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april 2011At The Point of Decision:Managing TravelIn Real TimeMobile technologies are clearing the way for corporations to influence businesstraveler behaviors even when on the road. Are they taking advantage of them? A business travel white paper presented by Business Travel Media Group and Concur
Executive Summary Mobile technologies are providing new opportunities to influence travelers and under- stand their behaviors. Until now, visibility into traveler decision-making on the road has been limited at best. New travel management tools have presented the possibility of reaching travelers at the point of need and increasing compliant behaviors even at a distance. This has been a recognized gap in travel management that stakeholders have historical- ly attempted to close through traveler education, continuous policy communication and mandates to drive all travel booking through sanctioned channels. Still, when a critical travel need emerges in transit—and sometimes when it’s not-so-critical—convenience often wins out over compliance. The travel management community continues to express concerns about the broad access to out-of-policy travel content that mobile devices make available to their busi- ness travelers, yet they are not adopting mobile managed travel technologies quickly— despite the fact that they are becoming more available. Some providers have aimed at the core competencies—travel shopping, booking and expense—for companies that want to provide a robust technology suite to their april 2011 travelers on the road. These types of tools are powered by sophisticated mobile operat- Produced by ing systems now standard on corporate-issued BlackBerry devices and other, more consumer-oriented devices like the Apple iPhone or Android phones. Other tools offer a more narrow focus on policy communication or traveler safety/security, using specific functionalities, such as SMS messaging and/or global position systems, allowing com- panies to target key areas of need. Elizabeth West Group Director, Content Solutions While these developments present major breakthroughs for accessing travelers on email@example.com the road, some challenges remain. Transactional functions, particularly air bookings, Amanda McDonough continue to be an obstacle for providers. Nonetheless, corporations need to take a hard Designer look at what mobile tools can provide now and how future developments will shape their LOUIS MAGLIARO Publisher programs. firstname.lastname@example.org TIM REID A recent study from PhoCusWright showed that business travelers are the heaviest Group Publisher users of smartphones, and as more travelers are empowered with high-tech tools— email@example.com whether company-issued or not—the pendulum between compliance and convenience is likely to swing in the wrong direction. Corporations must mitigate this trend by provid- Sponsored by ing a new generation of travel management tools that embrace the rapidly growing marketplace of smartphone-based travel apps and mobile websites. In this white paper sponsored by Concur, corporate travel management stakeholders will get a snapshot of the mobile travel management technologies in the marketplace today,2 Business Travel Media Group
how user habits and developing mobile technologies are reshaping the industry andhow these developments should influence their company’s long-term travel manage- Corporationsment strategies. will only regainMobile Travel Tech: influence andCurrent Tools Touch Entire Lifecycle of TripMobile travel technology has always been traveler oriented, providing services and relevance withinformation to employees at the time of need. The challenge for managed travel pro-grams is filtering the information that reaches business travelers. This is what many useful tools thatcorporations and travel managers are attempting to control with mixed strategies aswell as mixed success. fit exisitngFor a successful near-term and long-term travel management strategy, it is important technologyto know what tools and apps are available now and what is on the horizon. While the habits that —lines between enterprise travel tools and good travel apps remains blurry, currenttechnology touches every part of the business trip lifecycle, and travel managers must means mobile.assess what can contribute to their programs and what could detract from it.Mobile shopping and bookingThe ability to shop for and book travel from a mobile device represents a major break-through by technology providers—but the work is not fully accomplished yet. Themost sophisticated technology providers offer the ability to shop for and book hotels,rail and taxi service, with some services powered by direct connect (i.e. not throughthe GDS). Most providers have yet to cut a clear path to mobile flight shopping andbooking, but the first releases of this technology are just coming into the market.When considering any mobile shopping and booking tool, a company must assessthe following: • bility to incorporate travel policy and prioritize content on the mobile display A according to preferred suppliers • ccess to online profiles so traveler is not required to input a lot of data A • Secure access to a payment tool • Real-time data integration with the traditional online booking tool • ompatibility (either via mobile website or downloadable app) with the majority of C mobile devices in the programConsiderations/Challenges: Despite the complexities of managed travel shoppingand booking, travel managers need to stay current on developments and utilize thepieces that are available now. Free of the complications of embedding travel policyand synchronizing with agency mid- and back-office systems, mobile travel websites www.businesstravelmedia.com 3
