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TRAVELLER SATISFACTION


“The future will be about smarter technology predicting possible friction and acting to prevent it before you even know it’s upon you”


“There’s a problem if you open up to too


many channels for feedback because it can become very emotive. When you analyse it, you can get a lot of differing opinions. You want to ensure you’re identifying constant themes and things that happen over a period of time, then you can take out the individual nuances – unless they have significant impact.”


THE PERSONAL TOUCH Travel technology companies are hard at work creating and enhancing online tools to help make travellers’ lives easier by reduc- ing stress or “friction” from planning to booking to going on the trip. Much of this focus is on consolidating information from multiple sources into one app or platform, which can be then be analysed to create more personalised content for travellers. Paul Broughton, managing director for


Travelport UK & Ireland, says: “UK-based millennial business travellers use 18 dif- ferent categories of apps (nearly twice as many as baby boomers who use around ten) while on their business trips.


“Every step travellers take generates huge


amounts of data and every aspect of a travel programme and behaviour can capture this meaningful data. Business travel will be an ultimately more satisfying experience if travel managers can look into and analyse travellers’ profiles and booking data, by making use of AI [artificial intelligence] driven by data and analytics, to build a bespoke travel experience that’s more in line with leisure trips.”


This type of technological advance is


not just about creating better and more flexible trips for business travellers, but can also help their organisations to meet their duty-of-care obligations by making it easier to locate and contact them in an emergency. It can also take the hassle out of tedious processes, such as dealing with on-the-road expenses. Leon Herce, executive vice-president, corporations, travel channels, at Amadeus, says: “The on-trip stage of any journey can be the most challenging for an employee, incurring major out-of-pocket expenses and dealing with potential itinerary changes. “Technology solutions can allow em-


ployers to better communicate with their employees while on trip with automated alerts and messages, and smooth processes mean that dealing with expenses can be automatic and take much less time.” Removing potential friction from trips


WORST ASPECTS OF BUSINESS TRAVEL


away from family: Spending time


35.6% Jetlag:


Flights (inconvenient timing/routes; cramped seats):


15.3%


Having to spend time with colleagues they don’t like:


13.4% Too frequent:


Having to submit post-trip expenses:


10.7% 8%


6.5% Source: Chrome River BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


is the most important role of technology, says Dan Fitzgerald, chief product officer at booking and expenses specialist Traveldoo. “This is why companies like Uber have become successful so quickly,” he adds. “Finding and paying for a taxi was often difficult; now it’s not. The future will be about smarter technology predicting pos- sible friction and acting to prevent it before you even know it’s upon you. Changing your flight before you knew about the delay or filing your expense claim based on your card payments.”


MEET THE ROAD WARRIORS Creating a two-communication platform between buyers and their travellers has been seen as a way to create a better relation- ship. But there is a sense that sending out online questionnaires and blanket emails to employees is no longer a particularly effective method of communication . Former ITM chairman Mark Cuschieri,


global travel lead at UBS, says: “How do we get closer to our travellers and com- municate with them? Traditionally, when we survey them, we only get a 5 per cent response. It’s about treating travellers like consumers. “The most important thing is to speak


to your frequent travellers – not by doing a survey but meeting them – because they are the experts consuming your programme. The way you communicate to your road warriors is very different to other travel- lers – focus your communication on those


BBT July/August 2018 67


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