By Carmen Stinson on Nov 28, 2018
3 min read
Next year will be characterized by the rise of corporate travel. Companies worldwide are adopting new and cutting-edge strategies to stay on top of the business, so corporate business travel in 2019 will be marked by several trends which we will try to cover in this article.
Nowadays many companies are losing money, time and resources when trying to manage travel. In the end, productivity loss is high. If you’re looking for ways to up-end your business travel management to the current trends, keep on reading.
Employees want to book their travels
Millennials want to exercise choice and control when it comes to booking travel. Companies traditionally have office managers or executive assistants designated to manage travel. How can we find balance?
There are online booking tools that are customized with travel policies and payment efficiencies, allowing office managers to enforce travel policy electronically, while travelers make their own bookings.
Travel policy is fundamental when it comes to the booking process
It all starts by defining a travel & expense policy. Both HR, Finance and Operations are stakeholders in this process.
The archaic way to handle corporate business travel is to have an endless thread of emails going back and forth between employees and administrators. This leads to delays and, in the long run, making the company waste money for an activity that the travelers themselves can handle. Today's corporate travel agency trends aim to more flexibility and personalization when travel planning.
Hotels often do not allow guests to check in until the end of the afternoon, which makes it impossible for them to refresh themselves and prepare for a meeting. Hotels have noticed this factor and already offer daily rates for corporate travelers. In the past, some companies focused on costs, now the satisfaction of the traveler is a priority. Allow for technology and proactive training to help your company and your employees.
Data gathering: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
If not tracked, it can’t be managed: this old saying is the base for corporate travel management. By consolidating travel with one Travel Management Company, your company gains visibility on trends.
Chief Financial Officers want full oversight on corporate business travel spending so they can identify problems, optimize their corporate travel policies and make spending optimal. Travel management should have data gathering built in their mechanisms.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can contribute to personalize and attract potential clients from a hotel conference, adapting the experiences for this possible customer. The AI, in 2019 will be more focused on the customer, helping simplify processes, optimize customization and will be used more frequently in aspects related to customer service. More and more companies will use chatbots to interact with travelers to respond more effectively to their needs.
Artificial intelligence helps analyze the preferences and requirements of people traveling on business, to offer customized recommendations that improve future visits. In 2019, innovation in the field of AI will be decisive, it is a growing trend that without a doubt, is a key technology to improve user satisfaction.
Flexibility and convenience
Travelers in this segment demand more personalization, which forces industry and brands to offer personalized services that meet their needs. The data, business intelligence, and analysis will help improve the customer experience this year. This type of tools should be applied at each stage of the customer's journey.
The starting point may be the automatic recognition of potential customers in this segment, continuing with the analysis of the traveler's previous behavior to offer genuinely unique tourism products and services. A custom made trip reduces stress and adapts better to preferences. In this sense, corporate travel managers must know how to manage and value the benefits of personalized travel experiences in the performance of their employees.
In addition to this, Travel & Expense technologies allow the traveler to gather data without the use of paper. Receipts and invoices tend to get lost in the shuffle of travel, so the use of electronic wallets are a convenient way to ensure accuracy on spend. Policies should be written identifying exceptions. Booking tools should be able to reflect hierarchies and new trends and be easily customizable.
This year, airlines, hotels and travel providers will present a series of new technologies to meet the growing expectations of travelers. Big Data, process automation, and internet upgrades altogether will improve customer experience. They will allow the synchronization of experiences in various devices and have a role in simple control systems, such as lighting, air conditioning, and heating.
They will match customer preferences, even to control coffee machines, or facilitate the registration process by sending electronic keys to smart devices. IoT solutions will be rapidly implemented in the travel industry by mid-2019. Companies should be aware of this and take the lead to adjust to these trends within the field.
Click here if you want to learn about why corporate travel prices will increase in 2019
By: Carmen Stinson
Director, Global Corporate Travel Sales & Operations