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Jun 14

An Ending, A Beginning…and An Appeal!

Thanks for the memories...now on to some new ones!

Dear Café Patrons,

It is with mixed emotions that I bring you a long overdue edition of the Café. Back in April I had to close up shop for a while and it’s been an interesting couple of months. After a year of consulting and running the Café, I’ve had an opportunity present itself within the corporate travel industry that I just couldn’t pass up.

I’ve just officially started as the Global Category Lead, Travel and Expense Management, for Rio Tinto. Yes, I’m now “on the other side of the table” after 10+ years as a TMC and/or GDS supplier to the industry. For those of you who may not care where you get your pink diamonds or how that steel making up the latest skyscraper in Shanghai came to be made, Rio is a world leader in finding, mining and processing mineral resources. In short: no one finds and digs stuff out of the ground better than Rio Tinto.

I’m thrilled to have the chance to lead the global travel and expense program for Rio, as the company is growing fast and we are all about getting people to where they need to be exactly when and how they need to get there. It’s a dream travel buyer job to be sure!

Unfortunately, it does come with a particular set of demands and requirements which pretty much brought me to the conclusion that as much as I’ve enjoyed serving up shots of travel insight as your Barista over the past 15 months or so, I’ll have to hang up the grinder for the foreseeable future. I’m afraid you’ll need to get your Friday morning fix where you do already – a real coffee shop!

However, I’m not done just yet – although closing the Café for now is an end of one type, I’m hoping I can enlist you – the Café Patrons – for helping me establish a new forum for us to advance this wonderful industry of ours ever forward.
Many of you know I’m an active member and support of ACTE – the Association of Corporate Travel Executives – and that I’ve often used the Café to promote their events and causes. OK, and I also promoted some of my presentations at those events…but I digress.

In any case, nominations for the ACTE Regional Board of Directors for Asia Pacific have just opened up, and I’d greatly appreciate your support for my candidacy. ACTE is a great organisation in a great industry, and I’m fortunate enough to be based in a part of the world which is also poised for greatness. I’m passionate about this industry and this region, and I firmly believe that there is still much to do to continue to allow corporate travel to grow and prosper here in Asia Pacific.
If you do take the time to nominate me, you can be assured that I will endeavour to help ACTE accomplish the following:

1. Be the leading voice for our industry across the suppliers, companies and governments in the region: Asia Pacific is as diverse an area as found anywhere on Earth, and the vast cultural, linguistic, economic and political variances make our industry both vibrant and challenging. As a Regional Board Member my aim will be to reach out to our members in all countries to support them not just on local issues, but find ways to link similar initiatives together to achieve greater scale across the region.

2. Put ACTE on the front page of our industry as well as mainstream media: ACTE has done an excellent job in the Americas and Europe in being a thought leader on industry issues and challenges, and we have a great opportunity to do the same in Asia Pacific. Using my 10+ years of marketing, PR and social media experience, I will aim to further integrate ACTE’s positions, commentary and insights to continue to advance our industry.

3. Expand our buyer base in established countries and solidify our leadership position in emerging markets: ACTE has done well in Singapore and Australia thanks to a strong multi-national corporate presence. China, India, ASEAN and the Pacific still have huge potential for increased membership and evangelisation of the importance of managed travel programs. Through a balanced focus on both markets, I believe we can continue to grow ACTE in a future-focused way.

Of course, those of you who have followed my weekly shots over the months know I have a lot of other ideas and opinions about how we can improve our industry – so by all means, help me put my money where my mouth is and support my nomination! If you’re convinced the Barista could be the right one for the job, you can submit your nomination here.

In closing, and as the title of this week’s posting suggests, this is not an ending by any means, just a transition to a new path forward and a different way of helping our industry move ahead. I do want to very much thank everyone who’s supported the Café as without the Patrons there really wasn’t much reason to open up shop in the first place! I do look forward to keeping in touch with everyone either via email, social media, at events or just perhaps in an airport lounge somewhere – as keep your eyes open, I’ll be logging a fair number of miles in this new role to lots of weird and wonderful places!

Cheers – and thanks.

Keep in touch: kurt.knackstedt@riotinto.com

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