4 in 5 travel managers predict the number of business trips their company takes to be higher or much higher in 2023 compared to 2022. This is great news for businesses and the hospitality industry alike as it puts business travel on track to return to 2019 levels. However, much like every other travel sector, the business travel scene has undergone a lot of changes in recent years.
What employees expect when traveling for business has shifted dramatically. These demands have been directly affected by business travel trends, such as technology innovations. So, where are we now? What’s trending, and why? And most importantly, how can you harness these trends to offer your employees the best business travel experience? We’ve identified the top three business travel tech trends driving corporate travel…
Artificial intelligence (machine learning simulating human processes) has seamlessly integrated into both our personal and professional lives. Examples include face detection and text autocorrect on our mobile phones, websites using chatbots for immediate customer support, and automated smart home tech devices, like thermostats and smart locks for an elevated living experience.
For business travel, AI can be useful in a number of ways, including travel contingency management, standardizing policies and improving compliance, and employee safety. Employers looking to simplify their processes and improve their duty of care to traveling employees may wish to adopt AI solutions. Software, such as GeoSure, gives employers access to real-time data on travel location risks, so you can choose the best destination for an employee’s trip or provide alerts to those already traveling.
Machine learning platforms, with features such as Home Match™ technology, can also aid the researching and booking process for business travel accommodation. Tailored online booking tools enable travel managers and employees to find suitable housing options faster. As these offerings mature, they’ll begin to drive booking confidence, especially when travel managers are navigating large-scale travel.
Other solutions include live location tracking, which informs companies of their employee’s whereabouts for safety assurance, automated messaging for guest support, and automated transport update messages about delays and cancellations. Equipping yourself and your employees with these tools helps to simplify the navigation of international destinations, improves safety measures, and in some cases, saves on costs, like capping costs associated with booking travel.
Adjacent to the rise in AI solutions, we’re observing an increase in the installment and use of virtual assistants in various accommodations. Examples include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana. According to FCM, ‘voice is likely to be the next big thing in travel technology’.
Choosing specialist housing accommodation with tech advancements, such as virtual assistants, allows companies to improve their employees' business travel experiences. For example, voice-activated devices enable business travelers to easily check itineraries, accommodation rules, and location-related information from their rooms without needing to contact customer support.
Housing, transport, food - you name it, everything can be paid for via contactless methods these days. So, it’s no surprise that the contactless payment market is expected to reach over $18 billion in the next five years. This is great news for business travelers who need to keep track of their spending to claim back expenses. The main bonus of contactless payments is the convenience it offers. Business travelers won’t have to worry about changing money into the local currency prior to a trip, fluctuating exchange rates, and whether or not they will run out of cash.
Many have gone a step further and left their bank cards at home, using apps and e-wallets on their phones instead for payments, as well as for transport tickets and digital identification.
The contactless experience will continue to develop and become the ‘norm’ in other areas too, such as self check-in for flights and accommodation, helping business travelers minimize inconveniences during a busy schedule. What’s more, we’ll see more use of technology like SMS messaging for contactless communication between guests and property managers.
Business travel is essential for companies looking to expand their client base, satisfy and retain talent, and remain knowledgeable in their specialized sector. So, as it begins to edge towards its full potential again, with conferences and in-person meetings up and running, travel managers must acknowledge how different the business travel landscape is now. Business travelers expect seamless experiences during their trips and relocations. Luckily, with the support of advancing technology, like AI, virtual assistants, and contactless methods, managers can begin to work towards meeting these expectations.
3Sixty, the business travel industry’s most secure and intuitive accommodation platform, helps employees to book and manage their stay in over one million quality, cost-effective rooms and properties around the world.
Remove the fuss from business travel accommodation booking with our online booking tool.