The business travel marketplace is primed for a shake-up and emerging mobile technology is the culprit. The rapid integration of mobile capabilities to plan itineraries, receive travel alerts and serve as a boarding pass is making these mobile devices more indispensible to business travelers and their companies. However, these functions are really just the beginning of travel’s mobile revolution. With the adoption of 3G wireless technology, speed and capabilities will quickly increase. Mobile travel innovation was rated as one of the seven major trends reshaping the U.S. corporate travel landscape in PhoCusWright’s U.S. Corporate Travel Distribution Fourth Edition.
M-commerce will eventually become as commonplace as online shopping. Seven in 10 frequent business travelers are now carrying smartphones. PhoCusWright’s Mobile: the Next Platform for Travel finds that 77% of frequent business travelers with Web-enabled mobile devices have used the mobile Web to find local services and attractions. Consumers with these newer mobile devices are now ready for advanced travel functionality. U.S. mobile bookings will reach US$160 million in 2010. While the revenue figures remain low, there exists a vast potential for growth for mobile applications that empower mobile travelers, improve travel efficiency and build ancillary revenue.
Over time, next generation mobile technology will enable multimedia transmissions to facilitate informed decisions, enable self-service and paperless travel purchases, provide for e-wallet payment capabilities and data capture for submission and reimbursement wherever a business traveler is located. Given the changing composition of the U.S. workforce to a younger, more technically savvy base of travelers, the key will be to simplify the “employee workflow of travel.” The convenience of mobile services will enable travelers to be more productive by having just-in-time data pushed to them based on situational circumstances and geographic location. In addition, mobile travel applications will help drive compliance to preferred suppliers for both contracted and non-contracted purchases.
Corporate travel goes mobile