Talking tech – new opportunities to drive travel programme compliance thanks to machine learning, blockchain and chabot automation

The influence of machine learning, blockchain, and chatbots can provide corporate travel managers powerful communication tools for driving travel programme compliance, according to the latest paper in the Inform series published by leading business travel management company, BCD Travel.


Summary:

  • Automated and targeted messages supported by machine learning will drive corporate travel compliance, says new BCD Travel report;
  • ‘Communications, Emerging technology and Travel Management’, explores how emerging technologies can deliver effective, personalised messages to travellers;
  • The report is the latest in BCD Travel’s Inform series, which examines how these emerging technologies will impact sourcing in the business travel industry.

The report, entitled ‘Communications, Emerging technology and Travel Management’, explores how emerging technologies can be used to deliver effective, personalised messages to travellers, engaging them at exactly the right moment to encourage compliance within company policy.

It notes how travel suppliers have become increasingly aggressive and highly sophisticated in marketing directly to travellers and influenced off policy bookings. “It’s important for travel managers to counterbalance that influence, lest it pull travellers away from using preferred suppliers and drive up corporate travel program costs,” says Natalia Tretyakevich, senior manager research and intelligence at BCD Travel.

The report highlights that using new and emerging technologies to communicate with, influence and capture the attention of business travellers can effectively influence business travellers to remain within programme. It warns: “Join in, or lose out”.

For example, when booking a trip, a chatbot could respond to a traveller’s query, suggesting the best travel options within corporate policy, or a traveller could book a trip using a virtual personal assistant. Similarly, a smart contract stored on blockchain could issue an alert to a travel manager when a traveller booked outside of policy.

Additionally, travel tips and disruption alerts can be delivered to travellers at just the right time using location-based technology, while after a trip, the traveller’s virtual assistant could send a reminder to submit an expense report, pre-populated by a machine learning algorithm.

The report on sourcing is the third paper in a new six-part series on emerging technology and travel management examining how blockchain, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, machine learning, chatbots and artificial intelligence will impact six key areas of corporate travel program management: sourcing, policy, communications, duty of care, payment and expense, and performance management.

Approached from the corporate travel buyer’s point of view, the series is intended to close a knowledge gap within the travel industry when it comes to understanding the implications of digital technology. The first issue focused on the implications of technology on sourcing and the second on how new technology will transform travel policies.