircraft and airline.
c) Compensation of the remaining amounts of CO2.
Ecological optimization of meeting trips:
The organizer of the event bears a special responsibility here, as he specifies both the location and the period of the meeting - the majority of meetings and events require a certain infrastructure, but are in principle not tied to a specific location or period.
Thus, the intelligent selection of the meeting place and time period results in a huge saving potential in CO2 emissions, since the essential parameters for the journey of the participants are defined here. According to our case studies, the CO2 footprint of an event can be reduced by an average of 30% without any negative impact on the travel quality of the participants - on the contrary: Optimizing the meeting location according to CO2 emissions during travel and overnight stays also improves the work-life balance of the participants, as the shortest possible travel routes and direct flights are usually offered as travel recommendations.
Avoid travel whenever possible and when it does not have a negative impact on the purpose of your enterprise.
Reduce your carbon footprint with intelligent tools such as the Meeting Place Finder including multimodal travel booking solutions and precise cross-provider comparison of the providers for your routes.
Compensate for the remaining residual amounts of CO2.
From now on all Outlook 365 users can get and use the brand new plugin in the Microsoft AppSource for free : Get the Addin Here!
The missing puzzle piece to optimize the mass of small meetings directly in Outlook is finally available.
What is the purpose of the addin?
Analogous to the already established Meeting Place Finder web application the plugin supports meeting organizers in the selection of the optimal meeting location precisely where thousands of meetings and events are planned every day: in Microsoft Outlook. The publicly available and free tool specializes in optimizing the meeting location with regard to the CO2 consumption of the participants on arrival and departure. By using it, up to 30% CO2 can be avoided per meeting simply by intelligently selecting the meeting location and thus making a significant contribution to the sustainability and reduction of your CO2 footprint.
Who should install the addin?
Every Outlook user who organizes a meeting with travel needs often or only occasionally will be given the opportunity to choose the meeting location sustainably after installation with the support of the Meeting Place Finder logic. No additional license or additional installation is required for basic use - only the authorization to install and use Outlook Addins. If you are not authorized to install the plugin, you can go directly to your Outlook 365 admin, who has the option of making the addin available to you individually or to entire departments of your company.
Ecological and economical
In its free basic form, the plugin initially "only" enables the meeting location to be optimized from a sustainability point of view - but there is also the option for corporate customers to use the addin for a fee with all known features such as travel cost analysis, working time cost analysis, hotel cost projection, travel security and access to the trade fair database. Here, the addin can be used in addition to the web application or only in Outlook and then also access all parameters stored in the system for your meeting and travel culture.
So, get involved!
Avoiding CO2 in the context of business trips has never been easier. With just a few clicks, you will receive a free CO2 analysis for the travel processes to your chosen meeting location and alternatives that require up to 30% less carbon dioxide when your participants arrive.
What can we learn from the crisis?
At this time, many are using the meeting and event stop to think about whether everything should continue as before or whether it is time to make meaningful changes to processes which are difficult to complete during the daily operation.
What can we do?
Instead of waiting until the situation relaxes and meetings and business trips at least partially get going again, you could take a critical look at your companys Meeting & Travel programs and also take measures that guarantee the security and productivity of the participants in the future and promote sustainability and cost awareness.
It is highly likely that many businesses will consider web meetings as their first choice, however, in some cases, you just cannot avoid personal meetings. These are too important to completely be cut out from the daily operations!
Therefore, the meeting organizers should think carefully about when and where the face-to-face meeting should take place. With the Meeting Place Finder this process can be simplified drastically.
This tool helps Meeting & Event organizers find the optimal location for events according to security, sustainability, travel costs, productivity and other criteria.
Let us hope that we can shake hands again soon!
What is duty of care and how is it usually done in companies?
A duty of care is a legal duty to take reasonable care not to cause harm to another person that could be reasonably foreseen. (https://beyondbusinesstravel.com/duty-of-care)
Duty of care is important in order to ensure that employees do not travel to regions at risk and if there is a danger, it will make it easier for the company to bring the employee back.
Travel advisory within the trip planning
Some businesses use external travel advisory services within individual trip planning or self-defined security levels for different regions in order to warn travellers that a certain destination is not safe. It also tells the travellers what they need to do or are allowed to do in order to be able to go to their destination. These measures could for example be armed guardians or special security.
Travel advisory during the meeting planning
However, it makes more sense to review travel warnings one step ahead during the meeting planning process to avoid inviting people to an endangered destination as:
1. The time period to check for alternatives is much longer
2. It is much more effective to check the location once rather than double-check the location for each participant and possibly cancel an appointment
3. Security measures can be planned centrally by the organizer to reduce the effort for individual security measures instead of every attendee
What risks are typically covered by these travel security programs?
