It was interesting to read about Google’s plans to change the booking experience for consumers recently. The search giant announced it is bundling a range of its trip-planning tools together – meaning users will be able to book their flight, hotel and access Google’s other apps and services all together via the ‘Trips’ page.
That’s just a different way of doing what is already available.
But as technology continues to have a significant impact on the travel industry and the pace of change intensifies, it’s important that technological innovation doesn’t just automate or provide variants to what is already done. We need to make sure it’s actually adding real value to buyers and consumers.
The need for an integrated booking capability that includes pre-book and on the move, combined with an automated travel companion supplying relevant information, is clearly having an influence on travel management and frequent business travellers alike.
Combining tech and industry expertise
Until we reach the seamless integrated travel experience of the future, we can’t just rely on the power of new technology to resolve issues – we need to combine its capabilities with existing industry expertise.
TMC’s and most good travel companies are now exploring how they can do this, combining automation, human personal service and technology products to redefine their travel offering and business models.
Technology is what can make the complex and difficult aspects, such as information and communication, easier whilst on the move. It can help resolve ‘pain points’ in real-time – providing information for self-application and allowing people to communicate quickly with family, friends and colleagues. Solutions like chatbots are there to take stress away and make journeys more comfortable.
However, without the expert knowledge and support from travel managers too, this tech will never be truly effective. This has been recognised by the younger generation of travellers – in the US, many boast about having their own travel agent for international travel. Even in the UK, younger travellers accept that they know how to use the tech, but they don’t know if they are buying the appropriate product and service – most only learn once something goes wrong.
We’re certainly heading towards an exciting and enjoyable future of business travel – but let’s not forget about the value to be gained from having an experienced advisor on hand to solve traveller problems, whether that’s during the booking process or while on the go.