Globalisation has led to important changes in several industries around the world, including in the corporate travel world. Things like artificial intelligence, mobile technologies, biometrics and a ‘sharing’ economy are shaping up to play a huge part in the future of our business travel services. Here we take a look at the top 5 corporate travel trends for 2018.
‘Talking tech’ is becoming somewhat of a universal language when it comes to business travel trends, particularly in the form of mobile apps – it seems spreadsheets simply won’t cut it any more! More and more corporate travellers are using technology platforms to manage their expenses, capture receipts, and monitor their travel spend and timetables, and it does make good business sense.
Those monitoring expenses back at head office also need reports to be able to manage expense reimbursement, and more companies, especially big multi-nationals, are wanting to analyse data. This helps companies plan and budget and minimise the complicated admin process that often goes hand in hand with managing employee travel.
A host of providers have also made significant headway in terms of the mobile payment space in 2018. Corporate cards are incredibly useful in terms of security, convenience and spending transparency. But as more retailers, credit card companies and banks take on the platform, the more likely it will become that mobile payments will become the preferred choice.
In terms of travel industry trends, the rise of AI and smart technology has led to the development of several tools to assist both the business traveller and those involved with business travel bookings. Business travel in future may be done solely via apps and even AI will be used to monitor and personalise an employee’s travel experience. This combination of data and machine learning also enables automation and allows customers to interpret information in order to create better efficiencies.
AI is also becoming an essential tool in terms of planning travel and enhancing the travel experience. It can improve bookings, and provide travel managers or travel bookers speedy access to the most rewarding and cost-effective options for their travel programs. It can also assist with forecasting things like hotels and flights, and give travellers quick access to any relevant travel information they need. AI-powered emergency tools can also help businesses to identify where their employees are during a business trip and confirm their safety.
‘Smart luggage’ is also becoming increasingly popular, with some travel bags now incorporating remote locking technology, internal chargers for smartphone devices and sensor systems that can sync with airlines.
‘Bleisure’ has become a bit of a buzzword in terms of travel industry trends this year. Bleisure travel refers to business travel that’s mixed with leisure, in other words, business trips that extend to leisure activities as well. Employees are increasingly looking to relax with a weekend of ‘downtime’ in a nearby destination after the work trip is over.
Another trend affecting business travel in 2018 is the continuing development of the ‘sharing’ economy. Home-sharing services like Airbnb are seeing more overseas business travellers in particular booking them in order to authentically experience foreign culture while they’re away. Corporate travellers are also starting to avoid too-busy tourist spots. Instead, they’re opting to travel to local destinations that offer immersive and holiday activities they can enjoy after the working week is done.
Another business travel trend that continues to gain popularity is engaging a travel management company to do all the hard work for you. A dedicated Travel Manager will normally be assigned to your company and offer knowledgeable advice on what will suit your travel needs.
They will then be able to book the flights and accommodation you prefer and give you access to the broadest range of fares and pricing. They’ll provide access to Frequent Flyer opportunities, flexible rates, discounted lounge passes and exclusive travel programs. And they will also make sure you have 24/7 access, whether it’s assistance with itinerary changes or help in the event of an emergency. Some even offer these services seven days a week, including on weekends!
Travel Managers can also help you make smart decisions in terms of saving time and money. From the booking process through to your end-of-month expense calculations and budgeting, travel management companies can make the process of travelling for business easier than ever.
Number five on our list of corporate travel trends for 2018, safety and security has become even more important due to complex politics and global terrorism exposing more travellers to risky environments. In fact, it’s been said that protecting employees is the ‘new global travel imperative’.
Employers and businesses now have a lot more to consider than just signing off on flights, accommodation and expenses for their frequent travellers. That’s why it’s critical that those who organise corporate travel stay abreast of the latest developments and alerts and implement a detailed travel risk policy.
Biometrics (metrics related to human characteristics) in the air transport sector is also now seriously being considered with Qantas and Sydney Airport recently trialling facial recognition technology. This could eventually mean that travellers can pass through check-in, bag drop and the lounge and board their flight using only their face as a means of identification. The future of travel is certainly looking interesting!
Why not read about the latest corporate travels from the comfort of one of our luxury chauffeured cars? Contact Hughes Limousines on 1300 615 165.