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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
The rise in independent booking is easy to understand when understanding the sophistication and user experience available on consumer apps in comparison to still clunky business travel tools.
Mobile travel bookings are on the rise despite the reality that it can be more difficult to book on a mobile device than a desktop or laptop.
Business travelers and their travel managers find traditional booking channels easier and faster to use, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s survey of 1,804 travelers and interviews with almost 200 travel managers worldwide.
When asked to rate the ease of booking through different devices, travelers gave the lowest scores to tablets and smartphones (5.8 and 5.2 out of 10 respectively) and the highest scores to laptops and making a phone call (7.6 and 7.4 out of 10 respectively).
According to respondents, it takes 4 minutes longer to complete a booking on a smartphone (19 minutes) versus a desktop or laptop (15 minutes).
Part of the reason for respondents’ unhappiness could be the still evolving tools used to book business and corporate travel. These tools are likely optimized for traditional channels like desktops and phone calls, not the small smartphone screens.
Still, the majority of business travelers today are already doing preliminary booking or research on a mobile device. And an improving user experience and ease of booking is expected to make mobile booking a more popular option.
The benefits of mobile corporate travel tools are broad, but surveyed travel managers highlighted a few key improvements — increasing traveler productivity, easing expense reporting, and improving comprehensiveness of services.
An interesting regional difference emerged when travelers and managers were asked about their expectations for mobile services. North American travel managers prioritized easy of doing business and productivity, while European managers first focused on well-being.
For travelers, the most important mobile features are time-sensitive updates on flights and itineraries. Less useful and time sensitive features such as trip sharing on social networks were ranked as disposable.