The Beat Live Keynote Pitch: Dan Ruch, Rocketrip

This post is part of the 2015 Keynote Vote for The Beat Live, in Arlington, Va., Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Topic: Why Hasn't The Sharing Economy Disrupted Business Travel?

U.S. companies are projected to spend $310 billion on business travel in 2015. Does the sharing economy represent change we should believe in?

Can you teach old dogs new tricks? Should you? Or is it__to mix canine metaphors__better to let sleeping dogs lie?

I'd like to consider these questions in the context of a different animal, the business traveler, homo travelecus, a well-known creature of habit. Of course, we've all heard reasons why those habits are changing. Online booking, Uber and Airbnb, millennials entering the workforce. These factors will close the gap between business and personal travel. But the truth is that change comes slowly. It's neither inevitable nor unambiguously desirable.

Corporate travel managers are tasked with providing employees a safe, familiar and consistent travel experience. Given this (understandable) emphasis on stability, is it inevitable that the corporate sector will lag behind other parts of the travel industry in embracing innovation?

I don't think so. Travel management has always been about balance: cost versus quality, breadth of options versus promoting preferred vendors, ease of booking versus policy enforcement. In talking to dozens of travel managers, I've come to appreciate how challenging it is to build a travel program that can adapt without scrapping proven best practices (and one that employees are satisfied with).

I've learned there's no one travel program that's right for every organization, and this includes Rocketrip. Rather than pitch my service__frankly, I don't think The Beat's audience would be interested__I'd like to explore how corporate travel managers can confidently articulate a statement of the value they add in the new travel ecosystem.

Dan Ruch is Rocketrip CEO.