Expedia big boss Dara Khosrowshahi was in London last week banging the drum about the blurring of lines between leisure and business travel.
Social sharing and technology developments are making that fuzzy border even more difficult to define, whether it's travellers wanting access to the same tools for business travel that they have at home, or an extending trips for leisure purposes.
Incidentally, an Expedia/Egencia Future of Travel report published in October revealed 62% of Millennials (aged 18 to 30) have extended a business trip into a personal holiday with Khosrowshahi adding that, in the UK, 56% of business travellers have.
Speaking at the Business Travel Show, he also talked about the business traveller, less in terms of who they are but rather "when they are". Here are some of his key take-outs:
- They are decidedly mobile, 90% on smartphone, 60% on tablets or they're on multiple devices
- One-in-five Egencia travellers changed travel after the booking so they're willing to "pay for flexibility and pay a premium for it."
- 86% of UK millenials will share data in exchange for free stuff
"Business travellers are going to be demanding the same (technology). They want to be part of the decision making process and have full access to information, reviews etc. Travel arrangers that make that available are going to be providing a much more holistic experience."
And, his suggestions for tapping into the segment:
- Solutions that are consumer inspired, well designed and 'delightful' to use
- Solutions that are integrated as you (the travel management company) provide access to real-time data and use the consistency of the data to get the most out of the travel dollar for corporate customers
- Solutions that are mobile across platform
But, where does Expedia-owned Egencia
come into all this?
Khosrowshahi dropped a few clues with a demonstration of Expedia's latest 'iPad experience' which he said would be a pre-cursor to what the corporate travel experience is going to look like too.
He described it as providing 'very tactile experiences' and says there's no reason the corporate traveller shouldn't have the same experience.
And right on cue, Egencia unveiled its mobile-only hotel discounts accessible via its TripNavigator application (launched in November and using technology from Mobiata, which was acquired by Expedia more than three years ago).
Egencia says it's leveraging the group's technology investment which Khosrowshahi puts at $500 million in the past year - a five-fold increase since 2006.
An Egencia statement also talks about a 'rapid development cycle for next generation booking and customer services' and says the company has created a three-step booking process with a consumer-style interface for air, hotel and UK rail.
Khosrowshahi concluded by saying how the industry has to deal with fragmentation especially as changes in technology are coming faster than ever.
He pointed to electricity, which took 40 years to reach mass adoption, black and white television took 20 years and colour television took 10 but Facebook only took three years.
NB: Blurred lines image via Shutterstock