Jennifer Green is director, Global Enterprise Strategy at Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and is part of the team behind the latest CWT Travel Management Institute study, Faster, smarter, better?
As Doug mentioned in his latest download, we recently released a study into the trends that are changing corporate travel as we know it, and I’ll be taking you through each of the trends in detail over the next few weeks.
This week is the turn of mobile, which, according to our research, travel managers agree is going to have the biggest effect on managed travel in the next five years (92% think it will have an impact by 2020).
No longer a “nice to have”, but a must-have, mobile is a critical element of managed travel. In 2014, 18 percent of travelers were carrying at least three devices (smartphone, tablet and laptop) and based on their leisure travel experiences, travelers are looking for seamless access between all their devices. I think we can all relate to this – how frustrating have you found it when a website that works well for you on your laptop behaves poorly on your smartphone or vice versa? Multichannel access is becoming the norm, and TMCs like CWT need to make sure we’re keeping up.
And with more than 70,000 travel apps available on the Apple App Store alone, travelers have a lot of options. With so much choice, corporate travel apps need to offer all the functionalities a busy traveler needs on the move, and so the power app is born. A power app like CWT To Go makes travelers’ lives easier within a managed travel environment, while allowing them to do everything they would in a B2C app, from booking, to checking the weather, to calculating the appropriate tip, is becoming, if not the norm, certainly the expectation
And with a quarter of the world’s population expected to own a smartphone by the end of this year (and a much higher percentage of business travelers), travelers are better equipped, more connected and better able to take advantage of mobile travel services than ever before. But as travelers and travel managers embrace the convenience and productivity mobile brings, data security causes concern. Clear mobile policies and a secure, approved app can help keep data safe and ease these worries.
With mobile so deeply ingrained in our everyday lives, our thoughts are turning to what’s next. Wearable decides and beacon or near-field communication technologies are the things to watch. While it’s too early to guess exactly what the implications are for managed travel, these technologies must be on travel managers’ watch lists if they want to truly harness the power of mobile in their travel program.
Where do you think mobile and managed travel will go next? I’d love to hear your thoughts – just share your comment below.