• Pandemic diseases – for example COVID-19
• Political crises
• Nature catastrophes
In summary, this makes travel security warnings fundamental to business organization processes.
CONVIEN now provides appropriate warnings during the meeting organization with its Meeting Place Finder to help the organizers making a right decision.
What is a Strategic Meeting Management Program (SMMP) and for whom does it make sense?
Businesses often have a vague meeting management and therefore often lose track of the organization of meetings and events. In that case, a SMMP is needed.
A SMMP is a company-wide program that structures meetings and events in such a way that costs are recorded and reduced, and the company gets a clear reporting.
SMMPs are useful for all companies of a certain size and with a large number of internal meetings and events.
What are the benefits of SMMPs?
* Cost transparency and reduction
* Operational control
* Standardized purchasing processes
* Enhanced duty of care
* Improved sustainability
Without SMMP, decentralized and potentially chaotic processes arise without the possibility of monitoring and improving collaboration.
What are the typical steps to set up such a program ?
1. Analysis / collection of key figures
* How many meetings & events are being organized?
* How many attendees usually take part?
* Where do the meetings take place?
* How are the meetings organized?
* How many meetings are web meetings?
2. Definition of optimization goals such as...
* Cost reduction
* Productivity increase
* Improved work-life balance
* Expansion of the capacities of conference rooms
* Adjustment of guidelines and policies
3. Implementation of processes and solutions
* Rate negotiations
* Procurement processes for event locations
* Lack of resources for web meeting solutions and/or planning tools need to be fixed
* Meeting room capacities
* Meeting minute management
* Travel processes including duty of care and sustainability
The program is a tailor-made solution to the organizations’ specific needs and perfectly complements the corporate strategy. Therefore, it is used to standardize business processes, so employees can comply with corporate and industry conformity.
How can CONVIEN help setting up a SMMP and provide value with its concepts and solutions?
CONVIEN is an innovative software provider specialized in meeting and travel management products.
Our corporate travel and meeting management solution simplifies the most complex workflow processes, by helping companies to analyse and optimize their meeting culture.
CONVIEN provides standardized and tailor-made solutions, which make saving potentials transparent and optimize cost & CO2 footprint. It also increases productivity and safety of corporate meetings and events.
For example, the CONVIEN Meeting Place Finder supports the organizers in determining the perfect date and location for certain participants regarding :
* Travel cost
* Travel productivity
* Accommodation cost
* CO2 footprint
* Travel security and all reflecting existing travel and meeting policies to cope with compliance regulations.
The associated reporting supports organizers, human resources, procurement and travel managers in the continuous optimization of processes and cost structures.
Get started now and improve your business performance!
The aspect of sustainability has become more and more important in recent years, and therefore the trend is also increasingly turning to green meetings & events.
However, what are green meetings? The definition of "green" can vary drastically!
At a green meeting or a green event, environmental aspects are included in the entire planning process in order to minimize the negative effects of the event on the environment.
A green event is organized with the aim of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable action that goes far beyond basic "green" practices such as recycling.
Of course, it's important that that selected suppliers take sustainability into account, including recycling their own products and services throughout the year.
Often, meeting venues are selected according to which sustainable criteria they meet.
Many of these hotels are in rural areas or in quiet city locations, near a forest, meadow or a lake, which sounds very sustainable in the first place as they also offer for example social responsibility, a CO2 neutral stay, or regionality.
However, since many of the locations are in the countryside, with basically no access to public transportation, it means ALL participants must travel by car. This, of course, increases the CO2 footprint of each participant drastically.
In order to really have a sustainable meeting, it's important to not only think about food and drinks, events supply, etc. but also and especially about the travel of the participants, as it's with 70% the biggest CO2 producer at meetings.
Think ahead for a greener future!
Any optimization of travel processes and strategic meeting management should be based on a complete data foundation that considers not only the costs of MICE sourcing, but also the travel processes that depend on them. The goal is to streamline structures and increase transparency & savings driven by consolidation.
Transparent evaluation and analytical reporting of all activities are the key to strategic meeting management.
CONVIEN VENUE is designed to support and ease your corporate travel management. However, there is more to the VENUE Meeting Place Finder than “just” optimizing your meetings - with CONVIEN, the analysis of the companys’ meeting and travel culture is also possible.
Various reports such as the evaluation of the number of participants or/and the evaluation of the planning period (when exactly meetings are planned) are possible.
The latest release of CONVIEN VENUE gives a practical insight into the meeting experience as a basis for:
* Flight & Hotel rate negotiations
* Strategic Purchasing e.g. internal & external meeting capacities
* Controlling SOPs and Guidelines etc.
* Overall transparency
In conclusion, reports can help with the process optimization and enable purchasing advantages. With this detailed information, huge cost savings can be achieved in the area of company events.
