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July 12, 2016

GBTA Survey Examines Self-Service, Personalized Travel

More than 7 in 10 business travelers in the United States (78 percent), Italy (77 percent), Canada (74 percent) and Spain (73 percent) prefer using self-service technology to manage their travel, according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation in partnership with Sabre Corporation. The rate is slightly lower for the Nordic countries (60 percent) and Germany (56 percent).

In North America and Europe, the vast majority of business travelers also want to receive personalized travel options. However, even though business travelers want personalized options, they are hesitant to share too much personal information to obtain them. They are commonly willing to share details such as their frequent flyer or hotel loyalty number, preferred airline and hotel brands and aircraft seat preferences, but fewer than half would share their travel history, preferred leisure activities while traveling, their business calendar with booked appointments and their social media account names.


Road Warriors and Travel Apps

Business travelers use a variety of travel-related mobile apps during their trips, but in all countries surveyed, supplier apps are more commonly used than travel management company (TMC), itinerary management and expense management apps. 

The most common uses for travel-related mobile apps by North American business travelers include flight check-in/status, generating an online boarding pass and booking hotels and flights. In the European countries surveyed, business travelers use travel-related apps for many of the same reasons as their North American counterparts. However, compared with U.S.-based business travelers, Germany and Nordic-based travelers are less likely to use travel-related apps for booking, while Spain-based travelers are more likely to do so. The European business travelers surveyed were also more likely to use apps to book rail or train than North Americans and were less likely to use them to request a ride-sharing service or taxi.

Most companies don’t require or recommend travel apps as only one-fifth or fewer say their organization has specific apps they require for business travel and about half in each country say their organization does not recommend any travel apps.


Mobile Payment and Millennials

Given the opportunity, many business travelers would likely use mobile payment or e-wallet technology. The share likely to do so ranges from 43 percent in the Nordic countries all the way up to 75 percent in Italy. Millennials and Gen-X travelers are much more likely than Baby Boomers to want to use mobile payments.

Technology and Duty of Care

Mobile apps commonly developed by TMCs or third-party safety or security firms can assist with duty of care by allowing travelers to check-in with their company upon arrival at a destination or by allowing companies to track their employees’ location and send push notifications in an emergency among other features. Only a small share of travelers use these apps, however. Only 22 percent of survey respondents have used a mobile app to check-in with their company during a trip over the past year and even fewer (15 percent) have used a mobile app that allows their company to track their location. Still, despite low use, 63 percent said they would allow their company to track their location via their mobile device for duty of care purposes.

An online survey of 756 business travelers in nine countries was fielded between March 21 and April 3, 2016. The countries included the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The four Nordic countries are grouped together and referred to as one region throughout the report. Respondents qualified if they were employed full-time and had traveled for business in the past year.

Source: GBTA

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