Travel disruptions have become all too common for leisure and business travelers alike. According to a new report from Egencia, 73% of frequent business travelers say their recent trips have been disrupted in some way, including flight delays and cancellations.
The survey of 2,250 travelers from France, the United Kingdom and United States reveals 69% of business travelers now expect travel disruptions. And to manage that disruption, corporate travelers are increasingly turning to technology solutions.
According to the report, 96% of travelers say they value disruption management technology. Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they are more likely to use digital tools such as apps and virtual agents to address travel disruptions since the onset of the pandemic.
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Survey respondents cite getting real-time updates, saving time, receiving immediate and personalized support from a corporate travel agency, avoiding lines at customer service and having more choice for new arrangements as the top benefits to using technology to manage trip disruptions.
Business travelers want additional automated options in the future, as well, with 34% of frequent travelers calling for predictive flight alerts and 28% wanting automatically rebooked flights.
As disruptions continue, 49% of business travelers say they would prefer to simply cancel their trip. However, despite the chaos, 94% of business travelers say they still see the upside to traveling for work.
“Business travelers are increasingly concerned about experiencing problems on the road and getting the support they need,” says Egencia president Mark Hollyhead. “Whatever the purpose for a trip, if you make the decision to travel it’s an investment in time.”
In June, American Express Global Business Travel, which bought Egencia from Expedia in May 2021, launched a new virtual assistant in its mobile app. The bot boosts efficiency and reduces wait times for customers, said Mark McSpadden, vice president global product and user experience at Amex GBT, in an interview with PhocusWire.
“During disruption every second matters for the traveler and for the travel counselor and the travel ecosystem,” McSpadden said.
According to GBTA, business travel recovery isn’t expected until 2026 due to inflation, high energy prices, supply chain challenges and labor shortages. It had previously anticipated a recovery to 2019 levels by 2024.