Business travellers are confident emerging tech will improve travel experience

The 4th edition of Egencia’s Business Travel and Technology Survey has revealed surprising differences in the perceptions and confidence levels of global business travellers on the impact of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) on corporate travel.

The study which was conducted in April and May 2017, surveyed 4521 business travellers aged 18 and older in nine countries around the world including Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and United States.

The study showed that business travellers in regions such as in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and Singapore have lower confidence levels in how AI advancements can improve their business travel experiences in the future and certainly believe it is less likely that AI and VR will threaten mankind:

  • At 37%, Sweden and Norway were the least likely to believe AI advancements will improve their travel experiences followed by 41% in the U.K. and Germany, 42% in Australia, 44% in Canada and France, and 47% in Singapore.
  • When asked if they believe AI and VR could end mankind, 72% of business travellers in Norway say no – compared to 70% in Sweden, 67% in the U.K., 64% in Canada and Germany, 61% in France, and 60% in Australia and Singapore.

In contrast, U.S. business travellers are cautiously optimistic that emerging technologies can improve their business travel experiences, however they recognise the need for balance between technology and human interaction. 55% of U.S. business travellers believe AI advancements can improve their travel experiences, while 62% reject the belief that AI and VR could end mankind as we know it today, much lower confidence than in EMEA and APAC countries.

Egencia chief product officer Michael Gulmann stated: “The adoption of new technologies is increasingly happening on the consumer side, ahead of the corporate world. AI and VR are no exception and are very much in their infancy. However, similar to disruptors in other technology-led industries, investments in new technologies that create simplicity and improvements in experience will ultimately win over business travellers and drive significant change in the overall industry.”

“There is a fundamental shift already happening in the traveller mind-set that companies need to anticipate travellers’ needs and simplify all aspects of business travel, regardless of how a traveller chooses to interact with travel companies. As such, there is a balancing act for travel companies to ensure they offer the latest technology, alongside the ability for travellers to connect with a live person anytime, anywhere,” continued Mr Gulmann.

Egencia also found that while business travellers in EMEA and APAC countries are more pessimistic on the promise of emerging technologies for business travel compared to their U.S. counterparts, they still demand more mobile accessibility across devices. In fact, 68% of business travellers in Singapore and Sweden want to more efficiently manage their travel across devices, compared to 65% in Canada and Norway, 64% in France and the U.K., 62% in Germany. The U.S. is once again the most tech demanding, with 76% wanting greater cross-device integration.

To learn more about the 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey, visit Egencia here.