(especially prevalent for hotels) and broad consumer travel shopping apps are making it easier than ever for travelers to shop and book travel outside of preferred channels.Cool Mobile ToolsNeed some ideas of how to Future Developments: Recent technology announcements have begun to close theget started? These options are gap in travel booking capabilities for mobile devices, and more announcements areamong the best. expected this year. One critical issue is the size of the smartphone display and it will be critical to see how well providers work within these constraints and still accommo-TripIt for Traveler Services – date the intricacies of policy, unused tickets and/or complex itineraries and ultimatelyRecently acquired by Concur, TripIt serve up the information needed to communicate, provide choices and confirm thatreceived the first Innovation Award booking on a small screen. The promise of mobile shopping and booking tools is im-from the National Business Travel mense, enabling the travel manager to address policy controls and needed services inAssociation. The current app is able a single effort.to receive email confirmations frommore than 3,000 booking channels(forwarded by the user) and orga- Travel alertsnizes them into a master itinerary, Continental Airlines rolled out the first flight status alerts for mobile devices severalproviding corresponding alerts via years ago; sending text messages to passengers about delays and/or cancellations.email or SMS messaging. Travelers Since then, there has been something of a race among airlines as well as third-partyalso have access to information app suppliers as to which can offer the most accurate and earliest notificationssuch as weather, traffic and direc- about flight status. In addition, several TMCs and technology providers have rolledtions through this tool. out a variety of travel-related alert systems: weather, traffic and safety/security alerts are among the most used. Advanced alert systems also message users about priceConTgo for Policy changes and potential refund opportunities.Communication – The leader inSMS messaging for policy commu- Mobile check-in/boarding passesnication, ConTgo gives travel man- Very commonly used by business and leisure travelers to check-in to flights remotely.agers the ability to reach travelers Mobile boarding passes are less common and are subject to scanner availabilityat the moment of decision withnotifications about compliant travel at airport security checkpoints. BlackBerry devices do not display mobile boardingchoices. passes well, so many corporate travelers either use an alternate personal smartphone for this service, or forego it.Blue CRM for Safety/Security –For companies with strong traveler Itinerary managerssafety/security needs, this subscrip- Several good itinerary management apps have emerged from the pack of smart-tion-based service allows them to phone-enabled travel tools. The most sophisticated among them offer business trav-use the GPS function of a traveler’s elers the ability to forward confirmation emails from numerous suppliers (preferredsmartphone to track whereabouts. or not) to an online account where the information is aggregated to form a masterOther SMS functionality and push itinerary that is accessible to the mobile device, either through a mobile optimizedalerts for the traveler are also used. website or a downloadable app, depending upon the device platform. The best itiner- ary managers wrap alerts and other travel-related information sources around the itineraries, such as weather, traffic, directions and flight status notifications. Some providers allow users to share their itineraries with social networks.4 Business Travel Media Group
Considerations/Challenges: Some travel managers will want to think twice aboutintegration of itinerary managers with social networks. There is some concern overrevealing business travel patterns over time to outsiders. Also, when travel plans areshared on social networks, where recommendations from friends and colleagues aredispensed generously, there could be some risk of outside influence in such areasas hotel bookings if they were not previously arranged (or if the traveler decides tochange the booking in transit). If concerned, consider wrapping policy around usage.Even more ideal, companies can source corporate traveler-oriented itinerary manag-ers, which allow information to be shared internally, but limit external sharing. As a newMobile policy communications generation entersCommunicating with travelers via SMS messaging has seen interesting travelmanagement developments as well, particularly in relation to policy compliance. Us- the workforce, theying an SMS