Faster, smarter, better? Emerging technologies and trends and their impact on managed travel
This latest global research by the CWT Travel Management Institute explores the main emerging technologies and trends impacting managed travel today. Drawing on industry experts, case studies and extensive surveys, the report shows how travelers and travel managers are adapting to change, eager to make the most of new tools and services. Starting from more than 15 technologies and trends, five main themes emerge:
- Mobile technology. This is the leading trend for survey respondents, who consider the impact on managed travel to be high. Key developments include seamless “multichannel” access across devices, all-in-one “power apps,” wearable technologies and location-based services (e.g. keyless hotel room entry, airport alerts and enhanced online interaction between meeting attendees). A clear mobile policy can steer travelers toward approved apps and solutions and address data security concerns.
- Customization. Big Data, social media and IATA’s new distribution capability (NDC) for airline inventory are three main drivers in customizing the traveler experience while supporting program objectives. In particular, the traveler profiles used to tailor booking services are becoming more powerful thanks to sophisticated analyses of booking and browsing behavior, combined with data from other sources.
- The sharing economy. Many travelers are using services such as Airbnb for accommodation and Uber for ground transportation. The barriers to adoption in managed travel are coming down as sharing economy brands adapt their offerings to the managed travel market, tackling safety/security and expense management issues.
- New booking solutions. Travel managers are increasingly interested in fare and rate tracking technology that enables their programs to generate further savings. They are also looking for technology-based, proactive rebooking services to assist employees who face trip disruptions.
- New payment solutions. Companies are also evaluating new payment solutions that help simplify processes, reinforce program compliance and protect against fraud. Single-use “virtual card” solutions, for example, allow travelers to buy travel using a central payment system similar to lodge cards but offered by a wider range of suppliers, including hotels and low-cost carriers.
In terms of evolving technology and trends, managed travel is certainly becoming faster, smarter and even better when the new tools and processes are used wisely.