We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
When it comes to business, the ‘personal touch’ goes a long way! Whether it’s about building customer relationships, bringing global teams together or expanding your network, going that extra mile for a face-to-face interaction makes a huge difference.
Having said that, digital technologies are changing the face of business travel. Corporations are seeking better value from travel spend, and travelers are looking for variety, price transparency and personalization.
The industry is working hard to perfect a personalized, smooth and reliable journey that business travelers desire. And Business Travel Agencies (BTAs) need to adapt to the evolving environment to deliver a service that helps corporations and travelers get the most out of their business trip. They need to offer options that respect corporations’ travel policies, optimize return on investment and ensure duty of care for the traveler.
Here are the top trends from APAC that we feel BTAs should look at - to develop a long-term strategy and discover what is transforming the business travel industry.
More aggregation will enable BTAs to access content more efficiently
BTAs manage huge amounts of content on behalf of corporations; which hotel to book, picking the right flight and seat, and even choosing the right restaurant. Currently, this content is fragmented at several levels because it’s across so many different platforms. As travel content becomes aggregated and centralized, BTAs will be able to access content more efficiently, without changing platforms. This will deliver better experiences to business travelers because they can focus more on customer service initiatives.
Tailored business travel experience, right from the start
Today, business travelers want personalized, tailored journeys to be a part of their overall package, just like leisure journeys. With content being aggregated, BTAs will be able to offer more choice to the traveler and allow corporations to still manage the content according to policy. BTAs can get ahead by helping travelers access this information and tools that offer them the most efficient journey.
Block chain-like transparency at every touch point
The travel industry will start to embrace a ‘blockchain principle’, making every single transaction in business travel like the buyer, the fleet operator, vehicles, drivers, riders, location, routes, feedback and pricing visible and transparent. This will mean BTAs will have insights into the complete journey of corporate travelers. Using this data, BTAs will be able to create personalized and tailored experiences.
60% of business with leisure trips will be leveraged by millennials
Expedia Group Media Solutions predicts that two-thirds of business trips morph into ‘b-leisure’ (business with leisure) trips and b-leisure travel spend will be made by millennials as they make up a growing share of the workforce. Agencies that make b-leisure a possibility for this generation will tap this potential profit by understanding and accommodating their needs.
Business travel is moving towards a mobile-first approach
Mobile technology is important to all types of travel agencies, more so for business travel. With hectic and time-sensitive schedules, travelers want to be able to communicate issues and manage travel plans seamlessly using a single channel, platform and device. This requires BTAs’ mobile platforms to be fully optimized and connected. It will make personalization easier through mobile apps, gathering and using data, and sending relevant information.
BTAs also need to work on their perception! They need to outgrow from being seen as just ticketing agents having slow turnaround times. They need to get over the challenge of accessing and managing fragmented content across different platforms. The only way they can achieve this is by having a strong technology backbone. It will help BTAs be at the forefront of innovation, understand the changing needs of their customers and move quickly to meet them.
For more insights, download our Future of Business Travel insights here, which features views from Amadeus, Orbit World Travel, and Mind Your Fleet on what the future of business travel looks like.