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Fewer and shorter trips, economy class on airplanes, and four or even three-star hotels are the new norm for almost every travel manager’s roadmap to reduce travel expenses.
The economic turndown has wiped out any trace of luxury in business travel. Only the basics remain. Farewell to the hotel gym or spa: the travel manager is entrusted with the balance between cost control and passenger comfort, and this balance is actually impossible for those who interpret comfort in the ostentatious old ways.
However, comfort is no longer synonymous with the extraordinary, but quite the contrary. Luxury, for business travelers, is feeling at home and being able to enjoy a routine in spite of all the stress and interruptions involved with travelling. According to the study
From chaos to collaboration , published by Amadeus some time ago, 59% of respondent said that the most important thing in a business trip is precisely "feeling at home".
But what does that exactly mean? Well, basically, to be able to do certain things that are only possible through technology. First, and most obvious, to keep in touch with your circle of family and friends, as highlighted by one out of four business travelers. Second, to have access to the same videos, photos, music and personal data that we keep at home. In this regard, cloud computing is a major asset, since it provides any personal or professional information that the corporate traveler may need, no matter where he or she is. In the next decade
technology will continue to help business travelers relax on their journey, even enjoy it, despite being at work. Travelers do want to feel at home, but 71% also want their trip to be a complete contrast to everyday life. Is that a contradiction? Not really; we are facing a new corporate traveler profile, the "business tourist": someone who seeks efficiency and flexibility managing their working time, but who is also keen on enjoying their spare time.
Technology plays an important role here too. Blogs and social media help corporate travelers to make customized travel guides, augmented reality may provide them with cultural and historical information in an entertaining way, and data from multiple sources will be received and shared…
Barriers between personal and professional life are blurring in many ways, and do not forget – that this is an opportunity for anyone who is committed to enhancing the experience of business travelers.