Technologies bringing market-of-one closer in business travel
Carlson Wagonlit Travel has identified five key trends which will have the greatest impact on business travel going forward.
The ‘Faster, Smarter, better?’ study highlights mobile technologies, customisation, the sharing economy, new booking solutions and virtual payments as the ones to watch.
It’s not rocket science but more a study into the attitudes of travellers and travel managers about current technology trends – travellers expectations have risen, the travel management community is thinking how to react.
The first two trends speak for themselves, consumers rely heavily on mobile devices daily and expect them to extend more to their working lives.
Mobile technologies was rated the highest with 72% rating it either four or five in terms of having the greatest impact on the corporate travel sector.
CWT is expecting 25% of bookings to come via mobile by 2017 and says it is exploring how to deliver a “mobile-first multi-channel offering.”
And, given how connected they are to those devices they also want the travel services offered on them to be far more tailored.
Through the availability of increasing amounts of data travel management companies and suppliers are seeking to personalise services to travellers.
In the CWT study, travellers ranked customised offers as third in a list of top technology and services they’d like to have in travel programmes, after ancillary services and mobile applications.
The vision is ‘market of one’ and the industry is a way off but companies including CWT and Egencia have introduced more tailored search technology for hotels in the past year.
The other hope for data is to have much better visibility on how effective travel programs are and, on this front, CWT plans to unveil its AnalytIQs platform in the next few months to provide insight on booked and ticketed data.
Data on ancillary spending and program leakage is to be added next year.
While the report says the barriers to use of sharing economy services are coming down in corporate travel, it also highlights concerns from the community around safety, data security, reporting and compliance.
According to the CWT study it is ground transport services that currently are proving more popular with business travellers than the likes of Airbnb, although these will gain traction as they hone their business offerings.
New booking solutions is also identified as a key trend with fare-tracking technologies such as Yapta’s FareIQ and its sister hotel product ones to watch.
The area of disruption and re-booking gets a mention within booking technologies and it brings together many of the other current trends – mobile, big data, personalisation.
CWT has a trip disruption service scheduled for release in the US in the next quarter which has travel consultants monitoring trips for disrutption and then alerting travellers to offer a solution or further assistance.
Other companies in the space also have developments including Amadeus with a more automated service via its recently unveiled mobile disruption companion.
The area of virtual payments has wide implications for business travel in how it can make expense management easier as well as encourage the policy compliance as virtual cards are presented at the time of booking.
So, nothing ground breaking here, just some stuff to keep an eye on in terms of how quickly trends catch on in business travel and how easy (or not) they might be to integrate in terms of technology and willingness.
The travel management community seems optimistic, if the above charts are anything to go by, with the majority planning to either expand programs to integrate the key trends or at least considering.
The CWT Faster, Smarter, better? study was conducted through an online survey of more than 1,000 travellers from four global companies, interviews with 65 travel management experts and a survey of 127 travel managers. Full report available for download here.
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.