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For businesses, face-to-face interaction has never been so important


David Savage

UK General Manager at mytaxi

Technology has changed business travel forever. But while expectations have changed, priorities haven’t. For business travellers, safety, efficiency and comfort remain the holy trinity.

For some, gone is the nine-to-five and the sweaty commute – replaced by remote offices, “WFH” diary blocks, and conference calls from your kitchen. But one thing hasn’t changed: the importance of being there.

As humans, we crave contact and building relationships with other people. As business people, there’s a benefit to shaking hands, looking people in the eye and engaging in small talk that is invaluable.

At a time where most interaction is done through a screen, it has never been so important to be there and to build that rapport with colleagues, clients and potential new business.

David Savage, UK General Manager at mytaxi has been in the business travel industry for 15 years. He has seen the industry evolve across airlines and taxis; he has seen how the introduction of the smartphone, online bookings and smart expense management tools have changed the face of business travel. He says that, while expectations have changed, priorities haven’t. For business travellers, safety, efficiency and comfort remain the holy trinity.

How do you think business travel habits are changing? 

“Dramatically. Technology has made people much more engaged in their travel plans.

“In terms of taxis, people want seamless transfers; a cab waiting for them with a driver they already know the name of, contact details, the route and shareable ETAs. It reassures people that they are in safe hands, knowing their driver is fully-licensed and knows where they are going.

Clients should feel in control of their travel choices.

“Travel apps must make the customer experience as clear, easy and engaging as possible for clients. Web bookings allow travel managers, PAs and EAs to book travel on one site, in real time, without having to leave their desks. Sites with admin panels enable travel managers to keep track of reporting, usage and, importantly, costs.

“Increasingly, businesses are looking for socially responsible brands that care about the cities in which they operate, the wellbeing of the drivers who use their app and their vehicle’s environmental impact. At mytaxi, for example, we believe in constructive disruption and pride ourselves on working in harmony in the 100 cities in which we operate. “

By efficiency, do you just mean getting to your destination on time?

“Getting there on time is certainly part of it. We’ve all been there – you’re rushing to get to a meeting, it’s chucking it down and you can’t get a cab. Then you arrive flustered, drenched and set back for the rest of the day. That is why we have worked hard to get our wait times down to under two minutes in central London. We also work with black cabs, so they can whizz down the bus lanes where others can’t. But efficiency in terms of the journey isn’t the whole story.

“Expense management can be a major pressure point for travel managers. They are looking after thousands of employees across multiple locations and they need services that have integrated reporting. Connection to expense management tools makes the admin side of things more streamlined and efficient.”

What is the biggest challenge for travel managers, PAs and EAs?

“Keeping everyone happy! Most companies have people from four generations under one roof and juggling the priorities and expectations of each of them is not an easy job. Studies show that business travel has a huge impact on overall job satisfaction1. According to this study, a huge number of travellers – 84% – say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their business results at least somewhat – so it is in a company’s interest to make it as smooth and enjoyable as possible!

“Increasingly, we want everything on demand and in one place at the tap of a screen, and this is especially true when travelling. One thing we are often told is that companies want one provider that they can use in multiple locations. In 2018, we saw our cross-border traffic increase by 200% across Europe. We are looking forward to what 2019 has in store!”

London taxi drivers know the city better than anyone, any insights?

We asked drivers some questions on London via our app. Here are a few facts they shared:

  • London is the only city in world to have a restaurant from every country in the world 
  • The Mall is designed to be a runway
  • Blackfriars train station is the only station to have entrances on both sides of the river

and the top restaurants recommended to passengers by London taxi drivers:

  • Langans, Mayfair
  • The Ivy, Covent Garden
  • Rules, Covent Garden
  • Ciao Bella, Lambs Conduit Street

1 Sabre: Global Business Travelers Identify Top Challenges They Face on the Road

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