When context is everything, offering relevant information at the right time and place to the traveler is fundamental. But travel technology needs to speak to the traveler in the simplest way. Technology should bring together the travelers, the corporations and the travel management companies (TMCs), and aim to serve the best interest of all three parties. The reality is that new technologies enable a win-win for all.
Conversational interfaces offer opportunities for a more integrated traveler experience
It remains true, even more so today, that for some travelers the mobile phone is the main point of contact with their corporation or TMCs. Mobile is also a vital tool for travelers too when in-destination, and as a result it offers a significant opportunity for the corporation or its TMC. Instant Messaging has become the world’s number one communication tool. In 2017, there were more than 5 billion users on messaging apps, according to Hubspot. Companies need to grasp this opportunity as a way to cross sell, upsell, service and interact with the traveler at each step of the journey.
When combined with the power of artificial intelligence (AI), they can remove the hassle of logging into a self-booking or expense tool and offer travelers a more personalized and hassle-free experience. Artificial intelligence and bots – from travel companion to travel assistant to travel essential – corporations and TMCs sit on a massive amount of data and should leverage this data as a way to build predictive analysis and benchmarks, and to offer relevant and instant information to travelers.
Virtual and augmented reality could enhance traveler confidence
Virtual and augmented reality are very likely to be game changers for the travel industry. In 2016, over 11 million virtual reality (VR) headsets were sold worldwide, according to Statista. VR is expected to reach as much as $70bn by 2020 according to TrendForce, therefore now is arguably the time to get on board with virtual and augmented reality in the corporate travel space. Some leading travel players are already developing interesting solutions. In 2017, we have seen the first VR booking thanks to Navitaire, an Amadeus company, where travelers can purchase a flight and go through the entire booking process from shopping to payment thanks to their VR headset.
Lifting the challenges of business travel today
As technology advances, so do the options to better connect, serve and inspire travelers. Connecting the entire travel ecosystem and powering smarter business travel at every stage of the journey is key for corporations and TMCs to stay relevant.
Download our report, Better Business, Smarter Travel, for more perspectives on managed travel.