Emerging technologies including blockchain, virtual reality and bots can help corporate travel buyers to improve their sourcing from suppliers, according to a new guide from travel management company BCD Travel.
BCD is producing a series of short papers to illustrate to travel buyers how they could soon use new technology to improve the effectiveness of their travel programmes and policies, including new ways to save money.
The first of these six "Inform" papers focuses on how technology is set to change corporate travel sourcing with sections focused on machine learning, blockchain, bots, virtual and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Areas covered include how blockchain technology can create “smart” contracts, which “self-execute” when certain conditions are met. Blockchain may also offer a cheaper alternative payment method to corporate cards.
Machine learning can be used to create algorithms that automatically giving preference to less expensive hotels within online booking tools to save money.
Other examples include how virtual and augmented reality can be harnessed to enhance the sourcing of meeting spaces by virtually “trying out” different room set-ups and seating arrangements before booking.
BCD adds that bots can be utilised to go beyond their current chat-based functions to take on other automated tasks such as the analysis of spending patterns, creating purchase orders and dealing with other routine payment processes.
Miriam Moscovici, BCD’s director of emerging technologies, said:
“Given that corporate travel buyers are now headed into annual supplier negotiations, we thought the sourcing topic would be a good one for our debut paper in the Inform series.
“The paper helps travel buyers better understand how to use digital technologies – like AI and chatbots – in sourcing scenarios.
"This is real-world information for real-world programmes.”
BCD will be producing further papers on how emerging technologies will change corporate travel in areas such as policy, communications, duty of care, payment and expense, and performance management.
To access the Inform paper on the role of emerging technologies within sourcing, click here.