Expectations for travel in 2030

Smarter capabilities in artificial intelligence is in.

Hotel delivery services by a robot is out.

Preventative sustainability strategies are in.

Driverless cars are out.

Faster and cheaper travel is desired. Space travel right now not so important.

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This is the status quo on travel by 2030 according to the next generation of travellers.

A recent survey of what the next generation of corporate travellers expect from the travel industry by 2030, fuelled an insightful discussion between Felicity Burke, FCM Consulting General Manager APAC, Dean Easton, The Australian National University Manager, Travel Services and Murray Warner, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Serko at this week’s CTC Australasia’s Corporate Travel & Sustainability Summit.

Felicity kicked off her session Expectations for travel in 2030 with a graph showing the strength of the travel market next year.  

“Travel is back … and after the nine months that we’ve just been through, it’s truly exciting to see everyone in the industry rebound,” Felicity said. “We’ve gone through a massive amount of change in that nine months and if you look at the forecast for 2023 it’s almost back to 2019 levels.”

The rebound however has come on the back of some hefty expectations for change from the industry including a move towards more sustainable travel, agile technology and tools that enable travellers to make more informed decisions.

The session included two videos of Generation Z travellers, who highlighted what they wanted to see from the industry by 2030. The Gen Z commentary included a call to overhaul aircraft seating configuration, cheaper, faster and more accessible travel along with preventative rather than reactive sustainability strategies for travel programs.

When asked what the expectations for travel in 2030 was from the university sector - Dean Easton, The Australian National University Manager, Travel Services said mobile tech and travel intel were important.

“Our travellers want to make bookings on their phone apps, they want to manage expenses and changes on an app, they don’t want to be reliant on humans. They are time poor,” he said.

He went on to say the post-pandemic period had seen high engagement between university travellers and the organisation’s risk management provider.

“There is so much uncertainty … travellers are saying, well I haven’t been back to Japan for a while, what’s it like?” Dean said. “Giving them the information to make informed decisions is important. And as the world goes back to the way it was pre-pandemic - if you can incorporate this intel into travel technology, it’s going to give them more confidence to continue travelling. It's all about getting the information in the one place.”

Murray Warner, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Serko said his company used various strategies to develop technology to suit market requirements. He said it was important to have a diverse group of people reviewing the technology, the coding and the design to ensure tools could meet user expectations into the future.

“We have people reviewing our technology from different backgrounds, generations, countries and ages, as well as engaging and sourcing feedback from different user-groups such as clients, travel management companies and suppliers. It’s important to bring all these stakeholders into the design of the technology. Serko also runs hackathons to come up with different software solutions.”

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After more than two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Japan is making a big push to return to normalcy by allowing tourist groups into the country, the world’s top tourist destination.

Behind closed borders, Japan’s corporate travel scene has also morphed over the past two years. Digital empowerment, brought on forcibly by COVID-19, is increasingly a part of it, said Kenichi Shiraishi, General Manager, FCM Japan at a FCM Th!nk Singapore event earlier this year.
Beginning with the revolution in mobile technology taking root way back from pre-pandemic days to now, FCM has always recognised that the era of personalised travel would one day dominate. Over the years, FCM spruced up its corporate travel offerings, creating a range of services to assist business travellers in enjoying less stressful and more productive business travel.