How Technology is Revolutionizing the Travel Industry

Technology is revolutionizing? 

It has already revolutionized. We are heading into 2020 and technology is all around us. Check your pocket, you might have one or two, it might even be how you are reading this blog! This is the world of technological advancement which has already revolutionized the way we do business and travel is no exception. Technology has fundamentally changed the way business is done in the travel industry across the continent. 

The corporate travel market is huge but not that prominent compared to the leisure travel business, which is definitely a big industry, but corporate travel is increasing. The globalization of the industry is seen by more transactions by more flights internationally and so people need to be connected to make a business that builds networks and that prepare the ground for future projects.

How technology is leading to globalization and access to business travel across the world?

The complete corporate travel depends on travel tech as it eases the travel agencies' job by simply connecting them with their customers and promoting their travel products. Similarly, the need for a personalized, quick, and hassle-free travel experience is increasing so that travelers can focus on their business objectives rather than the trip nuisance. A report from the World Travel and Tourism Council unveiled that business travel accounts for $1.3 trillion of global travel spending annually and is set to rise at 3.7% per annum over the next ten years.   Tweet This! 

Coming years will bring many more crucial changes that will advance and skyrocket business travel. The latest technological modifications, coupled with an increased focus on traveler satisfaction, means that travel is becoming more personalized and adaptable. Innovative travel technology helps corporate travel agencies manage the communication activities with the travelers during their trip so that essential facilities such as car rentals, security, cash conversion, etc. can be provided to them spontaneously. As long as the traveler can interact with the respective travel agency through different devices one of which is 4G phones (throughout the world are revolutionizing travel by just moving fingertips), making+ travelers feel reassured while roaming around a new city. 

Today’s travelers are impulsive and want information quickly. A recent study with Phocuswright suggests that more than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal. 

How technology is breaking down barriers and positively impacting the business travel world?

The travel industry has just gotten smarter with data and data is at the heart of everything that we do and particularly when it comes to personalization when it comes to customization. Corporate travelers are seeking an amalgam of digital solutions and human intrusion. Internet and new technologies have wholly remodeled consumption behaviors and the corporate travel sector has advanced remarkably with digital technologies. According to Egencia, 75% of business travelers are using their smartphones both for personal and professional reasons during their trips.

The digital revolution has brought an all-new level of discoveries in technology. There have never been more applications than today. We see progressions in artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, gadgets, augmented reality, and also virtual reality. In this digital era, we have an application for everything.  

Next, in this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the technological advances employed positively by leading TMCs, currently leaving their mark on the business travel industry.

Technology brings together the travel management companies, the corporation, and the travelers and assists the best interest of all three. It is a win-win for all. 

Mobile and smartphones

Mobile and smartphones have modified the way we explore, book and pay for business travel. According to FCM Travels, ‘39% of hotel and 22% of air bookings now come from smartphones. 5G is predicted to improve connectivity 1,000-fold and cover 90% of the U.S. within 4 years. It’s tough not to see mobile grabbing an even higher chare of travel distribution by 2020’. 

The acceleration of mobile technology has enhanced internet connectivity. Business travelers use suitable travel apps and are too confident making purchases online, and booking their trips with the help of an app. Instead of calling a person in the office, they choose to control some of their business travel themselves. 

Corporate travel app Lola provides smooth, personalized, and hassle-free trip planning for corporate personalities who frequently travel for work and uses chat as the main medium to connect its concierge and clients

Lola.com’s intuitive platform and consumer-grade mobile app connect you directly to a massive index of flights and hotels, making it easy to book the most convenient and affordable travel options.

 

 

Source: Lola

According to Global Business Travel, ‘Mobile devices will take personalization even further shortly with "smart" services based on user activity and preferences. These services will help business travelers with everything from planning and booking travel to getting through day-to-day logistics when they’re on the road’. 

Mobile makes personalization more adaptable through mobile apps, collecting and using data, and giving targeted information. BCD Travels, Tripsource app- a total trip management platform that provides travelers with detailed itineraries, pre-trip notifications, flight updates, and the best booking options. Accessible from any device, TripSource gives travelers access to company guidelines that keep them in the program.

 

Source: BCD Travel

Earlier, the app earned a Best Mobile App Award, and it took home the Web Marketing Association’s Outstanding Mobile App Award.

Courtesy of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Machine Learning

According to FCM Travels, together these technologies will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

TMCs sits on a massive amount of data and should leverage this data as a way to build predictive analysis and benchmarks. Lydie Charpin - Amadeus

Travel management companies maintain a massive amount of data, which is leveraged by them to offer relevant and ready-to-use information to travelers. These abundances of data are understood through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural network technology. AI has got the potential to make business travel much simple. 

