Imagine the following scenario: You run the corporate travel programme 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 traveller 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 travellers the best options, personalisation in corporate travel is key to helping ensure they book the hotels that best fit their travel and business objectives.
Understanding personalisation in business travel
Every traveller in your organisation 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 neighbourhoods.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could tell your travellers about potential problems before they booked a hotel? What if your travellers had information from colleagues who could warn them about long commutes, less-than-ideal accommodation and more? The good news is, there’s now a way to quickly and easily get this information to your travellers. Our platform offers personalised options to deliver hotel choices your business travellers want, including:
- Ensuring that a traveller’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 personalised, 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 traveller in danger.
- Making peer reviews visible to help your traveller choose the best hotel.
Personalised 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 travellers, especially digital natives, will most likely expect intuitive, personalised 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 personalisation works
As the travel manager, you have the ability to establish personalisation parameters for your travellers. 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 travellers. When your bookers look up a location, the hotels you designated as favourites will appear as coloured 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 travellers for you, analyse it, and feed the results back into the platform to make personalisation 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 behaviour 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 traveller better. Using ML, our platform constantly re-assesses each employee’s travel preferences as well as those of their colleagues. We continuously invest in ML to make personalisation work better. These features are intended to create ease of use for travellers that could result in increased adoption.
Why personalisation is good for your travel programme
Personalisation makes the booking process easier for your travellers. They probably want to have choices, but don’t want to be overwhelmed. Personalisation 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 personalisation 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 travellers avoid booking stays that are non-compliant.
A personalised booking interface is a contributing factor in improved traveller satisfaction. You want this. Happy business travellers 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 traveller uses a personalised travel tool. Our research shows that booking conversions rise by five per cent when the hotel is listed as a favourite. This makes sense. Personalisation builds confidence and trust between the traveller and the hotel destination. Travellers are more likely to book a recommended room when it appears in a personalised context.
To start personalising your booking tool on our platform, start by adding some custom locations.