service that is linked to a traveler’s itinerary, travel managers can relayautomated messages to an individual that will review in-policy taxi or hotel suppliers are demandingand give recommendations about getting around in the destination city. For example, robust technologythere may be a few transportation options in the city of arrival or, if a hotel desig-nated on the itinerary has a free shuttle, the tool will recommend it. Companies can and are influencingalso configure the tool to respond to keyword inquiries from the traveler (taxi, hotel,restaurant) and an automated message will return to them with in-policy advice. Such upwards.tools require fairly complex configuration and might only be set up for top 10 busi-ness travel destinations, but they represent an excellent example of how to influencein-transit travelers to comply with the travel programFuture Developments: Future versions of this type of tool may not be based on GDSitineraries, but rather on GPS location. If a company has not transitioned its travelersto true smartphones, the SMS technology is perfect. If they do have GPS-enableddevices, it might be worth a short wait for the next release.Location-based servicesThe concept of location-based services continues to entice managed travel technol-ogy providers. Several are already providing GPS-powered traveler safety and securityservices that allow companies to locate and message travelers in crisis. Once on thefringe of the smartphone-enabled crowd, marketing schemes that use the GPS func-tion on the user’s phone to position them and offer localized services and deals aregaining ground. Such popular consumer-oriented services like Foursquare, FacebookPlaces and Gowalla allow users to “check in” to locations to receive discounts anddeals or win social gaming awards for being the most frequent user of the location.Other applications of the technology are more traveler-inclined. Certain “augmentedreality” apps, for example, allow a user to look at a destination through the camera www.businesstravelmedia.com 5
setting of the smartphone and get labels for the streets and retail establishments that surround them. Considerations/Challenges: Marketing the patronage of certain businesses in social gaming structures could potentially include travel suppliers, particularly if the travel program has negotiated its own discounts with dining establishments (a grow- ing trend). Additional advertising often goes along with coupon/deals offered, andChart 1. travel managers have no control over who is advertising to their travelers.Fringe to Familiar:Location-Based Services Future Developments: Progressive TMCs and technology providers are exploring ways to leverage this type of functionality for managed travel programs by creatingA worldwide study of 1,500 con- compliance games whereby travelers could get points for “checking in” to preferredsumers released in January 2011 by suppliers. Others are exploring augmented reality to display preferred suppliers in aMicrosoft showed that adoption of destination overlay, for example, or to identify “safe zones.”location based services (LBS) had hitthe mainstream. Fifty-one percent ofrespondents overall had used LBS Mobile expense reportingand among users, and 94 percent While not the purview of every travel manager, expense reporting is integral to thefind them valuable—especially lifecycle of a business trip. Mobile expense was one of the first tools to hit the man-for such practical applications as aged travel market and has been used very successfully by many companies. Mobileweather alerts, traffic updates and expense tools need to include the often complex approval configurations that arefinding restaurants. All of these are unique to each company as well as the configuration of expense categories that mir-familiar needs for business travelers. ror the online technology—all on a simplified user interface.51% Have used LBS Best-in-class tools capitalize on mobile device capabilities to make “paperless” reports a reality. For example, if travelers need to pay in cash or use any form of pay-49% Have not used LBS ment that is not already integrated with the expense system, the mobile expense toolAmong users… should allow them to enter the purchase data and include necessary details, such as the reason for the expense, number of diners, etc. Advanced tools allow the traveler70% GPS Navigation to use the camera function on their device to take a photo of the receipt and upload it46% Weather alerts to the expense system.38% Traffic updates Considerations/challenges: Anecdotal feedback from travel and expense manag-38% Restaurant info/reviews ers that utilize mobile expense tools, applaud the easy reporting capability that mobile36% Locating nearby convenience expense brings to travelers and the quicker turn-around that mobile technologies services facilitate—both for the traveler filing the report and for the managers approving33% Shopping/coupons them. One area of concern, however, regards the approval process. Travel managers Source: Microsoft Corporation, emphasize the need to encourage approvers to review reports thoroughly even whenJanuary 2011 study of 1,500 consumers they are doing so “on the go.” When sourcing a mobile expense technology, compa- nies should investigate how the provider takes steps to address this issue.6 Business Travel Media Group
