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Technology is enabling success in businesses today

Technology is enabling success in businesses today

The evolution of corporate travel

A fast changing scenario is emerging with new factors arising that will enable a richer travel experience, says Antoine Medawar, VP Mena, Amadeus

SOME people still consider business travel as a perk or privilege. But many frequent business travellers have found that as for this novelty the thrill is gone. This might sound familiar to you – days and weeks away from home year after year make for professional benefits and opportunities but also imply pitfalls and impact on travellers’ personal life.

According to ‘From Chaos to Collaboration’, a recent research report by Amadeus, a leading transaction processor and provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry, business travellers now have to work much harder to reconcile the demands of their personal and professional lives as a result of their frequent travels.

First, business travellers will increasingly want a “home away from home”, and technology will be crucial in helping business travellers to keep in touch with the office and stay connected to friends and family. We are already seeing more mobile video conferencing so business travellers can stay in touch with family while on a business trip.

On the other hand, cloud computing will definitely make it easier for travellers to access information while on the road – be it a presentation or contract they forgot to bring, their favourite videos or music, or a photo of their child’s school musical performance. With business travellers carrying their work and social life with them, hoteliers reliant on the business travel market will need to make sure that they have the right infrastructure to allow travellers to optimise technology. Services such as free Wi-Fi access in hotel rooms will become the norm rather than the exception.

Secondly, business travellers will want to experience beyond the boardroom. The desire for authentic local experiences will turn the business traveller into a business tourist. Hotels will need to add value to the business traveller’s experience by transforming themselves into information centres and local tour representatives. Travel providers could offer guests augmented reality applications that can layer information on to a physical location through the camera lens of a mobile device. Photos, videos or even sounds from the past could add a richer dimension to local landmarks.

Technology is here to enable the corporations’ success in an increasingly demanding business environment. Solutions such as Amadeus e-Travel Management (AeTM) allow employees to easily plan, book, and purchase complete travel itineraries within their company guidelines. Employees can make changes to travel plans on their own, within policy, without having to go through a middleman, helping to improve efficiency and cut administrative costs.

Against a backdrop of rising airfares and hotel rates, there is also increasing pressure on corporate travel managers to keep costs at a manageable level. AeTM allows travel management companies to critically analyse which areas their clients are spending on most. This, in turn, gives the corporation more bargaining power when negotiating with suppliers.

Looking ahead, mobile will be a critical area to help deliver a more seamless, hassle-free travel experience. The pervasive connectivity of mobile will herald a new eco-system whereby information is freely exchanged and the idea of one-way transactions becomes obsolete.

The best is yet to come, though. Next-generation technologies are here to stay.

Augmented reality (view of a physical, real-world environment);

Cloud computing (computing resources -hardware and software);

“Gamification” (the use of game design elements) and

Near Field Communication is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices.

They will no doubt bring a transformed and richer travel experience with less complexity and stress. For travel business, the future starts now.

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