SINGAPORE, 8 October 2019: ‘Super apps’, voice-enabled bookings and 5G rollout will have a significant impact on business travel during 2020, according to a new paper released, Monday, by travel technology company Amadeus.
Despite the growth of technologies that make virtual meetings possible, business travel spend in the region is still predicted to double between 2020 to 2025, with the region forecast to eventually account for half of the world’s total spend.
‘B-leisure’ travel – where employees add leisure time and activities to work trips – has also been rising in Asia, with a survey by Amadeus finding that Asian corporate travellers are twice as likely to book work trips that include weekends than their European counterparts.
Against this backdrop, Amadeus’ ‘Future of Corporate Travel’ paper, written in conjunction with senior leaders from Musement, BorderPass and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, identifies five key trends that travel companies in the region need to be aware of as corporate travel continues to grow and evolve:
Voice is the next frontier for bookings
There’s a major shift happening between human and computer interaction, particularly with voice technology across the Asia Pacific. As travel companies continue to invest in voice technology, businesses will have quicker access to the traveller’s profile, real-time alerts and in-flight amenity checks within a single natural sentence. This means that travel consultants and travellers won’t have to go through multiple screens; they will soon be able to achieve the same goal much more quickly – using voice.
Musement Chief Business Officer, Nishank Gopalkrishnan commented: “I personally think voice will be the differentiator moving forward. If you think of it, talking to one another is the most natural thing humans do. Typing, swiping, and other forms of interaction are all just intermediate steps, as we are unable to talk to a machine efficiently. This will change, and companies that devise the most efficient way of selling high value and high engagement products via voice will lead in the future.”
The rise of ‘Super-apps’
Corporate travellers are juggling so many travel apps, including for their airlines, travel agencies and hotels. In the future, this will move to a ‘one-app/ super-app’ concept, giving corporate travellers the ability to book, make changes, get an itinerary and claim expenses – all on one single app. It is already one of the top trends among big players in the mobile space.
Much like WeChat has done for years in China, several other companies in Asia like LINE, KakaoTalk, Grab, and Go-Jek are expanding to other verticals to add functionalities and content to their apps, from mobility options to food delivery, media, payments and travel, targeting more business travellers.
Moving forward, travellers will expect everything to be easily accessible to them through one, simple to use the app. This is a commercial opportunity for travel companies, and businesses need to bear this in mind when reviewing the solutions that they make available to their employees.
Feeling the impact of 5G
Faster networks through 5G are now being deployed across the Asia Pacific and are enabling other technologies to take off, changing the way that moves around their own cities and travel to others. Thanks to the increased speed and amount of data, there will be more advanced connected devices – from smart homes to self-driving cars and smart cities – and increased personalization through Artificial Intelligence (AI).
This greater connectivity will allow travel companies to provide a seamless travel experience in which a business can go door-to-door from their home to a hotel with little hassle and truly personalized service. The frictionless experience will continue at their hotel with 5G smart hotels – offering faster connection speeds for smartphones and connected devices. With 5G, the end traveller is going to be better connected than ever before. Businesses need to be ready for this and ensure they best equip their employees to take advantage of 5G hyper-connectivity.
Amadeus Commercial Head of APAC Mobile, Edgar Vega commented: “Business travel is no longer just about getting to and from home. It is a series of experiences that demand intuitive, streamlined management – which is driven through mobile. I’m convinced that the 5G rollout will completely transform the corporate traveller’s mobile experience. For starters, access to unlimited data will allow for more informative and productive business trips while on the other side corporations will be able to provide better guidance for their corporate travellers in terms of access to hotel, transfer and destination services in virtual reality format.”
Mastering security with a seamless travel experience
The security of corporate travellers will always be the number one priority for corporations and travel management companies. However, maximum security doesn’t always mean a smooth travel experience. One trend to look out for in the near future is how the travel industry will master security alongside a seamless travel experience.
Innovation in this space is already well underway, and biometrics are playing a huge role in making this happen. Long queues and scanning passports will become a thing of the past as travel becomes frictionless. Amadeus is already working with several airports in line with IATA’s One ID vision to use biometrics to reduce wait times and move towards a remotely-hosted biometrics solution for the industry. By providing a seamless travel experience, business travellers will be able to spend less time waiting in queues and spend more time focused on the job they are there for. This is crucial for those who regularly travel for work – especially in terms of keeping job satisfaction levels high.
BorderPass Founder and CEO, Faisal Ariff commented: “In business travel, there are two goals that corporations need to consider – security and seamless travel. The tricky part is applying them in such a way that one goal isn’t achieved at the expense of the other. Better yet, technology needs to evolve that can improve both sides of the equation. For business travellers, there are some opportunities in credentialing that could help authorities in risk profiling and crowd management.”
Duty of care
In most countries, employers have a legal and ethical duty of care to their employees when they travel, which means they should take all reasonable steps to ensure employees’ health and safety.
In the near future, we expect to see companies evolving their duty of care approach to a real-time one that uses mobile technology and instant messaging to keep track of their employees’ well-being minute-by-minute.
This will allow companies to provide real-time assistance and disruption management to tackle any issues directly and without delay. The full report is available for download in the following link – feel free to include this in your coverage: https://amadeus.com/en/insights/white-paper/the-future-of-corporate-travel