Mobile Is NowSmartphone technology has fundamentally changed the expectations of businesstravelers. On-demand access to information—company and private e-mail, socialnetworks, instant and SMS messaging, customer relationship management data, sup-plier websites and, of course, travel content—have empowered business travelers tostay connected and get more done on the road than ever before.As a new generation of employees enters the workplace, technology habits andexpectations will only become more demanding. Raised on Internet connectivity,on-demand music and games, social networks and cheap access to sophisticatedsmartphones and apps to power their personal lives, younger workers expect thesame (or even better) from their companies. Moreover, as these newly minted workershit the office, they are influencing upwards—not only raising tech expectations in theminds of their bosses but also showing them the ropes. Chart 2.When companies fail to deliver on the technology front—including travel technolo- Smartphone Usage by Frequencygy—workers may have very little compunction about defaulting to alternatives that of Travelthey believe are faster, cheaper and more advantageous to their business goals. Frequent business travelers outpace all other travelers in their use of smartphones.Often, these decisions are made with the best of intentions, but as travel manage-ment stakeholders know all to well, they can still undermine the fundamental benefits % Using A Smartphoneof the travel program: # of Trips Leisure Business • raveler safety/crisis management T • ost savings and realizing discounts that hinge on achieving volume goals with C 1-2 35% 49% preferred suppliers 3-4 39% 58% • nsuring adequate supplier services for travelers E 5+ 50% 75% Source: PhoCusWright’s Consumer Technology Survey 2010Yet, relatively few travel managers are offering enterprise-oriented mobile travel toolsto their employees.Slow Adoption HindersTravel Program OptimizationAccording to a recent survey conducted by Procurement.travel to measure emerg-ing competencies for travel management, mobile competency showed the lowestadoption rates among all areas examined. Of 294 travel buyers surveyed, 56 percentwere not involved in managing mobile technology-related issues, less than one-thirdpurchased apps or mobile software to help power their travel management programs,and less than one-quarter were involved in procuring mobile devices (which doesnot mean that travelers did not have access to corporate-issued or personal smart- www.businesstravelmedia.com 7
phones, but only that travel management had no involvement in the decision-making around devices to be used.) There are several contributing factors to this disconnect: • obility Programs Travel – As much as corporate mobility programs and travel M are related, they have been developed separately within most organizations and breaking through that wall is a challenge for a travel manager without upper management support. • ack of Awareness – Travel management has been under intense scrutiny to L tighten budgets and manage multiple other areas of travel; the ability to research options and create a business case for mobility programs is likely an issue. • ear – Mobile devices have provided access to travel content that is not sanc- F tioned by travel management. Many travel managers and companies have opted to restrict use of these devices for travel rather than harness them. While all of these factors are understandable, they will not improve a travel program. Indeed, resistance to an emerging mobile platform for travel management will likely undermine the relevance of the travel program as more travelers become aware of the mobile options available through other channels and take advantage of them. Instead of restricting access to mobile content and travel tools, travel managers and their companies need to leverage the power that mobile devices can offer to reach into the trip cycle to support business goals and traveler productivity but, most impor- tantly for travel management, to influence traveler behaviors at the point of decision to drive increased compliance and savings. ABOUTBusiness Travel Media Group Content Solu-tions serves the information needs of the Concur is a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions.managed travel and meetings marketplacewith integrated media opportunities for its Concur’s easy-to-use Web-based and mobile solutions help companies and their em-partners. BTMG collaborates with business ployees control costs and save time. Concur’s systems adapt to individual employeetravel organizations to deliver sponsored preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies from small to large. Withcontent to targeted communities of travel Concur’s mobile application, you can create, review and approve expense reports andprofessionals via e-newsletters, whitepapers, webinars, publication supplements book and change your travel itinerary - hotels, airfare, taxis, rail and rental cars - alland other vehicles. from your smartphone. Learn more at www.concur.com.8 Business Travel Media Group