Artificial Intelligence Will Shape the Travel Experience 

Technology and security will lead the transformation in corporate travel policies, along with sustainability, new work models and evolving mobility.  These are the highlights that have emerged from ‘Business Travel 2030. Challenges, opportunities, and the transformation of business travel management’, research commissioned by Gattinoni Group to Travel for Business.

 

The Challenges of the Future 

The three clusters – travel managers, travel agencies, and business travellers – surveyed the hottest topics: artificial intelligence, which will increasingly be a crucial element in business travel management although the metaverse does not break through for the moment, training, which is key to addressing future challenges, adaptation to remote working, workstations and bleisure, an integrated vision of corporate and personal well-being, negotiation with suppliers, sustainability principles and the impact of technologies on mobility.

 

Greater Awareness 

The current scenario, with Italian companies spending over €21 billion, surpassing pre-pandemic levels (data from the Business Travel and Travel Innovation Observatories of Politecnico Milano 2023) and the future of business travel in Italy, consists of a multitude of interconnected factors, and “new” business trips involve greater awareness.

 

Increasing Consultancy 

According to Elena Carlino, Commercial Director of Gattinoni Business Travel, “The analysis of business travel trends reveals a gradual but steady recovery of the sector, driven by the widespread adoption of hybrid and digital solutions. In this balance, the role of agencies will increasingly be that of consultancy and support to offer tailor-made solutions capable of meeting all customer needs. Customisation develops in multiple areas, from classic travel management consultancy to the development and implementation of “made-to-measure” technological solutions, including artificial intelligence.  Another area we are investing in is sustainability to meet the new requests of companies who are increasingly attentive to the issue and ready to adopt green policies.”

 

Technology Above Everything

The future of travel management will be shaped by artificial intelligence.  37% of those surveyed predict that AI-based tools will provide new perspectives, such as advanced analysis, accurate forecasts, and cost optimisation, offering the opportunity to gain more insights into travel strategies and budget allocation. 79% predict that by 2030, large companies will make wider use of artificial intelligence and virtual assistants for travel management.

 

The Future in Blockchain 

The pool of respondents expects various innovations by 2030.  The use of blockchain, to ensure the traceability and security of travel-related transactions and data, reducing the risks of fraud and manipulation, has been significant, receiving 82% approval.  77% expressed interest in creating interconnected travel ecosystems where different phases of travel (transportation, accommodation, dining, activities) are integrated and customised, to offer a holistic experience.  57% of the sample predicts the imminent integration of wearable devices and biometric technologies to simplify check-in, document checks and travel security, integration aimed at making the entire travel process smoother and safer.

 

A Distant Metaverse 

57% focus on the metaverse after 2030, a figure that might initially appear in contrast with the vision of technology rapidly lurking in different contexts with the intention of introducing enormous levels of remote working.

However, contextualizing the data in a broader analysis, which shows the clear recovery of business travel and the awareness of meeting in person, it is consistent that frequent use of the metaverse for managing business meetings is not a priority for travel managers.

 

Focus on Security 

For 53% of respondents, enthusiasm for technological innovation is accompanied by concern for the protection of sensitive data.  For 48%, privacy and data management are viewed reticently by business travellers, who will increasingly demand transparency.

84% of travel managers plan to address security by collaborating with specialised providers to obtain information on global threats.  A large percentage (81%) will focus on promoting security training, organising sessions for employees on security protocols during business travel. Likewise, they will use data and analysis to assess risks and adopt preventive measures.  71% will implement strict company policies, including secure accommodation choices and crisis management protocols.

 

The goal is ROI 

“Travel managers,” concludes Rosemarie Caglia, CEO of Travel for Business, “are facing rapidly evolving challenges with a flexible and strategic spirit.  The data clearly shows that artificial intelligence will be a crucial element in managing future travel programs, and on the issue of priorities, travel managers have a clear idea.  It’s not about travelling less, but about doing it more effectively and sustainably, prioritising strategy, return on investment and flexibility.  The key to success is training.  The continuous innovations in the travel industry require constant updating to increase knowledge that will help overcome future challenges”.

Paola Olivari 

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