Tech to the Rescue! New Tools Coming to You
For corporate travel managers, sourcing future technology providers can be overwhelming. Some companies opt to build their own solutions, while others use outsourced tools to integrate into their travel program. But before tech integration can even begin, companies must recognize the adoption fees and calculate potential profitability for the service. The efficient use of data in these projections is essential to reduce the low compliance that travel procurement often faces Adopting re-booking tools, capturing data, automation - it's all essential.
Employees expect business travel to be as easy as personal travel. Is your technology providing that kind of experience? After all, an easy-to-use system will boost compliance with corporate programs and policies.
Here's a look at a few of the trends shaping technology for corporate travel managers.
Corporate travelers crave flexibility for planning their trips and reacting to any surprises like canceled flights. Travel tech start-ups are developing mobile apps that combine booking and itinerary management, so travelers don't have to switch apps to manage their trip. The goal is to provide as much information as possible through a single channel. It's more convenient for travelers and provides travel managers with compliance functionality and data capture to improve the travel experience.
Flexibility is vital for travelers who have obligations to meet, such as meetings or service calls. Their priorities are shaped by the requirement to be in a specific place at a particular time. Offering autonomy and flexibility in meeting those obligations will boost traveler satisfaction.
Using technology to provide a better travel experience will boost compliance with corporate policies such as preferred vendors and travel expense limits. Technology enables travelers to find reservation information, itineraries and travel policy information on their own. That frees travel managers to spend more time adding value to their organization and less time answering routine policy and reservation questions.
Intelligent platforms give travel managers visibility into non-compliance and overall travel spend, allowing them to focus on optimizing the experience and controlling expenses. Based on travel history, the platforms can predict future travel costs with surprising accuracy.
Adoption of Internet of Things functionality will allow for a deeper level of customization of travel products and services. From pricing to services, data will drive customized offers and responses. Travel managers will be able to customize individual employees' interaction with their travel service, storing preferences and policies that will personalize bookings and payments. Travelers appreciate self-service options, but they also want to be able to contact a help desk for complex travel challenges.
Big data is entering the corporate travel realm as employees transition to using their mobile devices for just about everything travel related. Information on travel habits and expenses will drive predictive analytics for travel preferences. The systems will be able to automatically re-book flights and alert travelers of the change. One company says it has cut re-booking time on the average business trip from 60 minutes to six minutes.
With the explosions of voice assistants from Amazon and Google, travel tech companies are piggybacking on the existing technology to deliver travel information. The user experience is already familiar, so travelers will feel comfortable turning to an assistant for help.
Text-based communication is sometimes more appropriate for a business setting, and the information can be more easily stored and shared.
Corporate travel has been transformed by mobile devices just as much as personal travel. With 5G connectivity spreading across the world over the next few years, mobile devices are poised to capture an even large share of the travel market.
Corporate travel technology is set to explode over the next few years, due to the ubiquity of mobile devices and the falling cost of connectivity and data storage. To find out what's just over the horizon, attend ProcureCon Travel 2020. For more information, click here.