Are you struggling to stay on top of the latest technology advances in travel? Are your travelers’ pushing the boundaries of your travel program? The Global Business Travel Association expects total U.S. business travel spending to grow by 3 percent in 2015, approximately $310 billion, and by 6 percent in 2016. Here are the top three trends in business travel that we see fueling the push for technology solutions.
#1: Mobile management
Mobile technology brings real time flexibility and control to the traveler. Continued advancements in mobile technology point to a future of interactive software that proactively guides travelers through their journey, helping schedule, book and coordinate trip itineraries across flight, hotel and ground transportation. According to a report by PhocusWright, 94% of business travelers own a smartphone, and mobile wearables are predicted to innovate the travel space. Travel companies are beginning to leverage these trends to soothe pain points and provide a more enjoyable travel experience. With the emergence of tools like Microsoft Translator, which aids travelers by translating speech, text, and websites, it’s even easier for travelers to communicate with customers and colleagues across the globe. LoungeBuddy can match a traveler to an airport lounge based on the services needed by the traveler. Loungebuddy is even integrated in TripCase so travelers can manage every aspect of their trip—including the unexpected—in one place on their mobile device. Search for a pre-flight shower, a pre-flight meal, or read user reviews. At the current rate of innovation intelligence, the impact of these mobile advancements will be highly visible by the year 2020.
#2: Location services
Analyst firm ABI research predicts that by 2017, the indoor location technology market will reach $5 billion in revenues, represent over 200,000 installations of infrastructure equipment, including Wi-Fi hotspots, Bluetooth antennas, etc., and over 800 million branded applications downloads. The indoor location market is positioned for explosive growth in the future and the travel industry has potential to drastically enhance the traveler experience.
Airlines and airports already rely on indoor sensors to track the flow of passengers and identify roadblocks in traffic between the curb and the gate. These tools allow travel providers to alert passengers through text messages, travel apps and emails if a flight is delayed or canceled, or if a departure gate changes. In the future, with a traveler’s opted-in consent, an airline will be able to more closely track travelers’ movements through the GPS device on their phones and send relevant information to the passenger and even locate them in the airport if they are late to the gate. In the not-so-distant future, travelers will have a more precise way to locate which carousel their baggage will arrive on and how long they can expect to wait
#3: Virtual payments
Virtual payments offer the corporate travel manager peace of mind when it comes to payment and reconciliation. In a recent GBTA report, findings revealed, “that travel buyers’ use of virtual cards rose to 20 percent year over year”. This is good news for travel managers looking to apply consistent policy and maintain payment security – all while accommodating the increased need for traveler flexibility. Virtual cards function in the same manner as traditional credit cards but with added benefits. Through Sabre Virtual Payments, a virtual card can be deployed with controls like one time use, spending limits and date specifications and merchant category controls. All of which improve security and prevent traveler misuse.
Don’t get left behind
New trends in the business travel space mean more effectiveness, lower costs and a decrease in traveler risk and liability. Business travelers are craving a more personal experience, while travel managers are embracing new trends to increase their effectiveness and enhance travelers’ experience. For more information about the evolution of the manager role, download our whitepaper or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.