Thanks to technological advances and their own growing demands, the lives of business travellers are set to become increasingly digital in the years ahead. By 2020 their everyday experience will be entirely based on devices and online services, though it is not entirely certain they want it that way.
Already an integral part of the everyday lives of business travellers before and during their journeys, digital technologies, tools and devices are expected to occupy an even more important place between now and 2020, all with the aim of simplifying, shortening and streamlining travel and hotel booking processes and also making travel itself a more enjoyable experience.
Permanent support for travellers
Travel solutions provider Sabre and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) have joined forces to compile a study entitled The Digital Business Traveller, which states that users will demand ongoing support from agencies and other stakeholders when it comes to organising and undertaking travel. In seeking to meet the demand for something that brings – as the report points out – satisfaction to business travellers, the industry’s decision-makers are looking to create an entirely digital experience for their customers.
The smartphone as a focal point
The smartphone will be crucial to achieving all this. The years to come will see continued growth in the number of apps and platforms designed especially for employees who travel as part of their work. The authors of the report believe this technology can automatically take business travellers’ meetings, journeys and preferences automatically into account, without the need for them to talk to anyone, and also send them reminders about ticket bookings.
Advances such as this can be made possible by the ability of self-booking tools to synchronise with travel management programmes. The development of such services should also help business travellers to prepare and make journeys.
A series of practical functions
Practical functions such as the storage of data for personalising the travel experience, facial recognition for speeding up the check-in process, and the virtual payment of expenses can all come to the aid of business travellers. Yet, as the answers given by the study’s participants show, only a small number of professionals use this payment method when they are travelling.
For it to be fully efficient, the digital revolution of business travel requires people to accept that information relating to them and the journeys they make will be collated, recorded and shared with their employer or companies operating in the industry. The fact remains, however, that even though the idea is to deliver a more pleasant travel experience, it is one that still unsettles many business travellers.
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