Forget 2014, AirPlus is first out of the block with future gazing but with a twist - how the business travel landscape might look in 50 years.
In coming up with its 20 predictions it takes into account the possible impact of factors including: economic, social, cultural, infrastructural and, of course, technological.
Here they are, split into two parts with those with a technology element listed first:
- Door-to-door business travel will be reality taking in every facet of the trip.
- All journeys will be no longer than 2.5 hours thanks to supersonic air travel.
- Goodbye company-wide travel programmes, it will be about the traveller making informed decisions.
- Good bye head offices and regional offices as we get used to working anywhere and commuting becomes the exception.
- Holographic meetings/video conferencing will replace internal meetings.
- Travel managers will morph to become mobility managers and employee productivity managers.
- Corporate travel management will be all about IT.
- Traveller security will become the number one priority over cost.
- Interconnected, interdependent transport modes with shared booking platforms, ticketing and data systems.
- Travel bookings will be made online direct with suppliers and tracked via harmonised systems
And, those with more of an environmental, social or economic element:
- International business travel volumes will be massive compared to domestic travel.
- Business travel will be concentrated on 20-30 urban networks across the globe.
- The cost of business travel will soar as resources become scarce.
- Travel and meetings will be a single-line item on the balance sheet.
- No more travelling for internal meetings, which will be viewed as unacceptable and too costly.
- Irresponsible travel buying by employees will be seen as gross misconduct.
- International law and order will break down and pandemics will occur more often.
- Data privacy will be obsolete.
- 90% of trains will run on time.
- Travel managers within corporates will still need help and advice.
The study,which can be downloaded here
, is full of insight on how things might look in 10, 20 and 30 years time taking into account developments in mobile with devices becoming key, ticket and payment mechanism.
The section on technology is worth a deeper dive as it highlights:
- Holographic conferencing as the 'next revolution' in video-conferencing eliminating the need for face-to-face contact. Cultural issues remain a question however. The report refers to Canada-based researchers already having developed the "TeleHuman" enabling two people to use telepods for live, 3D conferencing.
- Driver-less cars with trials already being carried out via the EU-funded Sartre project and how cars will become a multi-purpose space for both work and leisure.
- A complete transformation in the aircraft and flying experience with planes becoming the cruise ships of the sky with fully automated check-in and security, virtual golf and conferencing on-board and perhaps even pilot-less.
- Hotel rooms that can be personalised using technology such as augmented reality and dream management systems enabling guests to study while sleeping.
AirPlus Business Travel 2060 was penned by Mark Harris of Travel Intelligence Network.
NB: Artificial intelligence images via Shutterstock.