January 29, 2013

Technology changing the face of business travel


According to a new Amadeus report, two thirds of travellers are now able to book their business travel through an online booking tool. But only a third of travellers are able to book travel on a mobile or tablet device.

Amadeus has today released a report titled "Amadeus Business Travel Insights: the 21st Century Business Traveller", which charts the behaviour and aspirations of business travellers across the UK. The report is based on a survey of over 400 UK and Ireland adults, who work for large companies and regularly travel for business and was conducted in December 2012, by ICM Research on behalf of Amadeus UK.

Key findings include:

Technology changing the face of business travel

Tipping point reached in the ability to book online: the data displays new opportunities for self managed travel as two thirds (66%) of travellers are now able to book their business travel through an online booking tool. Only a third of travellers (33%) are able to book travel on a mobile or tablet device, providing a significant area of opportunity for travel managers, TMCs and technology companies to put their knowledge and company policies in the hands of the traveller.

Itinerary change management provides opportunity to add value

Half (51%) of the survey respondents had to make changes to their travel plans in 2012 with 37% having to amend their flights whilst on the road. These statistics indicate a clear opportunity for the travel department to add value as only 30% of travellers said the department had been 'very effective' at making the necessary amendments to their bookings.

Clear gap to bridge between corporate governance and user awareness of policy as significant minority go "off plan"

One third (34%) of travellers surveyed said that they had gone "off plan" during their 2012 business travel. However, this increased to half (51%) for those travellers who made 11 or more trips in 2012, nearly a fifth (18%) of them went "off plan" at least five times during the year.

Convenience is the top priority for business travellers

The report found that convenience is prioritised by business travellers above cost and comfort, with 62% of respondents stating this was the most important factor when travelling for business. Just over a fifth (22%) stated cost as their top priority, with only 15% putting comfort first. 32% of the business travellers who took part in our survey would also like to have the opportunity to extend their business trip to include self-funded leisure travel and 14% would like to be provided with information into local sights.

Ambivalence to the corporate travel department

However, the report delivers some more mixed reading for travel managers. Whilst half of the travellers surveyed said that they fully understand their company's corporate travel policy (51%), this leaves nearly half who have a more limited or no understanding. Respondents demonstrated an inability to pinpoint the value added by the corporate travel department: nearly half (47%) said that the department neither helped nor hindered the business, 15% said that the corporate travel department hindered their ability to do business.

Commenting on the findings, Diane Bouzebiba, Managing Director of Amadeus, UK and Ireland, says: "These findings clearly identify opportunities for travel departments to introduce new services and technologies that will deliver additional value to travellers. Over the course of this year, a particular priority for Amadeus UK is to help corporate travel departments better understand the emerging needs of the 21st century business traveller. Putting their expertise in the hands of corporate travellers and exploring mobile technology to facilitate the planning, booking and amendment of travel arrangements, will go a long way to help keep travellers on plan, safe and better connected in 2013 and beyond."

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