The corporate travel landscape is quickly evolving. Business travel is recognized as one of the most significant strategic levers for culture and growth as a means to empower employees and build critical relationships and close deals.
Despite the rise of best-in-class communication technology, nothing replaces the power of being there in person — and the human connection that comes from sharing a coffee or discussing a deal in the same room. The new tools that business travelers use to get there also need to strike a delicate balance between automation and human-powered assistance.
TripActions Co-founder and CTO Ilan Twig wrote about this important topic for London-based digital business news source TechNative, a publication dedicated to empowering employees for future business challenges.
Advances in machine learning technology can be applied to the corporate travel experience. For example, machine learning can be leveraged to make sense of data that allows business travelers to find the travel options they want, faster. It improves the booking experience by serving more relevant search results and predicting within 30 seconds what travelers are going to book with 90%+ accuracy. Machine learning can also predict which flights or hotels a particular traveler is most likely to book –– and learns more and more about the traveler over time. It balances those personalized results with median price per booking — based on unique search variables such as flight time or lodging location — to ensure bookings remain in policy.
This technology, however, should be used to aid, not just replace, human support.
“Despite the abundance of positives technology has brought to the world of corporate travel, the demand for a ‘return to humanity’ has been a growing theme among business travellers. They are beginning to tire of robotic customer service operators and long for a human connection. Even those travellers, dubbed the ‘early adopters’, still want help from a person when a serious issue arises,” Ilan wrote in the article.
By recognizing use patterns, machine learning technology proactively notifies a human support agent to check in on the traveler’s progress. Even more importantly, the technology becomes aware of delays and cancellations as soon as they occur, and immediately begins searching for and rebooking alternative options. Live human support is available at all times to follow up on those alternative bookings, or answer any question at any time.
The proprietary TripActions chat app provides 24/7/365 live human support at all times. That means business travelers can always communicate directly with an agent no matter where their itinerary takes them nor time of day
This isn’t the industry norm. The proliferation of chatbots means travelers have become begrudgingly accustomed to speaking with an automated messaging service instead of a real person. Our recent Business Travel Report found that 70% of travelers feel alone and unsupported when something unexpected happens during their trip. The TripActions platform changes that.
An example of what this looks like within a company is Lime. A leader in micro mobility that has experienced rapid international growth, Lime expanded to more than 100 cities across five continents in two years. This kind of growth required a significant amount of business travel, which called for a business travel management solution that combines the best in technology and live proactive support.
“Our biggest challenge relates to the sheer amount of travel we have to do. Whenever there are changes to itineraries or a flight is cancelled…their flight is already rebooked for them before the traveler even needs to reach out. I always hear from the TripActions team before I hear from the employees. They’re able to help proactively fix issues so I don’t have to deal with it / worry about it myself,” says Lime accounting manager Desene Sterling.
At TripActions, we’re creating an unparalleled experience for business travelers around the world by merging innovative technology and human support in a unique way that puts the needs of the user first. With offices in London and Amsterdam among our nine global offices, we’re proud of our strong reputation throughout Europe--and we’ll continue to work to earn the trust of our customers every day.
Read Ilan’s full article ‘Corporate Travel: Striking the Balance Between Tech and the Human Touch‘ on TechNative.