By Carmen Stinson on Nov 21, 2018
4 min read
Travel Management Technologies are on the rise in an industry such as corporate travel, which is prone to slow changes. Currently, the travel industry has conservative business tendencies and procedures. It tends not to experiment because it is sure it's business model works for them.
On the other side, leisure travel technologies and businesses are rapidly moving forward, by means of the adoption of consumer booking tools and mobile payments, which allow the user more controlled and user-centered experience. Meanwhile, the travel agency model for leisure travel is in decline while business travel management is growing. Corporate travelers want to get from point A to point B in a fast, efficient, and enjoyable way; companies want to control and save money.
The millennial way
It is estimated that by the year 2020 half of the American workforce will be made up by millennials, a demographic that is used to using online booking tools, to plan their own personal trips on different devices such as: tablets, laptops, smartphones and the likes. And they do it in a very expeditious way, they want it now, they want it fast, and they want it secure.
Millennials trust Artificial Intelligence with important analytical decisions and are eager to embrace technology. Thus, they demand the same from the people they work for. Nonetheless, corporations are not yet using travel apps, and are letting the travel agencies do the work.
This means that employees use apps most of the time to keep in touch during business trips and emergencies, but the companies they work for simply lack the technology to track their steps throughout the journey and provide them with assistance should they need it.
The solution to the problems
There are solutions to address the traveler's demands, in order to adjust them to their behavior. We can divide those solutions into two:
*On the one hand, you have independent software vendors that provide self-service solutions for travel expense management, bookings, invoices, support dashboards, and the likes, by means of automating the companies’ travel management processes all in all.
*On the other hand, you have travel management companies that use travel management technologies in a different way. They offer the same things as the first one, but with services that include travel agencies, consultants, custom travel programs and just about everything else.
With the emergence of mobile technology and fast internet apps, travel is going to get better, faster. Taking into consideration that half the workforce is using these sorts of technologies, it is a good idea to apply some travel management technologies into the planning of corporate travel, while allowing the traveler to control certain aspects of the trip themselves.
Economy sharing will be the choice by default
Shared economy is something relatively ‘new’ to recent improvements made in order to change the way human society receives and provides services. Many US citizens (66.3 percent being adults) are expected to use sharing economy service this and upcoming years. Most commonly, it can be for requesting a ride, taking care of a pet, checking the house from time to time, etc. Basically asking others to do their tasks for them while on vacation.
In the last few years, hotel room prices have been on a gradual rising and are expected to increase in 2019 as well. The overloads and fees for travel services within the travel industry that used to be free are also hitting record scores with more and more hotels chains charging for Wi-Fi or an in-room safe. To reduce travel expenses, companies are seeking desperately for alternative accommodation options. Airbnb is the main app that comes to mind when mentioning this.
Over 250,000 companies have been using the famous platform for business travel since the launch of the app in 2015. A greatly-functional dashboard for coordinating trips and traveling employees together with a growing list of business-ready accommodations helped the service shoot up its corporate travel lead. Carefully selected houses with 24-hour check-in, wireless Internet, and a friendly workplace are part of the inclusive travel planning strategy.
E-learning to increase significantly towards reducing costs
Predictability has always played an important role when it comes to travel technologies. Trips are arranged to dates of conferences, the term of stay is usually short, corporate clients have similar requirements when it comes to travel facilities. They look for comfortable plane seats and hotel rooms with full luxury services. There is much to acknowledge people from the same group by collecting and analyzing all data received from their activities within a digital system. The more you deepen research, the more satisfied future travelers and potential clients will be.
To prevent disruptions, Google Flights (Google’s dedicated tool to track plane tickets) initiated predictions of delays using a machine learning algorithm. While this tool can be useful for all types of both travelers and companies, in the corporate travel world, disruptions like these can cause valuable financial losses that should be handled with promptly and effectively measures. By being warned about possible clutter, travel agents ensure the fixing of schedules and trip details, to avoid extending a hotel room booking without making an important client wait in an airport, for instance.
Summarizing, businesses that are in their travel technology awakening should consider that these new tools are not here to replace human management and automation of the process altogether. On the contrary, it empowers agents with tools that ease the journey, reduces damage and stress caused by the whole travel industry workload. Implementing travel services along with tools will bring faster and more efficient results, freeing time for strategic and analytical decisions.
Click here if you want to know more about travel management technologies.
By: Carmen Stinson
Director, Global Corporate Travel Sales & Operations