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Business Travelers Demand Better Day-of-Travel and In-Trip Alerts

July 30, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

Business travelers crave proactive, personalized communication when they travel, yet most third-party travel providers are falling short, according to a new survey of more than 550 business travelers by FlightView, the day-of-travel information company.

“Proactive travel alerts and notifications are a critical element of the business travel experience,” said Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. “Yet today, most third-party providers are only providing the bare minimum.”

More than 90% of business travelers expect updates on the status of their flight sent directly to their phone when they travel. Travel providers, however, can’t stop there: nearly 50 percent of business travelers want providers to go one step further and alert the relevant parties affected by itinerary changes. Among the business travelers surveyed, when there is a change in plans:

  • 76% want the airline for their connecting flight notified (if flying separate airlines)
  • 51% want their hotel notified
  • 40% want their ground transportation notified
  • 38% want their friends and family notified

“Connected information-sharing has the potential to make everything easier and more efficient – from picking up a rental car to checking-in at a hotel to making dinner reservations,” said Mike Benjamin. “While providing timely updates to travelers when something changes is an absolute necessity, providers can add even more value by distributing these updates on their customers’ behalf to other service providers across the travel chain.”

The need for sharing information across the travel chain stems from the stress of having to manage itineraries in the face of uncertainty and change plans on the fly. In fact, the top two travel stressors for business travelers, according to FlightView’s survey, are the lack of transparency concerning delays and cancellations and the fear of missing a connecting flight. Security lines and associated wait times was the third biggest stressor, followed by airline baggage policies and the weather.

“Business travelers want to spend less time worrying about their travel itineraries and managing adjustments when disruptions occur, and more time focusing on work, achieving their business goals, and having some stress-free down-time in between,” said Benjamin. “Managed travel companies and other providers have an immense opportunity to provide better customer care simply by being more proactive and transparent with travel information.”

Online Travel Agents Come up Short on Mobile

FlightView also looked into business travelers’ satisfaction with third-party mobile offerings. According to the FlightView’s survey, less than 30 percent of business travelers have booked a flight through a third-party (non-airline) mobile app in the last 12 months. Even worse, only 35 percent use mobile apps from online travel agents (OTAs) when they travel.

Business travelers pointed out several mobile improvements that OTAs could make to improve usage:

  • 60% want mobile functionality to rebook on another flight if there’s a cancellation
  • 55% want OTAs to provide proactive, mobile updates on the status of their flights
  • 46% want better usability
  • 45% want more useful day-of-travel information — like terminal maps, airport amenities and location-based offers and services – to be included in mobile apps

“Travelers are willing and eager to engage with third-party apps during their trips, but few OTAs’ mobile offerings provide the actionable information customers expect,” said Benjamin. “OTAs looking to boost mobile engagement should focus first on improving the quality and quantity of their day-of-travel information, which in turn, will make life easier on the business traveler.”

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