Global business travel spend continues to grow each year and is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2022, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Furthermore, in 2018 alone, residents in the United States logged 463.6 million single-person trips for business purposes.
And while older generations are commonly associated with with business trips, millennials have acquired their own fair share of business air miles. In fact, three in five (60%) millennial travelers find themselves being more creative and productive when traveling for business to work face-to-face and collaborate with colleagues, as opposed to working alone (30%) or remotely (14%).
With demand for business travel only continuing to increase, airlines, airports and hotels are turning towards their loyalty programs, and the application of technology within them, to address the needs of these frequent fliers.
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Many airlines and airports offer business travelers with timely information and access to airport lounges via mobile apps, as well as using electronic kiosks to deliver food to passengers’ gates. Similarly, hotel loyalty programs are offering valuable time-saving benefits through online check-in and digital keys.
By using the latest technology solutions, travel organizations and loyalty programs can provide valuable benefits that save business travelers’ time and, as a result, enhance their overall experiences when on the road.
The rise of mobile apps
Whether it’s for leisure or for business, travel can be stressful. To assist with any day-of flight concerns road warriors may have, many airports and airlines offer mobile apps that provide real-time flight status information.
And beyond just day-of support, mobile apps play a key role during the planning and research phases. From offering airport parking rates and availability to TSA wait times and airport lounge check-in, mobile apps relieve the stresses that can often plague overall travel experiences.
As savvy business travelers already know, delays and cancellations can unfortunately strike at any time. Rather than hang out at the gate, business travelers can turn to airport lounges provided through loyalty programs, such as Priority Pass. Using Priority Pass’ mobile app, members can check into lounges with their digital membership card, find offers at airport retailers and even save money at airport restaurants.
Going digital at hotel check-in
Airlines and airports undoubtably play a large role in a business travelers’ experiences, but hotels are also vitally important. And just like airlines, many hotels offer loyalty programs that provide both cost-saving and time-saving benefits.
In fact, the days of waiting in line to check in and access a hotel room are fleeting. For example, business travelers who are members of Hilton Honors have access to Digital Key, a mobile-enabled room key that allows visitors to securely open the door of their hotel room, as well as access other areas of the hotel that require a key, via the Hilton Honors’ app.
The use of digital keys by Hilton and other hotels not only ensures that guests can have a more streamlined experience, but it also helps to relieve the hotel itself of busy lobbies during peak check-in times during the summer months and beyond.
Food on the go
Depending upon how much time one has at the airport, food options can often be limited. Yet, just because a business traveler is on the road and does not have enough time to enjoy a sit-down meal, doesn’t mean that they should have to resort to pre-packaged items on their flight.
Today’s business travelers are no different from any other consumer; they desire instant gratification.
To address this issue, U.S. airports are starting to implement food delivery services and electronic kiosks throughout their terminals. For example, Grab, a mobile app and self-service kiosk provider, is helping time-pressed travelers to order food from a variety of airport restaurants.
Following purchase, travelers can either choose to pick up their food at the restaurant or service counter, or have it hand delivered directly to their gate. This not only saves time, but allows business travelers to enjoy a fresh meal from one of their favorite eateries.
Tech’s impact on the business traveler’s experience
While more workers are taking part in business travel, the life of a road warrior can be very hectic. Therefore, it is important for travel organizations and loyalty programs to implement the latest technology solutions in order to meet business travelers’ needs and retain their loyalty.
Today’s business travelers are no different from any other consumer; they desire instant gratification. Without this ability to have a solution to their problem, their travel experiences can be affected and ruin their whole work trip.
From real-time flight updates to being able to purchase something at a click of a button, technology serves as a constant within an otherwise unpredictable lifestyle. By using technology, travel organizations and loyalty programs can ensure that their business travelers’ needs are continuously met throughout the year.
About the author...
is senior vice president of loyalty strategy, Americas, at Collinson