Conducted annually, the CWT Trends report combines a survey of over 1,000 travel managers across the world, white papers, client case studies and additional CWT research to give travel managers a comprehensive look at the year ahead.
Mobile technology and wearables
This is the leading trend for survey respondents, who consider the impact on managed travel to be high. Key developments include seamless ‘multichannel’ access across devices, all-in-one ‘power apps,’ wearable technologies and location-based services such as keyless hotel room entry, airport alerts and enhanced online interaction between meeting attendees. A clear mobile policy can steer travellers toward approved apps and solutions and address data security concerns.
CWT’s director of product marketing in the UK & Ireland, Dan Kelly, is excited by the possibilities. “The most exciting thing about the emergence of wearable tech from the travel industry’s perspective is definitely the portability of these devices and the accessibility of information that they can provide on the go.”
Big data, social media and IATA (International Air Transport Association)’s new distribution capability for airline inventory are three main drivers in customising the traveller experience while supporting programme objectives. In particular, the traveller profiles used to tailor booking services are becoming more powerful thanks to sophisticated analysis of booking and browsing behaviour, combined with data from other sources.
The sharing economy
Many travellers are using services such as Airbnb for accommodation and Uber for ground transportation. The barriers to adoption in managed travel are coming down as sharing economy brands adapt their offerings to the managed travel market, tackling safety/security and expense management issues.
New booking solutions
Travel managers are increasingly interested in fare and rate tracking technology that enables their programmes to generate further savings. They are also looking for technology-based, proactive rebooking services to assist employees who face trip disruptions.
New payment solutions
Companies are also evaluating new payment solutions that help simplify processes, reinforce programme compliance and protect against fraud. Single-use ‘virtual card’ solutions, for example, allow travellers to buy travel using a central payment system similar to lodge cards but offered by a wider range of suppliers, including hotels and low-cost carriers.