Who needs a human travel agent when ‘bots’ and Artificial Intelligence are taking over the travel industry? The answer might surprise you.
In this digital age, more than ever, customers are craving human interaction, especially when booking business travel.
They want to be able to turn to a ‘live’ consultant to ticket complex routes, or for advice on how to manage their travels better and receive a greater return on their corporate travel spend. Most of all, they want to be able to talk to a living person when there's a crisis or when facing exceptional circumstances.
The trend back to human interaction is confirmed by research from management consultants McKinsey and Company. A recent study shows that fewer than five percent of occupations could ever be entirely automated or replaced by technology as it exists today. The reason is that most jobs are too complex, making it impossible for programmed robots to take on all the tasks.
However, that doesn’t mean technology won’t have a role to play in the future.
The travel arranger of the future will need to take back the power of booking travel by blending tech with a human touch.
Travel arrangers will need to determine the right ratio of human to machine power and understand where technology can yield better returns for them and the traveller.
Successful travel arrangers understand the need for personalisation, and that technology can help them to achieve this.
The travel agent of the future will be focused on the end-to-end customer experience, using technology to automate the tasks that distract them from delivering the best service.
Four ways tech can assist the travel arranger of the future
For travel bookers and arrangers looking to streamline their travel processes, it is critical to understand current trends and understand how technology influences these behaviours.
Here are patterns to look out for 2019:
1. Rising cost pressures
Travel is on the rise, but so are costs. According to the latest 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting report, airfares will rise between three and five percent in the next 12 months.
For decision makers, it has never been more vital to ensure travel bookers and travellers have easy access to the best fares and rates. A reliable technology platform is the solution.
2. Flexibility and personalisation
Travellers want technology that isn’t just easy to use, they want it to be personalised. The less time they have to spend dealing with preferences and settings, the more time they can focus on their jobs.
3. Smart technology
As travel Apps become more sophisticated, today’s business travellers are demanding services and systems that anticipate their needs.
4. Analytics and data
Businesses are capturing more data than ever but unlocking real value can be challenging. Being able to track and benchmark travel spending data can help travel bookers easily identify ways to cut back or allocate more resources where needed, all based on employees’ unique travel habits.
Which technology is right for the travel booker of the future?
Corporate Traveller’s new platform, YOUR.CT, is blended technology at work. The platform serves travel bookers and travellers via a customised dashboard, with functionality and information that is relevant.
YOUR.CT is streamlined to approve travel requests as they happen, and every record and invoice is automatically captured on the system. Those with signing power can easily see where everyone is at any one time, reducing risk.
Are humans overrated? Might they be? The simple answer is: no. AI and bots will not replace human interaction but will undoubtedly help service providers to deliver a better and more personalised customer experience.
For more insights on whether technology can help streamline your business travel booking process, download this informative whitepaper on how to blend technology with the human touch.
This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Corporate Traveller.