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Pick Up the Phone: A clear path for mobile booking

June 21, 2018


By Alice Heurtebise
Product Marketing Manager, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Consumers will always seek the path of least resistance to simplify their lives — and business travelers are no different.

As corporate travel apps historically failed to keep pace with their leisure counterparts, travelers have been torn between wanting an independent, intuitive and personal mobile booking experience, and needing to stick to their company policy.

Now, that’s where the new era of mobile travel apps comes in.

To underscore how mobile travel apps can benefit travel programs, we’ve outlined a few key reasons to embrace managing travel from our phones.

By 2021,half of digital travel sales will be from mobile

Mobile bookings are popular — and that’s not slowing down

Travelers are going to book flights and rooms via their phones and tablets whether their travel management company (TMC) has a good mobile app or not. In 2017, over 40 percent of all digital travel sales came from mobile devices, according to eMarketer. In 2021, it’s estimated that mobile will represent nearly half of all digital travel sales.

By steering employees to their TMC's mobile app,  proactive travel managers can ensure travelers are booking negotiated rates within the company policy.

Travelers: We’ll take it from here

Booking trips for thousands of employees is time-intensive and burdensome, and new data shows travelers will go it alone anyway. In fact, 78 percent of U.S. business travelers say they prefer using self-service technology to manage their travel, according to a joint study from the Global Business Travel Association and Sabre Corporation.

So, improve the travel experience and give them what they want through a smart TMC. A simple, customizable travel app like CWT To Go that incorporates a travel policy and other personalized data empowers employees to book on their own — lifting the burden from both traveler and travel manager.

Provide a one-stop shop 

Travelers already use mobile devices to house boarding passes, trip itineraries and everything else they need for the road. We know they also want to book hotels, check in, find flight updates, receive alerts, and see potential trip disruptions all at their fingertips.

So, let’s let them.

As mobile business travel technology catches up and even surpasses that of its leisure counterparts, flight-booking and travel management innovations will allow for more seamless integration across the entire travel experience.

Make it personal

Employees demand a personalized mobile experience for smooth, uninterrupted traveling. According to Google and Ipsos Connect, 78 percent of business travelers are more loyal to a travel company that personalizes their experiences online and offline.

So, it’s important travelers have access to a savvy mobile app that provides timely, relevant and personal information and trip recommendations. Without one, busy travelers will simply book through another app — incurring avoidable costs, limiting visibility and compromising their companies’ duty of care.

Embrace the bots

We know that one-third of global travelers are interested in using digital assistants to research or book travel, thanks to a joint study from Google and Phocuswright, an independent travel research company.

Some travel and hospitality companies have begun deploying high-powered chatbot programs that gather cursory information from travelers and find the best policy-compliant trips available — often by using messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel is already testing a beta version of one of these programs, and the results have been promising. Travelers can effortlessly schedule accommodations by simply texting the dates and locations they need — and our chatbot finds and books a preferred hotel.

Everyone’s got an app — choose a good one

Most national and multinational TMCs have a mobile app, but the strength and ease of use varies wildly across brands. At the same time, travelers are increasingly demanding access to tools that allow them to seamlessly book and manage their travel — and with a personal touch.

That’s why it’s imperative that travel managers and decision-makers consider a company’s mobile app when deciding on a travel management partner.

As CWT continues to break from the pack with mobile innovations, travelers and travel managers will reap the benefits — and the path of least resistance will remain clear.

Blog author: Alice Heurtebise, Product Marketing Manager, Carlson Wagonlit Travel 


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