Drive American

Published on Friday, March 13, 2020

Five business travel trends

Paul Broughton, director of new business for Europe for Travelport, outlines some of the key trends everyone was talking about at last month's Business Travel Show in London.

Voice recognition technology has been around for a long time but what we are starting to see is a transformation in terms of the type of requests a user can put forward. Previously, voice recognition technology was quite basic and early adopters were applying it to things such as FAQs (nothing ground-breaking) but now with natural language processing technology, there is a lot of scope for change in this space.

Super apps
When it comes to super apps, this is a trend that is dominating in Southeast Asia. Examples such as Wechat and Grab give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. The West is starting to recognise the potential of super apps. Some of our customers, like travel management company BCD, are already leaders in app innovation so we're sure lots of TMCs will be thinking about how they can differentiate themselves to their customers by innovating in this space. Keep an eye out during 2020.

AI and machine learning
AI and machine learning is currently in a prediction phase but has started to move beyond that into actions and recommendations. In the coming years we still start to see very strong signs of this progress across apps and the digital space in general, but the question remains, who will be the trailblazers?

Adapting to Gen Z
One of the consistent themes to emerge from our conversations at the Business Travel Show was how to balance higher demand for personalisation and access to wider travel and accommodation options with adherence to corporate travel policy. Recent findings from our 2020 Travel Trends research highlighted how Gen Z are driving corporate travel towards a post digital era in Europe in their pursuit of authentic experiences. In fact, a third of Gen Z who currently make up over 32% of the population (more than millennials) have expressed unhappiness at having to align with corporate travel policies.
Businesses have an opportunity to entice digital native talent by using corporate travel as an incentive, but the challenge is how to balance keeping their Gen Z colleagues satisfied while still fulfilling their duty of care responsibilities.

Big Data
Big data is something that we've been talking about for a long time but have only really scratched the surface of what is possible. A simple booking process with a single user currently generates vast amounts of data from at least 10 different data sources. Businesses have an opportunity to leverage these data points to improve the overall traveller experience, but so far only a handful of companies have been able to do so. The benefits of switching from traditional statistic-based reporting solutions to more advanced analytics solutions that can process all forms of data includes improving personalisation, gaining insights into a traveller's history, predicting and display preferred content, and shifting from an unmanageable cost to a trackable and measurable KPI.


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