The corporate travel space has been upended by traveler demands for flexibility and their adoption of mobile technologies. It’s become essential for companies to understand these shifts to provide the modern mobile experiences that today’s travelers now expect.
eMarketer projects the value of U.S. travel purchases made on smartphones and tablets to soar from $26 billion in 2014 to $65 billion in 2018. While mobile usage has become close to ubiquitous among business travelers of all ages, millennials continue to set the trends and fuel the growth of the mobile workforce, and they’re becoming a larger segment of business travelers each year. According to the Brookings Institution, millennials are forecast to make up half of the global workforce by 2020 and are set to account for three out of four workers globally by 2025. They’re also nearly twice as likely as baby boomers to want to travel more frequently for business, according to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index.
The mobile workforce has distinct desires and expectations that pose a number of challenges to travel managers. These workers are more likely to book outside of corporate travel policies, blend business trips with leisure trips, and want the freedom to use services such as AirBnB and Uber while traveling for business. Mobile usage also adds complexity to the relationship between travel companies and their customers as travelers use multiple devices throughout the booking process. Their search might start on a PC, then move to a smartphone, then to a tablet, and then back to a PC.
At the same time, the mobile workforce tends to desire more flexibility and personalization when it comes to how they manage their business trips. A survey conducted by Sabre in partnership with GBTA found that seven in 10 millennial business travelers prefer the tools they use for their business trips to include self-service components. They expect to have the freedom to book, cancel, or alter their trips, as well as submit their expenses, all on their mobile devices.
These shifts are changing the way travel management companies and travel managers think about modern business travel. They’re quickly realizing the need to incorporate a mobile travel strategy that evolves at the same pace of today’s consumer-facing technologies. However, Sabre recently conducted a survey and found that nearly half of total respondents say their organizations do not recommend any self-service travel apps at all.
A survey from Business Travel News also found a disconnect between travel policies and mobile. Only about 40 percent of companies surveyed had policies that offered mobile expense filing or mobile air travel booking.
Travel budgets can be one of the largest indirect expenses for an organization to monitor and often represent one of the most highly disjointed processes to manage. Organizations that provide mobile solutions to their travelers to integrate their travel and expense activities can simplify their processes and in turn, boost policy compliance, adoption rates, and duty-of-care obligations. Mobile self-service technologies also offer a wide-open opportunity for travel management companies and travel managers to cement relationships with customers—especially a company’s best, high-value customers—by offering them truly personalized service and experiences that will likely have major payoffs in the years to come.
The Sabre Traveler Experience Solution provides a seamless mobile experience from pre-trip to expense reporting. The solution integrates multiple products into one mobile experience to drive savings, compliance, safety, and traveler satisfaction, which seamlessly integrates booking, itinerary and messaging, virtual payments, expense reporting, and travel risk management. Sabre believes better business starts with better business travel.
This content was created collaboratively by Sabre and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.