In 2019, our CEO Suzanne Horner was honoured as one of Business Travel News’ 25 Most Influential People in Business Travel.
The list of 25 was identified by the BTN editors, after time spent tracking the trends and events impacting the corporate travel industry, as well as those who have influenced traveller behaviour.
MAKING A CHANGE
Suzanne is transparent about why she stood to lead the United Kingdom’s Guild of Travel Management Companies, which elected her in summer 2019, as it renamed itself The Business Travel Association. “It was known as an old boys’ club. I wanted to be the first female chair,” she said. “The organization was created 52 years ago. We said many times that we wanted to change, but we did not necessarily demonstrate it. If I’m honest, I didn’t want another bloke running the board.”
Having improved The BTA’s gender balance, Horner is eyeing further change, including increased supplier representation and improved engagement with Millennials and buyers.
Suzanne’s place on this list also represents the wave of U.K. TMC consolidation. Gray Dawes Travel, has made nine acquisitions in three-and-a-half years. During that time, few members of The BTA have neither bought another nor been bought themselves. For example, Suzanne took over as chair from Paul Allan after he sold his company, Ian Allan Travel, to Clarity in May. Meanwhile, Amber Road Travel, the TMC that Clive Wratten quit as chief executive in July to join The BTA in the same capacity, was acquired by Gray Dawes in September.
Before starting her buying spree, Horner felt Gray Dawes, then a £28 million company, needed £100 million in transaction volume to compete effectively. But now, she said, “the goalposts have moved. At £200 million we’re now 12th largest in the U.K. Five years ago, we would easily have been in the top 10.” Horner has focused on buying out owners reluctant to update their technology in the face of New Distribution Capability standards. She expects even more to sell soon, citing the pending end of the private-channel arrangements in which British Airways exempted TMCs from GDS booking surcharges if they committed to NDC development.
SOURCE: Business Travel News
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