For today’s business travelers, technology is everything. They measure how satisfied they were with a trip based on how technology, mostly mobile, makes their overall experience easier.
We recently surveyed global business travelers* and 66% say they want to book and manage their travel across all their devices. Not only that – 55% say they want to be able to do more on mobile, like check into their hotel or secure their rental car.
Words speak louder than actions. Despite the desire to use mobile more on work trips, business travelers have been surprisingly slow to adopt travel apps, especially from TMCs. Instead, they continue to visit supplier and TMC websites to manage all aspects of travel from booking to making changes to contacting customer service.
As innovation rapidly increases, we expect more business travelers to embrace mobile. But technology alone won’t drive adoption. Travel managers need to embrace and promote TMC mobile solutions as a critical travel management tool that helps increase compliance, facilitate better duty of care and improve the in-journey experience.
Why? Because not only will business travelers enjoy a faster and more personalized experience on any mobile device, but travel managers, arrangers and assistants will benefit too. Mobile advancements will better equip travel professionals to keep up with traveler expectations, communicate quickly during travel disruptions, improve negotiating power through consolidated data and drive overall program satisfaction.
So, what advancements in mobile should you expect soon? Here are some macro trends worth keeping an eye on:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): We expect to see advancements in areas of AI including machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing later this year, according to Deloitte. The use of these technologies make the search, booking and customer care experiences smarter, and will deliver more personalized information faster than before. For example, some travel apps use voice recognition to take commands from travelers and then deliver personalized information to them on their mobile device, tablet or wrist.
- Smart Data: Smart Data is all about gathering predictive insights from large pools of data to help inform decisions. IBM Watson introduced Insight Cloud Services to help companies intelligently gather, manage and act upon smart data. Increasingly, TMCs are implementing similar systems to analyze traveler behaviors on the road and optimize mobile experiences with new and improved features that make the lives of travel managers, arrangers and assistants easier.
- Internet of Things (IoT): While there has been a lot of hype around IoT over the past decade, a recent study conducted by Tata Consultancy Services found significantly higher investments from companies in the travel and hospitality industry. Major players are experimenting with IoT to help improve travel experiences, including Delta’s baggage tracking technology, Disney’s MagicBand program and Aloft Hotels’ voice-activated hotel rooms. From a traveler’s perspective, IoT could drive further personalization as places road warriors frequent often can store their preferences via mobile location, whereas travel managers must consider the implications IoT brings in terms of data security and privacy.
While many of these advancements are still in the early stages, it’s not too soon to build a mobile strategy. Now is the time for travel professionals to talk to their TMC about the capabilities of its mobile solutions and implement a marketing strategy to encourage traveler adoption. With travelers on board, it will make it easier for travel managers to manage travel policies more effectively, monitor travel activity and maintain duty of care and compliance as new capabilities emerge. Having a strategy in place – for today, tomorrow and in the future – will pay dividends in the long-term.
You can look forward to learning more about the connection between emerging technology and traveler satisfaction in our next blog post.
*4th edition, Egencia Business Travel and Technology survey to be released next month.