Business travel has been greatly enhanced by the emergence of new technologies. Travel technology company Amadeus released a paper on “The Future of Corporate Travel”, where experts identified the top tech business travel trends for the coming year.
The trend of “B-leisure” travel, which is combining leisure time and activities into business trips, is most popular in Asia. Amadeus found that Asian corporate travellers are twice as likely to book work trips that include weekends than those from Europe.
Even though there are multiple technology solutions for virtual meetings, business travel in Southeast Asia is still on the rise and is predicted to double between 2020 to 2025, with the forecast for the region eventually accounting for 50 percent of the world’s total expenditure on travelling for work.
“The Future of Corporate Travel”, written and contributed to by different experts in the field, identifies five emerging tech trends for business travel that we will see more of in 2020:
Say connected with “super-apps”
Nowadays, there are dozens and more apps catering to corporate travellers—apps for airlines, travel agencies, hotels and all other bookings.
The future of all these apps is the move to one “super-app”, where users can book, amend or add to plans, get an itinerary and claim business expenses all in one handy and efficient app.
Popular apps like WeChat, LINE, KakaoTalk, Grab, and Go-Jek are expanding their capabilities to include other functionalities and content, ranging from food and shopping delivery, mobility options, media, travel, and payments.
Experts predict that the “super-app” will take over all the rest, giving business travellers easy access and efficiency to everything they need for a smooth trip.
Faster 5G networks
Many technologies have benefitted from faster 5G networks, which is changing the business travel landscape. More data and higher speeds mean that more advanced devices will emerge, like self-driving cars and smart cities, plus and increased personalisation utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Better and wider “hyper-connectivity” means that travel companies can provide clients with a “seamless travel experience”, from home to airport, airport to hotel, and so on.
“Business travel is no longer just about getting to and from home. It is a series of experiences that demand an intuitive, streamlined management – which is driven through mobile. I’m convinced that the 5G rollout will completely transform the corporate traveller’s mobile experience. For starters, access to unlimited data will allow for more informative and productive business trips while on the other side corporations will be able to provide better guidance for their corporate travelers in terms of access to hotel, transfer and destination services in virtual reality format.”
— Edgar Vega, Commercial Head of APAC, Mobile, Amadeus
The Asia-Pacific region has seen an increase in human and computer interaction, specifically with voice technology.
More travel companies are investing in voice technology, which means that businesses will have easy access to travellers’ profiles and will receive real-time alerts and in-flight amenity checks. What this means is that everyone—travel consultants and travellers themselves—will be able to access all of that information just using their voice.
“I personally think voice will be the differentiator moving forward. If you think of it, talking to one another is the most natural thing humans do. Typing, swiping and other forms of interaction are all just intermediate steps, as we are unable to efficiently talk to a machine. This will change, and companies that devise the most efficient way of selling high value and high engagement products via voice will lead in the future.”
— Nishank Gopalkrishnan, Chief Business Officer, Musement
Melding security technologies with a smoother travel experience
Security is always on top priority when it comes to travelling for business. Maximum security has often meant a longer, less efficient travel experience. Experts are saying that a new trend for the travel industry is the mastering of security technologies with a seamless travel experience.
For example, biometric technology has innovated the way we deal with security. It has cut down on time and effort. In terms of travel, long lines for manual passport scanning and security checks will soon become passé.
Amadeus itself is working with several airports to use biometrics to cut down drastically on wait times. Automation and remotely-hosted biometrics solutions are the future of the travel industry. This will help business travellers spend their travel time more wisely and effectively and should help those who travel regularly for work experience higher morale and more job satisfaction.
“In business travel there are two goals that corporations need to consider – security and seamless travel. The tricky part is applying them in such a way that one goal isn’t achieved at the expense of the other. Better yet, technology needs to evolve that can improve both sides of the equation. For business travelers there are some opportunities in credentialing that could help authorities in risk profiling and crowd management.”
—Faisal Ariff, Founder and CEO, BorderPass
Evolving duty of care
Employers in most countries have a “legal and ethical duty of care” to their employees who travel for work. Companies who send their employees on work trips should do all that is necessary to ensure employees’ health and safety as they travel.
Travel experts are saying that with the rise of new technologies, companies will be evolving their approach to duty of care for their employees. It is now more about real-time duty of care using mobile technology and instant messaging, which allows employers to keep in touch with employees who are travelling to make sure they are alright. This way, companies can provide assistance to employees as needed and without any delays as well as handle any disruptions at work in real-time. -/TISG
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