The world of business travel innovation is developing fast. We take a look at some of the most impressive developments
This excerpt comes from an in-depth article featured in the Guardian as part of their Work Smarter series – a collaboration between SAP Concur and the Guardian. For more great quality content and advice on ways to introduce greater efficiency into your business, visit the Work Smarter hub.
We often think of technology as something that runs counter to real life, face-to-face interaction. But when it comes to the world of business travel, it can work in both directions.
While technology may have made it easier to do business remotely, for instance by improving video conferencing, it has also improved the IRL experience of meeting face-to-face by making travel simpler, safer and less stressful.
After all, remember the first time you downloaded a boarding pass on to your smartphone and magically breezed through the departure gates? Or when you first ordered a taxi with a few taps on your touchscreen? Connected business travellers now increasingly expect experiences that are seamless, reliable, secure and personal. Meanwhile, businesses need systems that make managing the process – from booking tickets to filing expenses – as streamlined as possible. So here’s the lowdown on the incoming tech trends that will be upgrading more and more of our journeys.
Travel gets personal and integrated with AI
From centralised itineraries accessible from apps and desktop, integration with third-party services such as Uber and Airbnb, right through to streamlined expense management and smartphone alerts for cancellations and delays, it’s becoming much easier to manage everything a business trip can throw at you, in one place.
Increasingly intelligent, ever-more-integrated and automated systems such as Concur Travel and Concur TripLink, are already taking away plenty of the traditional pain of business travel. Artificial intelligence makes these kinds of integrated systems smarter too, using data, including information from previous trips, to anticipate future travel preferences and take a much more active role in the booking process.
For example, they can learn whether you prefer a city-centre hotel with breakfast included, to be somewhere close to your client meeting or in a favourite part of town.
These systems also seek to eliminate the stress points during booking and checking in. For example, an automated check-in that knows your seat preferences, and passport details. In the face of delays or cancellations, these systems will use your preferences to automatically offer tailored alternative solutions to minimise delays and even make the bookings for you, with biometric mobile payments.
While all of this will make life on the road easier for the individual traveller, at the same time, businesses will have more control, too. For example, SAP Concur already enables businesses to gain greater oversight of employee trips regardless of where travel is booked. Booking details can be pulled through using machine learning in order to easily generate expense claims, while company travel and expense policies are automatically applied, ensuring any bookings match budgets. Any trip receipts and invoices are digitally captured and validated for HMRC and VAT reclaim purposes, which can free up a lot of time spent on admin.
This is just a snippet of the whole story. Read the full Guardian article here.