Bleisure is no longer the only thing the corporate traveler wants
Victoria Gorzio, Head of Business Travel Agencies Segment for LATAM in Amadeus, shares her vision on MICE in the region
The panorama of business trips and related experiences are changing and it is in the companies that manage them to know how to read and adapt to these changes or to be left behind.
Corporate travel agencies are undergoing major transformations and challenges that affect the way they used to work and include factors such as the use of artificial intelligence, how to communicate with customers, the range of pricing options that currently exist, importance of personalization, how to manage the content and the reach of mobiles, among others.
The corporate traveler is also changing. Currently, only 60% of companies implement travel policies, 52% of travelers book their own trip, and 42% prefer to use online travel agencies, Online Booking Tools- also known as OBTs (tools of travel self-management) or Metabooking sites.
Here we must take into account another factor: the generational change. Today's traveler wants his work trips to be shaped by the bleisure concept (mix of work and leisure), with entertainment opportunities, where he can have free moments to have local experiences in the destination he is in. In addition to this, they demand an easy, fast and convenient interface to use.
New players appear in the market too. Travel startups are increasingly relevant and are gaining ground where 25% of those engaged in travel are already venturing into the world of corporate travel by offering innovative solutions.
A recent research by ARC and The Beat on the investment priorities of business travel agencies draws this picture and points out how the way to communicate with customers is also changing. Next year, 25 of the 30 travel companies surveyed in this study plan to invest in contact center solutions. Omnichannel is the new trend where now webchat, email, automatic calls and text messages are also used to talk with travel agents.
Custom chatbots like Amanda de Amadeus appear in the country's tourism businesses. Taking advantage of advances in the processing of natural language and artificial intelligence, robots open an automated channel of communication and service for customers to consult on policies, obtain real-time details of their trips and even carry out travel transactions, either through of text or voice-based systems such as Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Slack, SMS and own travel agency channels.
As for the use of the mobile, this is no longer a novelty but rather the minimum requirement for corporate travel agencies. Here the opportunities are endless and range from information on itineraries in real time, reserved hotels, flights, ground transportation, flight alerts and registration capabilities and destination information.
For its part, the content remains key. The IATA NDC initiative, which some of the world's largest airlines are now beginning to adopt and scale, promises corporate enhancements and recognitions, access to additional non-GDS content and a more dynamic and personalized retail experience.
Many business travel agencies have recognized the impact that these trends of consumer behavior and the demographic changes associated with human and technological development will have on their businesses. Improving agents' productivity and providing a high contact human service began to be part of their basic offer to meet the demands of consumers. Likewise, invest in promoting technology focused on the customer and improve interaction in all existing communication channels.
Business travelers want increasingly connected and automated experiences. That's why, as airlines offer more customization, business travel agencies have the opportunity to maximize efficiency, boost productivity and improve passenger services with the support of improved technology. Amadeus is ready to provide its customers and business travelers with an increasingly open, dynamic and connected experience that will accompany them at every stage of their itinerary and be ready to build the future of travel.