The Business Travel Magazine reported that cutting costs remains the top of the priority for business travel buyers in 2018 and beyond, with developments in travel technology evolving how companies will book business trips in the future.
Every year new trends develop in any industry and new solutions are unearthed. With this is mind here are a few future travel trends that we think will be at the forefront in the future for business travel.
#1 Bleisure travel
Definition: The benefits of mixing business travel with leisure.
Although the term bleisure has only gained popularity in recent years, the art of tagging on some leisure time to business trips isn’t a new concept, but changes in attitudes to flexible working, such as work from anywhere policies, and improvements in technology have made bleisure easier for everyone. There are many benefits to not only the employee adding the extra bleisure time but the employer too! (We have them listed HERE)
With more and more people are adding at least an additional 2-3 days to their business trip to see the sights and soak up the culture, businesses need to make sure their company travel policy includes “Bleisure” within its parameters ( we have a handy guide HERE on how to make your policy fit for bleisure)
#2 Mobile technology
Smartphones are now such an integral part of our lives we can’t live without them. Our homes are becoming smarter by the day and this trend has already started to become apparent within the business travel industry.
Rapid adoption of technology is now driving the future of the marketplace, so it’s no surprise that mobile technology will be a big focus for the future. More and more people are relying on their devices every day and will want easy access to their bookings.
Good Travel Management, recently teamed up with Tripit to bring our customers an App that can organise your travel plans into a single itinerary, including flights, hotel reservations, car rental and much more! It’s user-friendly and the best bit…it's free to Android, Blackberry and iPhone users! (We have more information HERE)
And it doesn't stop with the journey, ‘smart doors’ have started to be introduced into hotels (allowing guests to skip the check-in and use their phones to unlock the door). This is the beginning of the ‘smart revolution’ with major chains such as Hilton having already committed to the roll out of “Smart Hotel Rooms” in 2018. Fully integrated “Smart Hotel Rooms” will put you, the guest, at the centre of everything so the room can be personalised to your exact taste. It will already know what room temperature you like to sleep at and will adjust automatically. Perhaps you wanted to watch some television? The room will know your favourite programmes without you having to ask, and your favourite beverage will already be in the fridge ready to be enjoyed with the lighting set just how you like it.
Room service can be ordered on your phone and in the future, it won’t be a human delivering it to your door but we will get onto that in point 4 below.
#3 Full travel package
Many travellers still book some parts of their trip themselves rather than using a travel management company to streamline the process, this may be down to the perception that TMC rates/fares cannot compete with the internet, which in reality is not the case. (HERE are 15 reasons why the power of a business travel agent is mightier than the internet)
I think this will change in the future more and more as we are seeing already that companies are wanting to be able to book the full package, from car hire and rail tickets, to complex flight itineraries, chauffeur driven transfers and expense management tools.
A complete end to end process will enable corporate travel spend to be consolidated and easier to visualise in Management Information Data reports, but will ultimately save time and money.
#4 Robots and Virtual Reality
When you think of robots or VR you may think of futuristic fictional characters from the movies such as Transformers, R2D2 or the Matrix.
The advancement of artificial intelligence means robots are now a very real thing and have slowly been rolling their way into the hotel lobby since way back in 2014. Where do we see robots integrating into the future of business travel? could they work in the background, or be at the forefront carrying luggage at airports?
Many business travellers will still want the human touch, with the ability to speak with someone face to face, but let’s not rule out the fact these robots will be able to help you at some part of your journey in the future, whether it will be as simple as providing directions, welcoming you along the way or driving your transfer only time will tell.
Coming in the near future, hotels will be able to offer guests a virtual reality tour of their hotel from the comfort of their own homes in a bid to lure guest back to traditional hotels. Once in the hotel, a Virtual Reality information desk linked to an Artificial Intelligence concierge service can provide a guide to locations and events, with guests being able to use VR to visit far away paradise locations without having to leave their room. With VR becoming more and more common, Hotels will be able to offer their guests experiences only limited to their imagination.