2019 is the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac—but it’s also the year of the business traveller, says global travel management company BCD Travel. The TMC recently identified the biggest trends that will enhance the traveller experience and help companies align corporate travel with business goals.
Here are a few things to look out for in 2019:
1. Interacting with robots
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in business travel continues to rise—from the friendly chat bot that provides airline web support to the voice-command assistant that takes room service orders. In 2019, robots may help travellers park their cars at the airport and find gates and restaurants. AI and the internet of things (IoT) applications may also play an important role in relieving traffic congestion in major business cities.
2. Traveling without cash
Ground transportation is leading the way in cashless payments. According to the Evening Standard newspaper, half of all London Underground journeys are now made using contactless payments. New York and Boston are also adopting cashless systems
3. Personalised trip experiences
In 2019, personal preferences will play a much larger role in traveller service and satisfaction. Business travellers expect the same personalised, simple and seamless experience they get from consumer brands, and they’re willing to share identifying information in exchange for convenience and service. Suppliers will increasingly gather relevant data about traveller brand preferences, booking behaviour and travel patterns. Corporate programmes will merge that information with travel policy to influence travellers’ spending decisions and improve service.
“Creating personalised experiences for travellers may not seem important at first. However, if you don’t create happy, well and joyful business travellers, they are going to book outside of the programme,” says Miriam Moscovici, BCD’s innovation expert and leader of the team that produces the widely read BCD Travel Industry Forecast.
“Savvy companies will work with their travel agencies to develop happiness quotients to measure the satisfaction of their travellers so they can keep traveller satisfaction high,” Moscovici said. That answer might be as simple as giving travellers seat upgrades on long-haul flights.”
Other important trends:
- Navigate a smart city
- Decide where, when and how you work