January 10, 2014

Consumerism, technology to drive 2014 business travel

The corporate-travel landscape is poised to continue down the same path as it did in 2013, and travel managers need to keep up with an increased highly technological, personalized mentality if they wish to stay relevant, a number of business-travel executives said.

Mobile technology changed the landscape of business travel in 2013 and will continue to do so in 2014, said Lisa Buckner, president of CTS in Minnetonka, Minn. Today’s travelers can do just about anything on their smartphones that a good business travel agent can do at their desk, and that’s altering the game in several ways.

“We have to make sure the information relating to a trip is seamless for the traveler. The traveler wants an integrated solution for the travel experience,” Buckner said. “Providing that centers around working with your suppliers as true partners. They are not just suppliers any more. They are customers, working with you to service a mutual customer – the traveler.

“There can’t be just one answer, any more than there is just one traveler,” Buckner said. “You have to have the technology and you have to have the information, and you have to blend the two in a highly intelligent fashion. You have to make sure your partners are as invested in the traveler as you are.”

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