Technology Has Changed the Face of Business Travel
Last week, the first ever GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ in partnership with American Express revealed how business travelers across the globe feel about their travel experience and how those feelings affect their actual behaviors related to travel.
A key finding of the study revealed a massive technological transformation is changing the face of business travel. Constant connectivity thanks to Wi-Fi and mobile technologies allow travelers to stay connected whether in their hotel rooms, at the airport or at 30,000 feet. This transformation will only accelerate, and business travelers will demand always-on connectivity and mobile applications that allow them to stay in touch 24/7.
The vast majority of travelers in all countries, except Japan and Germany, believe access to technology allows them to keep up with their other work demands when traveling (about 75 percent or more on average). In addition, with the exception of Japan (40 percent), about six out of 10 travelers in each country agree they have all the necessary resources to be productive while on the road.
Travelers believe that Wi-Fi is vital to the work productivity across the board – Mexico (90 percent); Brazil (87 percent); Canada (83 percent); United States (81 percent); United Kingdom (80 percent); Australia (75 percent); Germany (70 percent) and Japan (52 percent).
A majority of travelers in most countries believe that mobile applications (provided by travel suppliers, event organizers or travel destinations) have enhanced their overall business travel experience. In particular travelers in Australia (57 percent), the U.S. (55 percent), UK (55 percent) and Canada (53 percent) “agree” or “strongly agree” with this statement.
Submitting paper receipts remains the predominant method of validating expenses, but travelers appreciate the ability to use multiple mechanisms to submit receipts— paper receipts, taking images of receipts using a photocopier or scanner, and taking photos of receipts using a mobile device. Out of all the countries, the U.S. is the one country that relies on paper receipts the least (52 percent). Conversely, in Japan and Brazil, business travelers primarily rely on paper receipts (88 percent and 78 percent, respectively) and also give the lowest satisfaction ratings.
Increasingly, travelers are open to new technologies – such as digital wallets – that allow them to keep track of payments and expenses via their mobile devices. Based on their high level of interest, this functionality is most likely to be successful with Mexican (74 percent) and Brazilian (64 percent) travelers, compared to travelers from other countries.
Social media use for business travel is more widespread among younger travelers (ages 18 to 34) than all other age groups, as well as female travelers compared to male travelers.
Interest in using sharing-economy transportation services is relatively low among all travelers – only 20 percent of business travelers express interest in using these services more. However, younger travelers in all countries are more likely than older travelers to increase use of these services.