Business travel management companies are already experiencing the impact of AI, in daily processes.  From providing insights from data information in a timely manner, improving the speed and accuracy of truly personalized offers customers wants from airlines, hotels, rental companies, etc., AI Google map providing updates that includes departure, delays and other notifications based on the assigned location, providing built-in security on online purchasing things, making communication much easier by enabling updated version of AI-based Google Translate app that makes the translate more accurate and meaningful, breaking the language barrier, to making recommendations on events and activities based on your travel destination. The list is endless.

Chatbots in Travel

The importance of AI assures better personalization for the business traveler. Lots of business travel trip search begins with googling and ends up with online travel agencies. To stay away from tiresome planning and ease the booking process, we can use chatbots – mobile user-friendly personal assistants with sensible and predictive capabilities. A chatbot is a programmatic application powered by artificial intelligence designed to resemble a human conversation. This perfect travel companion is here to disrupt the travel industry and set a new standard in the mobile booking platform. 

Expedia chatbot, launched in 2016, works on Facebook Messenger and allows users to find rooms in hotels worldwide. After a user enters the location and dates, the chatbot suggests suitable variants and then prompts a user to visit the Expedia website and complete the booking’. - Expedia

Sam, a chatbot launched by FCM Travel Solutions, is a new 24/7 personalized travel assistant that supports users at every stage of the trip.

 

 Source: FCMTravels

Mostly business-travel oriented, it is both a booking tool and a travel agent that gives live information about changes during the trips. - FCM Travels.

Messaging apps are shifting to become the new social media and it makes sense that most of the travel management companies have started to blend this type of assistance in their stock.

Voice technology

Voice technology has also begun to disrupt the business travel sector, as more and more travelers are switching from typed-in search to voice interactions. 40% of adults are using voice search at least once a day and according to a research report by ComScore- half of all internet searches will be voice searches in 2020, after all, we are living in the future. Travelers are utilizing voice recognition devices, like Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Lola, at a rapid pace. Also, more and more TMCs are providing their travelers with the same voice search experience to make them feel like home. 

TripActions has brought AI and machine learning to business travel technology, they’re obsessed with thinking of new ways to make business travel delightful on every level.

                    

Source: TripActions

In that spirit of innovation, they've come up with an iOS device that can now use Siri Shortcuts to book a trip and access trip details. Amazing!!

Expedia, the world’s leading online travel agency, has lately released an Amazon Alexa app which lets business travelers check their route and book a rental car from the airport, all with voice. AI-powered voice recognition software works on breaking down the barrier between your brand and your customers. According to Google, almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are communicated using general languages. It’s easy to picture the future. 

Virtual and Augmented reality

Virtual and Augmented reality as the most promising tech trend that is powering corporate travel industry and the trend is set to continue. These technologies are used to enhance the customer experience in terms of their preferences while traveling. 

Most of the Airlines are now experimenting on VR technology to show travelers cabins in advance. Corporate travelers normally look for information and details before booking a hotel room. To get the right idea they read descriptions, view images, look at videos, check customer reviews or ask opinions on social media about their travel destinations. Through the intelligent use of AI-powered virtual reality, this process is reducing significantly. 

Source: Amadeus

Google defines Augmented Reality as – “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.”

Filming digital information over existing reality, AR is facilitating the planning journey and boosting travel experiences for corporate travelers and tourists. This technology enhances physical things with digital information to provide an interactive experience of the real-world environment. It augments a person’s real surroundings without replacing them. Employing AR to perform all-around room tours with accommodation details, prices, etc. is a great way to advertise a hotel and to engage guests to try out a full gamut of hotel facilities. This smart move powered by AR works on turning one-time guests into regular guests. 

According to a Statista report, the Augmented Reality market is estimated to grow from 5.91 billion to more than 198 billion U.S. Dollars by 2025. Accounting the innovations of AR in the industry, very soon the travel and tourism will be the primary industry to revolutionize with augmented reality

Final Thoughts

Is this the beginning of revolution or technological advancement that has already revolutionized the travel industry? Reflect!

There are many more travel technologies that are trending like, Electronic Payments that has made corporate traveling safer and easier also Blockchain by 2020 could help enable secure cross-border travel. And the list is endless.

Understanding and adopting the most advanced travel tech trends will allow TMCs to provide a more reliable, more enjoyable and more satisfying travel experience for their customers. As assumed by many, these latest travel technologies don’t exist to replace travel managers' jobs and automate business travel conjointly. On the contrary, it empowers agents with tech tools enabling them to diminish risk and stress for corporate travelers.