In a recent ITM member survey, 43% of travel buyers said that the speed of tech developments in the travel sector left them confused. When you consider we are now in an "always on, always connected" environment where information flows 24/7, it's not entirely surprising. In fact, this digital revolution has shown to have no boundaries which has resulted in technology becoming the single most important force shaping managed travel today.
Corporate technology market; consumers lead the way
It took 76 years for the telephone to penetrate half of all US households, the smartphone achieved the same feat in less than a decade.
This explosive growth of mobile platforms and how they can meet the needs of today' always connected business travellers is a common challenge for the global managed travel community. As travellers now book so much leisure travel online, they believe they are experts when it comes to booking business travel, and expect the same level of experience during their business trip. This high expectation has led to most corporate technologies disappointing and even frustrating their corporate travel users.
As the leisure travel industry has led the way in developing intuitive booking tools and management platforms and meeting traveller expectations, it has compelled TMC’s to refine their digital user experiences too. American Express Global Business Travel’s acquisition of KDS is an example of a major industry player looking to pivot towards a more technologically focussed strategy instead of the traditional serviced based model. We would certainly expect to see more consolidation as TMC's continually attempt to sew up any technology shortcomings and become more appealing to the mobile connected business travellers.
With Millennials soon to make up the majority of the workforce, 83% of travel managers responded that Next Generation (NextGen) travellers are already influencing their travel programme.
Millennials engage with technology as a form of natural language that plays an integral part in their daily lives. It’s a shift in mindset that is fundamentally reshaping the way people have relationships with one another - and even themselves. For Millennials, technology is a crucial way in which they organise and live their lives. From a travel management perspective, this means that Millennials will voice their ideas and views to who they like and whenever they like - rather than to silently comply with directives.
Additionally, even though there is a de facto willingness to accept new technology amongst young travellers, they do expect the technology to work instantly, and be simple to use. If they do not immediately understand it, there could be an increased risk to leakage as they seek to book travel outside of their organisation's travel policy.
Emerging travel technology possibilities
Making more sense of it
Having the right technology in place can be a daunting journey for a Travel Manager, who may often be unqualified in this potentially expensive road to improvement. From identifying the need to improving productivity, streamlining the customer experience, and reducing cost - there is ultimately a lot to consider.
With different approaches required, our technology workshops can help focus on the differing perspectives of payment systems, Global Distribution Systems (GDS), online booking tools, expense management systems, and TMC's with their own offerings. You will be able to hear what other Travel Managers have done with their programmes, what works and what doesn't, and how the next generation of travellers and technology can align to reduce the stress levels of travel buyers.
Relevant ITM Events