According to a new study more than 7 in 10 business travelers in the United States (78%), Italy (77%), Canada (74%) and Spain (73%) prefer using self-service technology to manage their travel, while the rate is slightly lower for the Nordic countries (60%) and Germany (56%).
The study from the GBTA Foundation in partnership with Sabre Corporation also found in North America and Europe, the vast majority of business travelers also want to receive personalized travel options. However, even though business travelers want personalized options, they are hesitant to share too much personal information to obtain them.
They are commonly willing to share details such as their frequent flyer or hotel loyalty number, preferred airline and hotel brands and aircraft seat preferences, but fewer than half would share their travel history, preferred leisure activities while traveling, their business calendar with booked appointments and their social media account names.
Business travelers use a variety of travel-related mobile apps during their trips, but in all countries surveyed, supplier apps are more commonly used than travel management company (TMC), itinerary management and expense management apps.
The most common uses for travel-related mobile apps by North American business travelers include flight check-in/status, generating an online boarding pass and booking hotels and flights.
In the European countries surveyed, business travelers use travel-related apps for many of the same reasons as their North American counterparts. However, compared with U.S.-based business travelers, Germany and Nordic-based travelers are less likely to use travel-related apps for booking, while Spain-based travelers are more likely to do so.
The European business travelers surveyed were also more likely to use apps to book rail or train than North Americans and were less likely to use them to request a ride-sharing service or taxi.
Most companies don’t require or recommend travel apps as only one-fifth or fewer say their organization has specific apps they require for business travel and about half in each country say their organization does not recommend any travel apps.
Given the opportunity, many business travelers would likely use mobile payment or e-wallet technology. The share likely to do so ranges from 43% in the Nordic countries all the way up to 75% in Italy. Millennials and Gen-X travelers are much more likely than Baby Boomers to want to use mobile payments.
Mobile apps commonly developed by TMCs or third-party safety or security firms can assist with duty of care by allowing travelers to check-in with their company upon arrival at a destination or by allowing companies to track their employees’ location and send push notifications in an emergency among other features.
Only a small share of travelers use these apps, however. Only 22% of survey respondents have used a mobile app to check-in with their company during a trip over the past year and even fewer (15%) have used a mobile app that allows their company to track their location. Still, despite low use, 63% said they would allow their company to track their location via their mobile device for duty of care purposes.
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