Sabre Travel Network has revealed some of the results of its biannual mobile survey of business travelers.
According to Sabre, the results confirm that the explosion of mobile travel services over the past several years has single-handedly “consumerized” business travel. Tomorrow’s travelers will expect even more convenience and functionality from their mobile devices, and corporations and travel management companies must meet those needs or risk being left behind.
“Our survey shows that business travel today is personal,” said Chris Kroeger, senior vice president of Sabre Travel Network. “Travelers want the same functionality and convenience from their business travel tools that they have in their daily lives. People use travel services on their smartphones everyday and for every trip – before, during and after they travel. The corporate travel industry needs to keep pace with the services and apps that travelers can access in their personal life and incorporate those into the world of managed business travel.”
According to the Sabre’s survey, 63 percent of business travelers want to receive destination specific offers from local businesses – an 85 percent increase from 2009 – and 47 percent of business travelers use their smartphone daily to view or receive advertisements, a 95 percent increase from 2009. “One of the biggest trends we see in the survey data is travelers’ desire for local business information and offerings based on their location via their smartphone or tablet,” said Kroeger. “Travelers will look for this information from suppliers, travel management companies and technology resources such as online booking tools like GetThere. Smart and savvy travel management companies will use technology as a way to fill this need and improve customer support and solidify customer loyalty. ”
Sabre’s survey also found that business travelers increasingly want to access navigational tools and maps on their mobile devices. Seventy-two percent of business travelers are interested in having the ability to view hotels on a map, an increase of 26 percent from 2009. Forty-three percent of business travelers reported daily use of their smartphone to access navigation services. And 71 percent want to receive driving directions to a specific location via their smartphone. “Consumers already rely on their mobile devices to help them navigate their way through cities around the world,” Kroeger said. “In the future, they’ll look for mobile services that are not only location-based but contextually-aware such as airport navigational tools with the ability to find in-airport businesses but also have deals and offers pushed to their smartphone.”
Sabre’s survey showed that nearly three-quarters of business travelers are interested in shopping and booking air options. More than two-thirds want to shop for and make hotel reservations via mobile devices and 66 percent of respondents reported interest in the ability to add a hotel reservation to an existing itinerary. But the highest growth was seen in the ground category. Sixty-two percent of respondents are interested in booking rental cars via their smartphone, a 32 percent increase from 2009, and 60 percent of respondents want to shop for car rentals using their smartphone, a 33 percent increase.
“Today’s business travelers expect transactional capabilities from their mobile devices including buying air extras and in-flight amenities,” Kroeger said. “Tomorrow’s business travelers will move from physical passports, wallets and credit cards and will expect their mobile device to fill those needs as continued advancements in mobile payment, commerce and banking make it easier to electronically transact via mobile devices.