How can technology shape the future of business travel — Source: Hotelogix

Millennials form a large segment of business travelers, and according to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™, by 2020 they shall comprise half of the global workforce. So a lot of the changes in the travel industry majorly depend on the needs of the new business traveler.

So what does the future of Business Travel look like?

Dominance of Digital Interaction – With the increased usage of Smartphones and tablets, 85% of all customer interactions will be digitized by 2020 as per Microsoft's predictions. Airline and hotel booking, blocking of seats, reserving dining options, adding extra facilities all shall be done via the Smartphone. All sectors of travel industry are now investing heavily in mobile friendly websites or apps so as to cater to their guest's needs and requirements. Today's travelers require information at the tip of their fingers and don't want to wait for it to be available.

Combination of business and leisure trips – Today a business trip doesn't mean that the guest would be at work or at meetings from 9 to 5. Work timings, job descriptions etc. have changed drastically. Millennial travelers are interested in mixing business with leisure either during their trips or by extending their trips. Hotels are now redefining their concept of business hotels, guests don't just need internet access and business centers, but they are also looking at other local experiences that they can enjoy.

Going Green – travelers as well as the hospitality industry are becoming more and more conscientious. They realize that we are constantly abusing our natural resources, so hotels, cruise, buses, flights etc are looking at ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint and are incorporating the same in their marketing collateral.

Personalized Services – With the gap between business and leisure travelers being very thin, travelers prefer to have personalized services being offered to them. Via data collection by hotels or their booking gateways, guests expect to have more choices as per their past travel history. By lieu of Google based advertisements and direct marketing options, guests already have choices being sent to them as soon as they start even considering their travel options.

Rise of sharing economy – In our previous blog we have mentioned how AirBnB's are giving hotels a run for their money. Business travelers as well as those who are staying at a particular place for a longer duration prefer Airbnb's or homestays rather than the conventional hotels, it offers more flexibility and space to them

Cashless payments – Digital money transactions are rapidly becoming the norm, digital wallets, online transfer are replacing cash and credit card transactions.

Artificial Intelligence – Robots and kiosks are replacing the front desk in many hotels across the globe. Millennial travelers prefer instant check-ins and check-outs through kiosks are the best solution. Hotels also use Robots for their concierge service and other departments. Hilton Mclean in Virginia, USA has partnered with IBM and is using 'Connie', the hospitality industry's first robot butler as the hotel's concierge. Connie provides basic information such as the spa and gym timings, location of the nearest bank, things to do as well as personalized information for a consumer's needs.

The Future of Business Travel looks extremely interesting and it shall keep changing at a rapid pace especially seeing the pace in which technology is constantly changing.

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Avinash Udayakumar
Senior Digital Marketing Analyst