As the ever-changing business travel industry evolves, corporate travel technology has in turn developed to meet the requirements of business travellers and travel managers. From personalised travel expense tracking to artificial intelligence assisting trip planning, these innovations have made it easier for travel managers to seamlessly streamline trip management and for business travellers to optimise their travel, ultimately benefiting your company.

In this article, we’ll delve into the ways in which technology is used to optimise corporate travel for business travellers and travel managers before, during and after a trip.

What is business travel technology?

Corporate travel technologies, the application of IT or e-commerce solutions in tourism, travel and hospitality, are aimed at saving time, automating travel, reducing costs or creating a more seamless travel experience for all parties involved.

For trip planning, travel managers can use these types of technology to streamline bookings, inventory, payments and itineraries for corporate travellers. For business travellers, technology can benefit the entire corporate travel experience, overall leading to more productive and happier corporate travel.

8 common types of corporate travel technology

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Planning a business trip begins with searching for flights and hotels to find the best one. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, juggling the comfort of corporate travellers and the need to remain within travel policy and budget constraints. Plus, the dynamic world of corporate travel means that business travellers need a lot of support during travel to manage changes, emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances that can pop up during a trip.

This is where travel Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI is one of the latest and most impactful developments in the business travel technology sector. AI travel tools have been instrumental in personalising business travel recommendations. These tools use Machine Learning and predictive analytics to select tailored booking options based on past preferences and business travel policies. Booking.com for Business efficiently utilises Machine Learning technology to help business travel managers plan and manage corporate travel more efficiently

Our recent article delves into the surrounding factors that come with using AI. Avoid entering your employees' personal data or sensitive company data.

2. Digital payments and virtual cards

Corporate travel involves a lot of transactions. Beyond the big expenses like booking flights and your place to stay, there are numerous costs that add up during corporate travel from transport at the destination to snacks and entertainment. Carrying cash for these costs can be dangerous, not to mention the inconvenience of exchanging currencies.

Recent developments in travel technology and financial technology (fintech) have made making and tracking business travel experiences easier and safer. From paying online using a company card to using in-app wallet functions to seamlessly pay anywhere in the world, digital banks and virtual cards have changed the face of corporate travel.

For business travel managers and decision-makers, digital banks and virtual cards have allowed for streamlined financial controlling and planning as well as expense management. Find out more benefits of virtual cards and other developments in payment technology in this article.

3. Virtual and augmented reality

A common barrier for corporate travel managers is having to rely on poor-quality photos and reviews from strangers to find a place to stay. On occasion, travellers can be fed misleading information and arrive – jetlagged with meetings to attend – to a less-than-desirable room.

To solve this, some hotels nowadays use Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to help bridge this unwanted gap between expectations and reality. Many hotels now digitally film rooms and amenities and integrate this with information about prices and accommodation. That way travellers can get a virtual tour of the hotel before deciding to stay there. Our recent research suggests that travellers’ and corporate travel managers’ expectations of virtual tours of hotels and business travel venues are growing.

4. Technology for safety and security

International travel comes with a plethora of potential risks and emergencies. Companies are responsible for going above the statutory duty of care to ensure the safety of travellers.

Travel management software can help track the exact location of travellers to ensure that they are safe in unfamiliar situations. You can collect real-time data from airlines and hotels about their safety policy and make better decisions with tools like Traxo, a real-time tracking app that integrates seamlessly with other services like expense tracking apps.

5. Expense management

Manual expense management is still preferred by many companies, even though it’s less efficient in many ways. It relies heavily on slow-moving paperwork, it’s expensive and doesn’t offer expense fraud detection or prevention methods.

Travel technology can help transition from manual expense management to automation. From digital receipt scanning to OCR technologies, it’s time to move to automated expense management.

6. Virtual Assistant

Travel consultants take care of a great deal of organisational operations for businesses. However, they don’t provide customised booking options to travellers and can’t provide insights to measure the effectiveness of travel and expense policy.

Virtual travel assistants have emerged as one of the most promising travel technology trends. It’s an AI-based feature in any modern-day travel management software solution that can provide booking options based on past preferences. Virtual assistants can save time and costs in the long run by optimising booking and travel processes.

7. Chatbots

Commonly used by tools like Booking.com for Business, chatbots use Machine Learning techniques to provide personalised responses to prompts. Chatbot features can help improve personalised recommendations and virtual travel assistant responses. Chatbots can also help with checking visa requirements, flight statuses or alternative flight options if there’s a cancellation, all saving time for travel managers.

8. New Distribution Capability (NDC)

NDC is a real game changer in terms of business travel technology. It provides real-time access to airline inventory, ensuring that travel managers have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. This is especially beneficial for corporate travel managers and travellers in fast-changing situations, such as flight cancellations or delays.

From efficiency and productivity to safety and security, technology has made business travel more manageable and enjoyable. As new technologies continue to develop, keep up with the evolving needs of your company and business travellers by embracing change and utilising business travel platforms like Booking.com for Business to streamline your business travel planning and execution.

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