Year in Review: Corporate Travel in 2019
As the year draws to an end, we reflect on some key events that have shaped the corporate travel experience in 2019.
1. Traveller-centric policies
Millennials are reportedly worth US$200billion to the travel and tourism industry followed closely by Gen Z who will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020. Business models have had to adapt to satisfy the unique needs of these employees, travellers and consumers, including increased personalisation and streamlined experiences.
The corporate travel industry invested heavily in machine learning in 2019 to understand traveller behaviour and simplify the booking experience. For example, CTM’s Get Me There functionality (exclusive to Lightning) uses information from stored traveller profiles to recommend an end-to-end journey solution. All the user has to do, is simply click on the options they want (air or rail, hotel, car) and hit ‘book’, saving time and hassle.
2. Sustainable travel
This year, CTM received an increasing amount of client requests for more sustainable travel options. We worked closely with suppliers to understand their sustainability initiatives and targets for the year ahead, even theming our annual CTM Supplier Day around ‘Sustainable Travel’. Although the concept of Green Travel has been around for over a decade, recent developments in travel technology has resulted in more tangible solutions to combat CO2 emissions, reduce plastics and provide more sustainable experiences for our clients.
CTM also provides clients with carbon offsetting options and carbon calculations.
3. Seamless payments and expenses
As of this winter, virtual payment solutions have been made exempt from the recent security legislation, Strong Consumer Authentication (or SCA or PSD2). As a result, they have been increasingly popular with businesses in 2019.
The move away from individual corporate cards has provided travel managers with more efficient expense management processes and helped drive compliance within travel programmes.
AirPlus International – a global provider of business travel payment solutions, expects virtual cards to be their biggest product over the next three years, with cash and physical cards disappearing almost completely in that time.
As we approach a new year, in fact, a new decade, we are excited to see how the industry continues to evolve. Looking ahead to 2020, we are keeping an eye on the following trends:
1. Advancements in airport processing technology
IATA predicts that by 2020, customers will notice significant changes in how their baggage is managed, including an increase in self-service and off-airport provisions.
In the UK, the government has announced that all major UK airports will be required to have 3D cabin baggage security scanners by 1st December 2022. The scanners, which have been trialled at Heathrow Airport since 2017, may allow passengers to take liquids over 100ml through security, saving time and improving efficiency.
2. ONE Order
An extended version of NDC, IATAs own target is that ONE Order is widely adopted by 2025. It aims to consolidate a range of elements into a more manageable single entity, meaning it will replace multiple booking, ticketing and accounting methods for airlines with one simple process.
3. 5G mobile connectivity
As mobile bookings increase, more benefit can be gained from the recent upgrade to 5G mobile network. In the UK, 5G connectivity first launched in May 2019 with a phased deployment across the country expected to continue into 2020.
In the travel industry, there is much to gain through improved tracking of baggage and flight status, faster speeds for on-the-go bookings and downloads, and further incorporation of IoT (internet of things), allowing for a fully connected travel experience.