How Technology is Changing Business Travel

Our world has undergone seismic changes over the past few decades due to technology, and the way we travel and do business has also evolved as a result.

To help you make the most of your business travel, here’s a look at the latest business travel trends, courtesy of American Express Global Business Travel.

Business travelers are using their mobile devices

The first business travel trend is not new or surprising, but it is continually evolving. Business travelers are increasingly using and dependent on their mobile devices and travel-related apps.

In 2015, the number of global mobile users surpassed the number of computer desktop users. Since then, mobile usage has also increased over desktop usage as the most used medium for daily digital consumption, according to a study by venture capital firm KPCB.

The increase in mobile usage has naturally changed the way people plan and travel for business and other reasons. Where computers were once just used for research and browsing, travelers of all kinds are now confidently and securely booking their travel via mobile devices.  According to estimates from eMarketer, mobile booking from smart phones and tablets will account for the majority of digital travel bookings during 2017.

Interestingly, millennials are at the forefront of mobile usage for travel. According to research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), conducted in partnership with American Express Global Business Travel, 72 percent of millennials use mobile devices to check itineraries at least once per day during business trips.

Millennials also lead all business travelers in using their mobile phones to track their expenses. This should come as no surprise, as 2015 research found that more than twice as many millennial business travelers were interested in using their mobile device to keep track of expenses when compared to travelers over the age of 55.

Home-sharing sites changing where we stay

Just as mobile technology is driving the business travel trends, it’s also had a huge influence on changes in travel accommodations. Home-sharing services like AirBnB™ and HomeAway™ saw a 56-percent growth in use between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, according to data from Concur.

AirBnB, the most popular of the home-sharing sites, has an estimated 2 million listings worldwide, with revenue of about $2.4 billion in the U.S. last year. The business has been valued at $24 billion, higher than the $21-billion valuation of hotel giant Marriott International, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nationwide, AirBnB lists about 173,000 units, equal to about 3.5 percent of the more than 5 million rooms rented out by traditional hotels, according to a study by CBRE’s hotel research arm. The study goes on to say that AirBnB properties have started to pressure hotels to keep rates low in a handful of cities where home-sharing units are plentiful, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

Increased competition increasing hotel perks

Another benefit of increasing competition in the hotel industry is that we’re seeing a continued increase in the free services offered by hotels. For example, many hotels are offering free Wi-Fi in order to attract more business travelers. According to the latest GBTA research, 75 percent of business travelers said that Wi-Fi is vital to their productivity. Additionally, 25 percent of respondents said that a lack of reliable Wi-Fi access is the most frustrating part of their travels—even more so than the travel itself.

Source: American Express Global Business Travel