Published on Thursday, June 27, 2019

How to stop business travellers going astray

Business travellers are going off grid, so what can TMCs do to stop the flow? Maxim Sevastianov, CEO of Traveknowledgy shares his view.

Booking travel for pleasure is easy and intuitive with unlimited choice. Travellers can book a trip or reserve a hotel or Airbnb wherever they are via their mobile or tablet. Why should business travel be any different? Travellers want the same when they're booking for a business trip but the problem is that this isn't always the case. As a result, business travellers are migrating away from the traditional travel tools and booking outside the usual company approval process.

Business travellers are more cost conscious than ever before and know they can often get better rates, either by booking directly or through an agent. They can also get better alternative accommodation compared to the usual rooms and hotels available through their company's booking tools. They want more choice and an improved service.

In response, TMCs must extend the range of hotels available to their corporate customers and secure better rates by expanding their providers. They also need to make bookings easier and mobile friendly. TMCs need to provide a booking experience that compares with the expectations and service consumers now demand - extensive choice, competitive pricing and a seamless and efficient booking process.~

TMCs should to look internally at their processes and consider how technology can help them identify clients' requirements - think analytics, artificial intelligence and big data, which can address these needs before they become an issue. Automation will help improve pre and post-booking processes.~These tasks take time and use valuable resources which can be put to better use advising clients on travel options, routes and venues.

Partnerships with tech providers create opportunities for TMCs. Small tech businesses can bring fresh new ideas and ways to shop, providing truly integrated, traveller-centric products and services. They can introduce automation, artificial intelligence or new software for mobile devices.~ Personalised digital travel concierge services on mobile apps provide itinerary management, day of travel assistance and real time alterations. Services like these allow the business traveller to make the most of their trip, using some free time to explore the area. Other emerging technology includes chatbots that help travellers through their journey by giving them the ability to ask a question at any point throughout their trip. Companies like FCM Travel solutions are already experimenting with these new services.

Last year Amex GBT announced a partnership with Boston start-up Lola enabling Amex GBT to offer small and midsize enterprise-focused travel businesses a solution to simplify and accelerate the travel management experience. Travellers were given access to an omnichannel experience 24/7 support chat and the right content for them. GBT know where their employees are, now have a one click expense integration and a VIP traveller support experience. It's technology and partnerships like this that will drive this industry forward and stop business travellers going astray.

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