Did you know that our planet has to deal with 3.374.250.000 tons of CO2 every year, which originates from business trips!
The travel of the participants is with 70% the biggest CO2 producer at meetings. Right behind is accommodation with 15%, food with 10% and energy needs & infrastructure with 5%.
The big challenge is, that personal meetings are crucial for the business - one cannot always replace them with web meetings, meaning smart solutions are needed.
Our approach is the Meeting Place Finder software, which analyzes millions of travel connections based on the places of origin of the attendees in order to facilitate the selection of the optimal meeting place regarding CO2 consumption, ticket cost and working time.
With the Meeting Place Finder, it is possible to manage the planning of the meeting all the way up to sending out the invitations.
1. The organizer determines the participants with their places of origin in the Meeting Place Finder software.
2. One selects one or more time periods for the meeting to take place. The Meeting Place Finder will then identify the optimal meeting places for thetime periods according to CO2 emission.
3. The organizer selects the optimal date by detecting the availabilities of theparticipants via the software.
4. One sends out the invitations via the software including the optimal travel recommendation for each participant. The participant is even able to book the trip via our CONVIEN booking engine.
Apart from choosing minimum CO2 consumption, we also provide lowest ticket costs and maximum productivity (lowest travel & labor costs). We are able to analyse travel & hotel costs and have negotiated flight & hotel rates.
With the Meeting Place Finder, travel policies and a control mechanism for procurement are also possible.
Individual needs such as multimodal travel search (Flights, Rail, Car), adjustable data sources (Amadeus, Travelfusion,...) and custom destination algorithms ( Company Seats, ... ) can be adjusted.
The user is able to have procedural freedom. They can choose between the anonymous and personalized mode. The Meeting Place Finder is compatible with integrated or external travel booking solutions.
Knowledge is power - especially when it comes to business travel. To run a successful meeting is a big challenge for many. That's why adequate solutions are essential to make business travel more efficient. A non-systematic approach to travel and bookings not only costs time and money, but also poses a security problem. In many companies, despite dedicated business travel, travel service providers will be searched and booked through other channels, called maverick buyers. Their main motivation is the hope of being able to save costs. However, if the buyer does not comply with the travel requirements, the costs incur through unused discounts, the time spent on research and in accounting for the aggregation and posting of individual documents. In addition, all companies have the duty of care for all their employees, which is extremely difficult to assess if the companies do not know where their employees are. That's why it's important that companies have an efficient Online Booking Engine (OBE), which is easy to use.
Some advantages for companies to use an Online Booking Engine:
1. This allows companies to map the travel organization holistically - from travel request to travel booking to travel expense.
2. Direct travel expenses are reduced through price comparisons, access to corporate and special rates.
3. Interactive travel policies prevent overpriced travel and, in some cases, if a travel is more expensive than allowed, it must be approved by a travel manager.
4. The travel organization is simplified by a profile management and standardized booking and billing processes.
Some advantages for travellers to use an Online Booking Engine:
1. Unified processes and the implementation of travel policies allows full control of user bookings and expenditures.
2. A fast planning of the journey on favourable terms and conditions.
3. The centralized travel process will simplify management and the day-to-day workflows leading to time and productivity management.
4. The traveller will get all travel solutions from one source and have the data organized in one place.
For employees to comply with the bookings and therefore avoid maverick booking, it is advisable to have clear travel policies that are openly communicated and verified. For the cost control, an overview of all travel costs is essential.
I developed the idea for CONVIEN when I felt I was spending more time at the airport than with my family. The main drawbacks during my business trips were unfavourable flight times and connections due to hastily selected meeting destinations. The associated long waiting and transfer times not only cost valuable working time, but also affect the work-life balance and thus productivity.
Constant travel not only tugs at my nerves - Almost every second employee finds business travel stressful, as a survey of the German Travel Association e.V. businesspeople traveling more than 50 times a year also complain about a significant disruption to their work-life balance.
Appreciation towards employees, on the other hand, has a positive effect on commitment and motivation. One of the signs of appreciation, in my opinion, is to keep stress for business travellers as low as possible. I found out that longer travel times, for example because of one or more stopovers, ultimately increase staff costs and burden staff, even if the fare is initially cheaper.
I imagined a system that allows participants to compare travel experiences for different meeting locations based on travel time, travel costs, and CO2 emissions. For the first time, this system enabled me to consider indirect travel costs, such as personnel costs due to long waiting times at the airport. In doing so, I discovered considerable savings potential - the foundation for the Meeting Place Finder was laid.
Based on the places of origin of the participants from different parts of the world, the Meeting Place Finder determines the optimal meeting destination. The CO2 emissions and the cheapest travel costs and subsistence costs are calculated for all participants, if desired including the indirect travel costs in the form of personnel costs.