The ever-changing corporate travel industry is set to experience another dynamic year in 2018. Predictions for the global economy are at their strongest for many years, which is expected to result in a significant rise in business travel activity.
Growing travel demand will lead to more competition for services and, as a result, businesses can expect some higher prices for corporate travel. However, a focus on personalisation and user-friendly technology will provide consumers with improved mobility and a more seamless travel experience.
To make informed decisions, it is important to understand the trends and new technologies that will affect corporate travel in the year ahead. Here are some of the key global travel trends and industry developments for 2018.
ACROSS THE GLOBE
Airlines will continue to invest in updating equipment and enhancing the passenger experience in 2018. Travellers can expect higher quality terminals and airport lounges, as well as improved meals and onboard service.
Increasing airline demand is likely to result in airfare prices rising globally. Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018, with the number of scheduled aircraft departures to exceed more than 38 million – an average of 73 aircraft departing each minute.
Global hotel rates are predicted to increase with demand outstripping supply in some markets. Ground transportation will experience further transformation in 2018, with adoption of innovative mobile apps, autonomous vehicles, as well as high speed rail.
Travellers will continue to demand more flexibility in 2018. They expect technology to allow for more mobility and personal control over their travel experience. Corporate passengers want automation of more airport processes, real-time updates sent directly to personal devices, as well as more efficient security and border control.
Several airline carriers have committed to introducing Wi-Fi connectivity on international flights throughout 2018. This could soon make in-flight entertainment systems obsolete as travellers access their own laptops, mobile and tablet devices
Hotels across the world are investing in innovative technology, such as “smart” rooms, which feature mobile and voice-activated technology allowing guests to customise their stay.
Some hotels are introducing keyless check-in, with mobile apps to be used for this purpose as well as unlocking doors, operating entertainment systems remotely and controlling room temperatures and lighting. Robot delivery and concierge systems and wireless charging are becoming more available.
A DISRUPTING INFLUENCE
Artificial intelligence will help automate business-travel bookings in 2018, providing passengers with improved access to the most cost-effective and rewarding options. Tens of thousands of travel apps are being developed to address niche areas of the travel experience. Translation technology will help airline employees and passengers to overcome language barriers with their smartphones, while map programs will increasingly include more detailed information about airports.
Virtual and augmented reality will allow travellers to view aircraft cabins and hotel rooms, assisting them in decision making and bookings.
Big data analytics will continue to provide a rich seam of customer information for travel providers, enabling further customisation and personalisation, while many airports are moving closer to utilising facial recognition and biometrics technology, which will speed up immigration and security processes.
Blockchain technology could revolutionise procurement processes, facilitating and managing transactions, particularly across multiple countries and currencies.
Corporate travellers have an increasing number of new and flexible digital payment options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits. Cardless, mobile and online payment solutions will continue to provide numerous benefits in 2018.
SOLUTIONS FOR SUCCESS
In such a competitive travel landscape, strategic travel buyers and TMCs must look for new and innovative ways to deliver savings.
We remain committed to reducing the cost of business travel, improving efficiencies and productivity, and maximising traveller safety.
As always, CTM’s customers will benefit from our market-leading technology solutions, supported by customer service excellence and industry expertise, global buying power and supplier relationships in 2018.
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