The ‘rise of the traveller’ has procurement managers looking at more innovative technology to make the booking and payment of travel easier for their staff. Nationally, organisations across sectors are looking at ways to ‘decentralise’ travel programs and empower travellers to make decisions about their own travel.
According to UK-based air intelligence company, OAG, travellers would consider booking their travel on a wide range of online platforms. The OAG report revealed which platforms travellers would most consider booking their travel through. The results indicated, that if given the choice, travellers would consider a broad mix of web, chat and social platforms to book their travel through.
- 32% of respondents favoured consumer platforms like Amazon, Facebook and Google
- 28% favoured automated chat agents on websites
- 25% were likely to use mobile assistants like Apple Siri and Google Assistant
- 20% favoured text messages
- 18% didn’t mind voice automated systems like Amazon Echo and Google Home
- 9% favoured social media messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
According to Melissa Elf, General Manager of leading corporate travel company FCM Travel Solutions, these platforms were more likely to appeal to the leisure traveller, and if they were being used in the business travel sector would be part of an integrated and managed travel program.
“These findings are not unexpected considering the industry has been moving from cross channel to omni-channel servicing models. Additionally the research validates FCM’s investment into the introduction of new channels for our servicing platforms such as the ability to chat with a consultant via SAM - our AI-powered travel chatbot and our live chat services that are available on our website,” Melissa said.
“Additionally what happens in leisure travel often has some level of influence on tech development in the corporate travel space. There are learnings to be had from the leisure space and we know that corporate booking technology, mobile apps and other online solutions now in the market or being developed, are replicating certain elements from these consumer oriented platforms.
“The upshot for corporate travellers is that the new generation of online technology is far more user friendly, personal and customised for corporate travellers.
“The new technology that FCM is working on, incorporates the easy user-experience of a retail travel platform with the design and functionality that is uniquely suited to business travel.
“In being specifically designed for business travellers, online booking platforms not only consolidate all booking data, but they also provide access to preferred supplier rates, have functionality to support reporting, traveller tracking, re-using airline credit or making changes.”
Melissa added that the new generation of online booking, mobile and expense tools was customised for a company’s travel program and policies, and worked to not only connect different travel stakeholders but supported a decentralised approach to travel program approvals.
“With so many booking platforms now available for companies,” Melissa said “it was important organisations are working with a travel partner that was not only invested in the future of travel and the future of travel technology but also could guide and advise companies on new solutions that support their commercial goals and provide a great user experience for their travellers.
“While we keep an eye on all the new tools and technology released to market, our approach has been to work with our travel specialists and our technology partners to create solutions that are specific to the corporate market. Corporates need so much more than just a familiar user interface for bookings. Our role is to make sure we combine the user experience with everything else big businesses need for effective travel management these days such as integration, consolidation, automation and visibility.”