Following a year living abroad in Paris, Mike Hilton, Concur’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, sat down with us to discuss all of the buzz around NBTA 2010, his new appreciation for the European business travel industry and what to expect from Concur moving forward.
The largest business travel convention, NBTA 2010, recently concluded. What do you feel were the major themes/takeaways from the show?
MH: It was great to see that overall attendance, both of the supplier and buyer communities, increased this year, which is a good sign for the health of the industry. There was a lot of great discussion during the convention, though I’d have to say that ancillary fees were definitely a hot topic. There’s so much at stake for the significant industry players as we work to make sure we’re supporting partners’ wants and needs.
Also, mobility continues to be top of mind for everyone. There’s so much excitement, fear and opportunity associated with it. It was clear that everyone now recognizes how smartphones are changing the business travel industry.
Following a year living in France, you’re now back settling in the states. What insights can you share from your experience abroad?
MH: Living abroad was a fantastic experience both personally and professionally. I developed a significantly greater appreciation for the local needs and requirements of our customers in that market. Europe has many different regional needs and requirements, and it’s difficult to get a sense of what those really are unless you’re immersed in the environment.
It was also great to see the further integration and growth of the fantastic team and innovative technology from Etap-On-Line – a cornerstone of our continued European growth. In fact, growth in Europe overall is one of the areas of Concur that’s increasing most. It’s a very exciting time for us there and it was great to be there in person to witness it.
What’s on the horizon for Concur?
MH: We’ll continue to do the things that make us successful today, including innovating in the mobility space. The smartphone continues to be a disruptive device that requires us to deliver really smart solutions for both the traveler and the corporation.
We’ll also continue to invest globally and expand our footprint – extending our global presence but achieving local relevance in each region. We’re very committed to raising the bar in terms of quality and innovation.
I’m so proud of the fact that we’ve managed to continue to grow in a very difficult economic climate and it’s really a testament to the value of our solutions and the people who work for Concur. The prospects for Concur are brighter than they’ve ever been and you’re going to see some amazing things from us in terms of innovation and growth. It’s a very exciting time!