We’re on the verge of a massive rollout of new technology that promises to transform corporate travel forever. Ready or not, here it is.
By Miriam Moscovici, Senior Director, Research and Corporate Innovation
Something happened a few months ago; you may have missed it. A startup called Orion Span announced their plan to launch “the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel,” called Aurora Station. They will begin accommodating guests in 2022. Down here on Earth, we’re still talking about hotels renovating their décor and ballrooms.
What we thought was the far future is actually at our door. This is where the fun happens, where rubber (idea) meets road (reality). Space bases have no airport codes—yet. How far are we from selling air segments into orbit? How are we going to “price assure” space shuttles, and what is our duty of care incident tracking map going to look like when we need to show more than just Earth?
We are in the midst of a massive shift to new technology that promises to transform corporate travel forever. Innovations in blockchain, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, machine learning, bots and artificial intelligence are barreling down on us. And here’s the thing— we can do better at identifying related opportunities so our industry can turn outlandish ideas into concrete ways to solve problems. Outsiders to business travel who specialize in emerging technology would love such a treasure map targeting where they should focus their expertise and create value.
That’s why the Research & Intelligence team at BCD Travel is publishing a series of relevant, concise and easy-to-understand papers to help people in our industry (and outsiders) get up to speed on coming changes affecting the way we all do our jobs. The Inform research series explores how the key emerging technologies listed above will affect six areas of corporate travel: sourcing, policy, communications, duty of care, payment and expense and performance management.
These aren’t long, in-depth reports getting into the weeds about each emerging technology; there are plenty of good sources for that. Instead, we’re focusing on how technologies will impact travel programs, illustrated through different use cases across the industry. We’re highlighting opportunities for future and upcoming technological advancements from all sectors of the business world. Each paper offers pertinent, actionable information.
I think this provocative series is coming at the perfect time. At the 2018 Global Business Travel Association Conference in San Diego in August, we heard numerous stories about travel managers who are keen to take advantage of the very opportunities we are covering in the Inform series. At the same time, we heard uncertainty about new technologies and how they will fit into each program. Inform will help increase technology fluency, so our industry can more quickly embrace and capitalize on the inevitable changes coming our way.
Where can you find the series? The first report on sourcing is already available online, and the second on policy is scheduled to drop later this month. The other four will be released by our team over the next few months. So check it out. Cut through the noise and learn how these innovations will have an impact on your travel program. Discover how you can leverage them to add value for your company. This is a call to action for everyone in our industry to embrace new technology, update processes and study your travel programs with a critical eye.
Now, about the luxury hotel in space. If you are like me, the first step is surely a familiarization trip—i.e., a FAM. We’ll figure out the space-booking stuff later, but maybe our current technology will be gateway to get us there. Let’s make use of all those underused “F” keys on our keyboards. I propose using F7 to launch the agent galactic portal.