Navigating the future of corporate travel

We live in an era dominated by digital advancements, so there’s no wonder business travel will also be influenced by it. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to machine learning, modern business travelers’ preferences and requirements are continuously changing. The relevance of AI in the realm of business travel can’t be overstated. With 80% of business travelers relying on AI tools while planning for or during a trip, AI has an important role to play. As professionals seek easy, efficient and personalized experiences, AI has emerged and developed into a crucial ally.

Here at Booking.com for Business, we understand modern travelers’ needs and wants. From ranking hotel options to predicting price fluctuations, our tool uses machine learning to customize your business trip and to ensure a smooth corporate travel experience. But, as always, when technology develops too fast, this can bring uncertainty and a lack of trust.

With this article, let’s dive into the key findings of recent research run by Booking.com for Business into the interest and trust levels in AI by business travelers.

Business travel and AI: Unpacking the trust and interest in AI features

The AI features of highest interest to corporate travelers

According to recent research conducted by Booking.com for Business, corporate travelers show the highest Interest in the following:

  • Automated expense tracking and reporting app – Business travelers express the strongest (47%) interest in applications that streamline financial management during trips. Automated expense tracking and reporting apps are considered essential for a hassle-free experience.
  • Travel itinerary planning and optimization – The desire (45%) for optimized travel experiences is evident, with professionals seeking AI-driven solutions to plan and execute their itineraries efficiently.
  • Meeting and event coordination – AI's role in facilitating meeting and event coordination is gaining prominence (45%). Business travelers value technologies that simplify the organization of professional gatherings.

Trust in AI features for business travelers

The trustworthiness of AI and its features is a complex and evolving concern. While AI technologies have demonstrated remarkable capabilities across many fields, general trustworthiness hinges on the ethical frameworks and structures in place. Issues such as biased algorithms, lack of transparency, and potential misuse of AI raise valid concerns. When it comes to corporate travel, privacy and safety are also essential.

Generative AI features garnered the highest trust when it comes to:

  • Ultra-personalized travel recommendations – Trust is highest (89%) in AI systems that provide ultra-personalized travel recommendations. Tailored suggestions enhance the overall travel experience, earning the confidence of business travelers.
  • Real-time language translation services – The reliability of real-time language translation services is a cornerstone of trust (88%). Breaking down language barriers contributes to smoother interactions and increased trust in AI.
  • Automated expense tracking and reporting – Trust in applications for automated expense tracking and reporting (88%) underscore their importance in the eyes of business travelers.

AI features to keep an eye on

Keep your finger on the pulse. Business travelers are building trust in the following areas:

  • Enhanced cyber protection – Despite the slightly lower perception of this AI feature, there's a growing level of confidence in enhanced cyber protection tools (78%). Businesses may need to continue to address concerns to build trust in cybersecurity solutions and explore the benefits of these features.
  • Travel risk assessment and mitigation tools – Trust levels (83%) are also promising when it comes to travel risk assessment and mitigation tools. Understanding these nuances is crucial for the development of effective solutions.

How trust and interest in AI features correlate with corporate travel

A fascinating correlation emerges when exploring the relationship between interest and trust in AI. The younger generations (18–45 years old) exhibit a higher overall interest in tech features compared to their older counterparts (46 years old and above). Notably, younger professionals show a heightened interest in health and wellness monitoring apps compared to their older counterparts, reiterating the findings of Deliotte’s insights into travel trends.

As business travel evolves, embracing AI isn’t just a choice, but a necessity. Understanding the interests, trust levels and preferences of business travelers is pivotal for businesses to offer tailored solutions such as chatbots, and machine learning models for suggesting options for flights, accommodation and car rentals.

With modern tools, such as Booking.com for Business, the future of corporate travel lies in the harmonious integration of technology, catering to the unique needs of today's professionals on the move.

Methodology

From 22 November–4 December 2023, Booking.com for Business surveyed online 502 full-time (95%) and part-time (5%) business professionals across the US who travel for business. Of this subset, 65% were male and 35% female between the ages of 18–65 years old. We included a representative mix of employees from various-sized companies, departments, industries, and job roles within their organizations.

Sources

  1. Forrester Research – AI Insights

  2. Harvard Business Review – The Business of Artificial Intelligence

  3. Deloitte Insights – 2024 Travel Industry Outlook

  4. Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Research and Travel Trends

  5. McKinsey & Company – Future of Tourism

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