Digital bookings beat human option

MINNEAPOLIS, USA, 23 May 2019: Travellers prefer to manage their travel transactions digitally, via an app or browser according to research by CWT, the B2B travel management platform for corporates.

The latest CWT study showed that 69% of business travellers prefer to book their flights digitally rather than have human interactions.

That continues to rise for hotel reservations (78%), ground transportation (71%), and checking-in for flights (68%). However, travellers are more receptive speaking to a person face-to-face when checking into their hotel (46%) and checking out (51%).

“Technology is becoming more and more dominant in the travel ecosystem,” said CWT’s chief product and technology officer Andrew Jordan. “Digital interactions are taking over, so the travel industry must keep evolving to offer companies and their employees the experience they want and expect.”

Overall, Asia Pacific travellers are more likely to choose technology over personal contact – 73% prefer to book their flights digitally, versus 71% of Americas travellers and 61% of Europeans. Meanwhile, 84% of Asia Pacific travellers prefer to book hotels digitally, versus 77% of those from the Americas, and 70% of Europeans.

When it comes to checking in for their flights, travellers from the Americas are most inclined to use technology over personal contact: 73% said they prefer technology, versus 66% of Europeans and 65% of Asia Pacific travellers.

Smartphones Catching Up

CWT’s research also shows that a significant percentage of travel is still booked through a computer screen – 45% in 2019 versus 53% in 2018 and 52% in 2017.

But smartphones are catching up: 41% in 2019 versus 34% in 2018 and 32% in 2017. Tablets rank third with 11%, while only 2% of business travellers claim to get help from a person.

The data reveals that European travellers are most inclined to book their travel on a desktop or laptop (55%), followed by travellers from the Americas (49%) and travellers from Asia Pacific (36%).

In contrast, 53% of travellers in Asia Pacific prefer to book travel on their smartphones, compared to 40% of Americas’ travellers and only 26% of Europeans. European travellers are most inclined to use their tablets (16%) or speak to a person (3%) than travellers from the Americas and Asia Pacific, who both scored 9% and 2% respectively.

When asked how they prefer to deal with disruptions or changes, 33% of travellers overall say using a mobile app is the most effective way to do so – 37% of travellers from Asia Pacific feel that way, versus 31% of travellers from the Americas and 30% of Europeans.

The study also revealed that eight out of 10 business travellers have used technology instead of physically travelling for business in the past year, with a quarter using technology five or more times instead of travelling. With 29% of travellers from the Americas answering “five times or more,” they beat Europeans (26%) and Asia Pacific travellers (22%).

The survey was created by CWT and conducted by Artemis Strategy Group between the 29 January and the 9 February. Responses were collected from more than 2,700 business travellers who travelled for business four or more times in the previous 12 months. Respondents were from the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) and Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore). CWT is a Business-to-Business-for-Employees (B2B4E) travel management platform.