Imagine the following scenario: You run the corporate travel program at your company. An employee is headed to Paris on business, so she uses the company’s travel platform to book a hotel. At first glance, the hotel appears to give her what she wants, from its interior design style to its location.
As it turns out, the location she’s chosen puts her right in the middle of two of the most congested traffic areas in Paris, which happen to be between the hotel and the company’s Paris office. Your traveler is now looking at spending nearly two hours a day getting back and forth between her hotel and the office.
The traffic jams will contribute to a poor travel experience and might negatively affect her productivity while she’s on the road. The hotels that would allow her to avoid the traffic are located closer to the office and are available for booking in the platform. To deliver travelers the best options, personalization in corporate travel is key to helping ensure they book the hotels that best fit their travel and business objectives.
Understanding personalization in business travel
Every traveler in your organization has personal travel preferences. If they use a generic booking tool, they’ll be presented with a range of hotel options that don’t fit their actual needs. Most of the choices they see won’t be suitable — they may be too far from their destination or in dangerous neighborhoods.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could tell your travelers about potential problems before they booked a hotel? What if your travelers had information from co-workers who could warn them about long commutes, less-than-ideal accommodations and more? The good news is, there’s now a way to quickly and easily get this information to your travelers. Our platform offers personalized options to deliver hotel choices your business travelers want, including:
- Ensuring that a traveler’s and company’s frequent destinations and preferred hotels are available in the destination search options.
- Highlighting relevant locations such as headquarters, shops, manufacturers, and so on.
- Providing personalized, destination-specific messages — geo-messages — to inform bookers about specific local news and security rules such as if a destination is experiencing political upheaval that may put your traveler in danger.
- Making peer reviews visible to help your traveler choose the best hotel.
Personalized business travel booking is part of a broader wave of corporate systems integrating technological innovations that are common in e-commerce. As consumer technology trends influence business travel, your travelers, especially digital natives, will most likely expect intuitive, personalized online engagement. They may appreciate recommendations from a platform that seems to know them. Now, they can enjoy that experience with our single digital travel platform.
How personalization works
As the travel manager, you have the ability to establish personalization parameters for your travelers. With the Egencia platform, the interface allows you to add custom locations. You can enter information about preferred hotels, offices, and any other places that are relevant to your travelers. When your bookers look up a location, the hotels you designated as favorites will appear as colored pins on a map. The map will also display the distances between the hotel and other locations, such as corporate offices.
We go further and capture data about your travelers for you, analyze it, and feed the results back into the platform to make personalization as relevant and accurate as possible. Using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), our platform examines data about past trips, company policies, work locations, and the travel behavior of the company’s employees. It pulls in data from a variety of databases, including the global distribution system (GDS).
Our process never stops. We’re always trying to get to know each traveler better. Using ML, our platform constantly re-assesses each employee’s travel preferences as well as those of their co-workers. We continuously invest in ML to make personalization work better. These features are intended to create ease of use for travelers that could result in increased adoption.
Why personalization is good for your travel program
Personalization makes the booking process easier for your travelers. They probably wantto have choices, but don’t want to be overwhelmed. Personalization creates a balance. Bookers get many options, but they can narrow their choices based on company-specific inputs, personal preferences, and peer data.
A travel platform with personalization can also include policy information in its travel recommendations and flag hotels that are out of policy, for example. In so doing, the platform helps your travelers avoid booking stays that are noncompliant.
A personalized booking interface is a contributing factor in improved traveler satisfaction. You want this. Happy business travelers tend to be more productive on the road. A simplified booking process also lets your employees focus on their work rather than spinning their wheels booking travel.
Another interesting statistic we’ve seen is a higher conversion rate for hotel bookings when the traveler uses a personalized travel tool. Our research shows that booking conversions rise by five percent when the hotel is listed as a favorite. This makes sense. Personalization builds confidence and trust between the traveler and the hotel destination. Travelers are more likely to book a recommended room when it appears in a personalized context.
To start personalizing your booking tool on our platform, start by adding some custom locations.