What will the future of business travel be like?
New technologies are constantly changing traveller experience. Overview of what awaits travellers in the coming years.
Travellers will be better assisted (and less stressed)
- Travellers’ demands are set to be met within a matter of months, as personal bot assistants are on their way to answer all their questions about their trip and their schedule. This service is already provided by Destygo and Sam; startups specialising in conversational AI to provide travel support for business travellers. Travellers receive information about travel conditions and are guided around public transport while also receiving a concierge service. And all via a simple chat.
- Another example of something that’s set to become standard is Zoe; a personal travel assistant for business travellers created by Club Mandaley, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world. Zoe has been designed to alert travellers in real-time of flight delays and cancellations, changes to boarding gate numbers, or baggage reclaim points. It can, if necessary, also make last-minute reservations via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp!
A personalised relationship with hotels
- Hoteliers are providing automated concierge services, along the lines of Guidewiser, which can be used on Messenger or WhatsApp. It’s really easy; a virtual conversational assistant, replies directly to guests' questions in real-time according to the data it holds. For its part, The Colossal Factory has already rolled out Quicktext, a tool for reinventing how hotels and their guests interact using instant messaging tools, Live Chat, SMS, AI and chatbots.
- Virtual voice assistants will be found in every room to cater for guests' requirements, whether for controlling automated room features (for adjusting lighting or room temperature for example), providing stay-related details (weather, meeting times and similar), or bellboy services. Several hotel groups are, moreover, currently trialling integrating Google Assistant and Google Home into their own system to provide these functions. Alexa and Amazon Echo are also set to have their place.
- On another note, tasks such as check-in and check-out will be organised totally differently and completed using an electronic key on a guest's smartphone or simply through face recognition. This is an area that 1Check and RoomChecking are already working on.
A smoother airport experience
- No time to park? Not to worry, technology will do it for you. Stan, a robot designed by Stanley Robotic (France), can raise your vehicle slightly and safely park it in the carpark. This service, tested at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport over five months in 2017, is currently in operation at Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport. Next step: development at European level and worldwide.
- At the airport, biometrics and blockchain are revolutionising traveller experience. On the one hand, biometrics - that is all data processing techniques that make it possible to automatically recognise a person using their physical or biological traits - are being fine-tuned. Air France has just received an award for its biometric boarding pass project, which will be introduced as of this autumn at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. The principle is simple: at check-in, a camera takes a photo of each passenger and encodes their facial biometric data in the barcode of their boarding pass, which is then issued on paper. Other cameras later authenticate the passenger's identity at each security point.
- Then there is blockchain, technology that makes it possible to exchange data without a centralised intermediary, which can also help streamline traveller experience. A delay? An insurance company that uses blockchain, such as Axa with its fizzy platform, can process refunds automatically and in a totally transparent way.
Moving towards new modes of travel?
*Figures: FCM Travel Solutions et Déplacements Pros
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