Business Travel Travel Industry

On The Horizon: 2019 Business Travel Trends

Can you believe 2019 is already here and in full swing? We can’t help but look ahead and contemplate what this new year may bring. In business travel; technology, customization, and traveler comfort continually advances. In 2018 we saw changes like; increased mobile bookings, a growing acceptance of the sharing economy industry, and the implementation of the GDPR. In 2019, it’s safe to say that customization will continue to advance, with an enhanced emphasis in security.

2019 business travel trends – here’s what to expect

  • Increased cybersecurity. With the recent Marriott-Starwood data breach, cyber security is on everyone’s mind. Add in the relatively new GDPR regulations, continued advances in travel security should be a highlight. In fact, so airlines, like United, are already thinking far ahead and testing their options within blockchain.
  • Biometrics in airports. Biometrics are no longer a thing of sci fi novels. Just recently, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport became the first in the United States to open a biometrics security terminal.  What does that mean? You will soon be able to check in and drop off baggage with a facial recognition screening. You may also be able to breeze through the security line, without ever having to take out your identification or ticket.
  • Women in business travel. The #metoo movement continues to empower women to have their voices heard.  It will be interesting to see if trends evolve within the business travel industry, catering specifically to the needs and concerns of women business travelers.
  • Expect additional AI integration. You are likely already engaging with artificial intelligence if you’ve ever used a chatbox on a website, or have been notified of a change on your flight. As helpful as online automation and chatbox technology is, it tends be used as customer solution instead of a tool. While it does work well in certain situations, it does not make up for talking to a an experienced travel agent when you need it the most. With this latest technology, it’s also important to value the one-on-one customer service you have with your TMC.
  • Advances in data-driven analytics will lead to real-time reporting and actionable intelligence. Our Analytics tools allows travel managers to make actionable decisions instantly. We’re excited to see more of clients utilize this feature, potentially changing how they understand and manage their business travel.  

What do you think will be at the forefront of 2019 business travel? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on Linkedin

Business Travel Travel Industry

How The European GDPR Will Affect Business Travel

In our digital age, keeping personal information protected and secure is a new normal. Not only do individuals need to be vigilant about security, but also the companies that handle their private information.  New regulations from the European Union will inevitably enhance these protections; affecting not just EU residents but potentially globally. With something on this scale, it is certain to affect many other areas, including business travel, even in the U.S.

What’s going on?

Starting May 25, 2018, The European Union will be introducing a regulation that fundamentally reshapes how private data is collected and used for EU residents. Called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this change will affect how the E.U., and potentially globally, handles and secures the private information of its users. The EU, like most other nations, already has regulations about data security. Replacing the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR is extensive and more thoroughly defines data security. One of the biggest changes is that the Directive was implemented by each EU member state. The GDPR is a regulation, meaning it must be followed by the entirety of the EU.

Why is this important?

The entirety of the EU is updating their standards and practices of data collection. Any organizations based in an EU country will have to comply with these changes. But more extensively, any company involved in processing data of individuals from the EU, regardless of the location of their organization, will also be responsible for updating their data privacy to comply with the GDPR. Meaning, the GDPR will likely alter how the world processes and protects user data.

What are the specifics of the GDPR?

  • Regulation – Because this is a regulation and not a law that needs to be enacted at the country level, there should be a greater degree of harmonization of data protection, across the EU in all industries.
  • Increased protection of personal data – The definition of ‘personal data’, is widening, further protecting individuals. Online identifiers, like IP addresses, are now included as data that should be protected.
  • All organizations, regardless of location, will be under the GDPR’s requirements – If an organization is in the EU, offers goods or services to individuals in the EU, or monitors behavior of individuals in the EU, they will be required to abide by the same GDPR requirements and standards for their data security.
  • Increased fines – If any of these organizations does not comply, it can lead to fines up to 20 million EUR or up to 4% of total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year.
  • Consent requirements – The GDPR also creates a higher standard for consent for the individual, for collecting, using, storing, and processing their data. With clearer and less ambiguous language, consent protocol will be straightforward. Consent will be voluntary, without the use of pre-ticked boxes, silence, or inactivity not constituting as consent. It will also be easier to revoke consent.
  • Breach notification standards – If a company’s data is breached, they are required to report the data breach to the data protection authority without undue delay and, where feasible, within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.
  • More thorough data protection in new products – Moving forward, data protection must be considered from the onset of new technologies and products. No longer will it be an afterthought, quickly solved post launch.

How will the GDPR influence business travel?

The GDPR will impact any company that stores or sells personal information about E.U. citizens.  For example, let’s think about a hotel in the U.S. books a room for a business traveler from France. This hotel has the liability of observing to the GDPR’s regulations on data security for this European citizen, or potentially be fined. Basically, any company that requires gathering personal information to use at a later time, like name, birth date, credit card information, etc., will need to comply with the GDPR. This will affect not just business travel, but many other areas of industry as well.

Additionally, companies will need to find ways to protect user’s data and information, while also providing easy-to-use and accessible products. Our society is accustomed to immediate gratification and convenience. Keeping needed material like travel itineraries, preferences, and user information readily available, while also keeping it secure may also pose as a challenge.

At Christopherson, we take the issue of GDPR and data protection very seriously. We are currently working with an outside consulting firm to ensure we’re compliant with all new upcoming GDPR regulations. If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns about our data security, please contact your account manager.

Business Travel Travel Industry

Big Data in the Travel Industry: Driving Revenue vs Building Customer Loyalty

jetblueI recently had the pleasure of attending the Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association’s Education Day. One class, in particular, left the entire room thinking. It was taught by Ron DiLeo, President of Partnership Travel Consulting, who led a discussion on travel technology and applications, with a focus on big data.

It seems everyone is talking about “big data” these days. There are companies, such as Amazon and Target, that are extremely good at increasing their revenue by proactively suggesting items to consumers based on their purchase history. But there are also less intrusive, or perhaps less “in-your-face” companies that are also collecting our data. Most travel industry companies fall into this second category.

You may or may not have noticed that travel vendors use your travel history to know when to advertise to you. For example, if you went to Aruba with your family last fall, you may see advertisements from the airline you flew for fares to Aruba this fall.

Vendors also use purchase history data to predict in advance what fares and rates to sell during certain times. The rule that a better deal can be had by booking in advance is no longer correct, as airlines, hotels, and car companies are all basing rates off history.

With all this data available, it is important to point out that the majority of companies are still using the information to benefit the traveler in some way. The larger hotel chains in particular are great at tracking traveler preferences (king bed, non-smoking room, high floor, etc.) and using these preferences to create loyalty amongst their travelers.

And at the end of the day, isn’t loyalty what this whole thing is all about?