Learning from leisure travel

Otto de Vries: ASATA CEO

The travel industry has gone to great lengths to develop a ‘wow’ retail shopping experience for leisure travellers. Consumer-friendly websites are being developed to offer ‘shoppers’ proper retail therapy and seamless online shopping ‘experiences’.

How is the corporate travel sector stacking up?

Business travellers have reported they are frustrated with corporate travel booking systems as they feel these have limited choices, high rates, antiquated technology and inconvenient interfaces, according to a recent study conducted by Egencia. The result? Corporate travellers are booking outside approved tools,  which leads to the consumerisation of business travel.

Taking into consideration that statistics show that corporates can save more than 30% on their travel spend by improving traveller compliance, there is an opportunity for those TMCs which have not started developing their technology in this manner to take action and create a similar ‘wow’ booking experience for the corporate traveller.

TMCs are learning to put the traveller at the centre of the corporate booking experience. They are looking to the leisure leaders for inspiration and are ensuring the online booking tool offers the corporate traveller choice, as well as a booking experience that is adapted to their own personal preferences.

Always-connected road warriors are looking for the same convenience, personalisation and speed of use in their corporate travel booking as they do in their leisure travel bookings. They want to be able to change their bookings anywhere they are or, even plan their next business trip while commuting, in a taxi from the airport, waiting for take-off, or on the way to their next connect.

This doesn’t mean travel companies should necessarily become technology companies. Instead, they should find success in focusing on their own unique value proposition and master how technology can amplify this value proposition. A recent study by Amadeus suggests travel companies could offer a personalised search and book experience; a mobile app with destination information; or an automated disruption management system that helps travellers avoid queuing at the airport. The possibilities are endless.

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