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Corporate travel is no longer all work and no play. Driven by technology, Nadia Yahiaoui, Vice President, Corporations, Amadeus Asia Pacific, offers a host of ideas for HR leaders to leverage in building their corporate travel strategies for the year ahead.
The nature of corporate travel is changing. As a travel technology provider involved in various touchpoints across the corporate travel journey – from expense management and business intelligence to duty of care – Amadeus has had a front row seat to these changes.
For one, it’s no longer all work and no play. Bleisure trips– the blending of business and leisure travel –are on the rise, which means that employees are increasingly incorporating personal leisure experiences into their business trips.
At the same time, advances in the technologies and solutions that underpin corporate travel – from booking systems to mobile apps – have given businesses the opportunity to manage employee travel in a “smarter” way, through open and connected technologies that decrease travel spend, and improve the employee experience through seamless support.
In this changing landscape, there’s a unique opportunity for HR practitioners to save their companies money, boost business travel efficiency and even create a USP for recruitment. To help HR departments leverage the biggest benefits from the latest technologies in the corporate travel space, we’ve compiled a list of the top tech trends to watch out for:
Voice is the next frontier
As travel companies continue to invest in voice technology, corporations will have quicker access to the traveler’s profile, real-time alerts and in-flight amenities checks within a single natural sentence. This means that travel consultants, travelers and HR departments themselves won’t have to go through multiple screens in the future; they can achieve the same goal – using only voice.
HR departments should look at how they can integrate voice into their corporate travel systems – to save employees valuable time when booking business travel and when on trips.
Technology to facilitate duty of care
The case for companies to actively manage their travelers’ well-being is growing stronger every day.
It’s been proven that happier, well-rested and healthy business travelers are more productive, present, likely to maintain strong relationships with their clients and suppliers, and more likely to stay with their current employers.
However according to our recent study – Business traveler well-being: How to keep your employees healthy, happy and productive when they travel for work – although 91% of travel managers surveyed globally think that business travelers face high levels of stress, 23% of companies currently pay no, or very little, attention to traveler wellbeing.
This could be a costly mistake, with more than 80% of the business travelers expressing that they want the management at their company to be more aware of the impact of business travel on their personal wellbeing, and to show more appreciation for it.
To help businesses meet this demand for duty of care, companies should use technology to keep in touch with their employees throughout their trips and provide real-time assistance whenever needed, from light-touch check-ins to offering full-scale disruption management support if ever needed.
Amadeus’ Mobile Messenger is one such tool that allows companies to maintain contact and support their staff wherever they are in the world.
HR departments need to be ready for the impact of 5G, and ensure they best equip their employees to take advantage of 5G hyper-connectivity when they are overseas.
Feeling the impact of 5G
Faster networks through 5G are now being deployed across Asia Pacific and are enabling other technologies to take off, changing the way that travelers move around their own cities and travel to others.
This greater connectivity will allow travel companies to provide a seamless travel experience – one where a business traveler can go door-to-door from their home to a hotel with little hassle and a truly personalised service.
The frictionless experience will continue at their hotel with 5G smart hotels – offering faster connection speeds for smartphones and connected devices. With 5G, the end traveler is going to be better connected than ever before. HR departments need to be ready for this and ensure they best equip their employees to take advantage of 5G hyper-connectivity when they are overseas.
The rise of super-apps
There are currently a lot of travel apps to juggle – for airlines, travel agencies and hotels. In the future this will move to a one-app/super-app concept, giving corporate travelers the ability to book, make changes, get an itinerary and claim expenses – all in one single app.
It is already one of the top trends among big players in the mobile space. Much like WeChat has done for years in China, several other companies in Asia like LINE, KakaoTalk, Grab, and Go-Jek are expanding to other verticals to add functionalities and content to their apps, from mobility options to food delivery, media, payments and travel.
Moving forward, travelers will expect everything to be easily accessible to them through one, simple to use app. HR departments need to bear this in mind and prioritise integrated solutions when considering offerings that they make available to their employees for business travel.
In a nutshell, technology will completely change how people travel – for business and leisure – in the coming years, and the HR departments that embrace this will be best positioned to drive cost savings; ensuring a positive experience for their employees and being attractive to new hires.
At Amadeus, it is our mission to help corporations make the most out of the opportunities available to power smarter business travel. To enable this, we are creating a Live Travel Space, where all travel players can connect and collaborate to address the desires of travelers and provide them with a wide range of options at any given moment, ultimately delivering the best possible experience for travelers. Find out more on how Amadeus can help your organisation here.
Lead photo / Provided