2019 is the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac—but it’s also the year of the business traveler, according to global travel management company BCD Travel. The TMC recently identified upcoming trends that will enhance the traveler experience and help companies align corporate travel with business goals. Here are three on the list:
1. Interacting with robots
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in business travel continues to rise—from the friendly chat bot that provides airline web support to the voice-command assistant that takes room service orders. In 2019, robots may help travelers park their cars at the airport and find gates and restaurants. AI and the internet of things (IoT) applications may also play an important role in relieving traffic congestion in major business cities.
2. Traveling without cash
Ground transportation is leading the way in cashless payments. According to the Evening Standard newspaper, half of all London Underground journeys are now made using contactless payments. New York and Boston are also adopting cashless systems
3. Personalized trip experiences
In 2019, personal preferences will play a much larger role in traveler service and satisfaction. Business travelers expect the same personalized, simple and seamless experience they get from consumer brands, and they’re willing to share identifying information in exchange for convenience and service. Suppliers will increasingly gather relevant data about traveler brand preferences, booking behavior and travel patterns. Corporate programs will merge that information with travel policy to influence travelers’ spending decisions and improve service.
“Creating personalized experiences for travelers may not seem important at first. However, if you don’t create happy, well and joyful business travelers, they are going to book outside of the program,” says Miriam Moscovici, BCD’s innovation expert and leader of the team that produces the widely read BCD Travel Industry Forecast.
“Savvy companies will work with their travel agencies to develop happiness quotients to measure the satisfaction of their travelers so they can keep traveler satisfaction high,” Moscovici said. That answer might be as simple as giving travelers seat upgrades on long-haul flights.”
ICYMI: Check out these resources on hot topics in corporate travel management
- Industry predictions: Access a replay of the 2018 BCD Travel Industry Forecast webinar for an in-depth look at next year’s outlook for air, hotel, meetings and ground transportation; the global and regional macroeconomic factors influencing travel; and key industry developments that could affect managed travel in the coming year.
- Emerging technologies in managed travel: Approached from a travel manager’s point of view, the Inform series on emerging technologies aims to close a knowledge gap within the travel industry when it comes to understanding the implications of digital technology. This is real-world information for real-world programs.
- Quality management: Are you trying to determine what makes a business trip successful? You may be measuring the wrong things. A recently released report, Quality Management in Business Travel, takes a look at five ways travel managers can measure quality.