Better business travel is powered by new technology
Travel Business travellers are benefitting from advances in technology says Jason Geall, VP/General Manager UK, American Express Global Business Travel.
What are the current trends in business travel?
Overall spend on corporate travel remains pretty consistent in the UK. We're predicting it might grow marginally this year — although that changes by sector and depends on how each is performing. We're also seeing an increased momentum in managed corporate travel: ie, travel programmes that corporations manage, as opposed to the travel programmes that travel management companies help manage and maintain. That's because duty of care, driven by events over the last year, is now the number one priority for them.
How is technology helping the traveller on the road?
New technology is helping companies to keep their travellers safe on the road. It comes down to the simple idea of better using data that's always been available. The data generated from, for example, flight and hotel bookings can be put into a data base and used to find out the location of an employee. If you layer interactive data on top of that — card swipes, GPS, mobile phone details, email, social media accounts, etc — a company can begin to put what is known as 'Big Data' to really good use.
Can that technology allow users to personalise their travel experience?
Yes. By plugging data from the corporation, the travel management team and the travellers into telephony technology, users can get a personalised experience online, through their mobiles.
How have recent technology advances made it easier to comply with travel policy?
Technology at an agency level shows the travel counsellors who are booking on behalf of a company the policy that they are supposed to be following. Online booking tools have the ability to show policy on the booking screen. Companies are also using data more effectively to make decisions about how they shape their travel policies. But the single biggest thing that is helping drive travel policy currently is duty of care. Previously, travellers might have tried to do their own thing and may not have booked through the official programme. Now they understand that to stay secure they need to be tracked and their activities needs to be managed — and to do that they need to be within their company's managed travel programme.