The temperature at the GBTA Convention this month was off the charts, and it wasn’t just the 100 degree weather in Dallas.
There was an absolute buzz on the expo floor and a real sense of positivity that’s reflected in business travel’s overall outlook. As GBTA reported, spending on global business travel surged 47% in 2022, finishing the year at $1.03 trillion. And global business travel is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic total of $1.4 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly $1.8 trillion by the end of 2027.
Many buyers told us that traveler expectations for their booking and trip management experience will also grow as travelers start to spend more time away from home. We believe technology is key to meeting these expectations and we’re happy to report that, based on feedback at GBTA, Zeno is at the forefront of what’s trending.
Here’s a quick look at the travel tech trends covered at GBTA this year and how, with Zeno, you can help make travelers happy while making the most of your travel budget.
At the Zeno Experience Center, we gave delegates the chance to get hands-on with Zeno, take off in a full VR flight simulator, and talk with Zena, our AI-powered virtual travel assistant.
Zena’s built with ChatGPT and API connections to real-time travel content. Zena answered questions and shared images to give visitors detail on travel information outside of making a booking. You could ask where to find the nearest coffee shop, the status of a flight, hotels nearby – just about anything.
Zena is an experiment in how generative AI could reduce friction and streamline traveler interaction.
Omni versus single channel bookings
Murray Warner, Serko’s Senior Vice President for Managed Markets, moderated a panel discussion on ‘The great channel throwdown: Omnichannel vs single channel’. It was a lively debate about whether travelers should book where they want or be forced to use the company’s booking tool.
The data shows that if you support bookings outside of your online travel booking tool, or your travelers don’t like using that tool and book elsewhere, you lose important visibility.
While NDC was a big talking point, the GBTA buyers choice survey discovered that 48% of travel buyers have not started to implement NDC, and 33% say it’s too early or they’re not sure.
When you’re ready, so are we. Zeno handles NDC fares from many airlines right now – including changes and cancellations. Which is important when multiple research sources say one-third of all corporate flight bookings are changed after ticketing.
We’re pleased NDC is bringing corporate travel airfares into the modern age and giving business travelers the same choice and personalization they expect when booking leisure travel.
Guest travel booking and management
A popular session at GBTA was ‘Don’t leave non-employee travelers in the 90s’. Serko’s Matthew Beck, Senior Director, Sales Operations, led a discussion on this important and often frustrating topic.
The guest travel booking and expense reimbursement process can be complex and difficult to manage. It’s time consuming and expensive too. According to the discussion panel, roughly 10-15% of company travel is classed as ‘non-employee’, and the average cost for processing guest reimbursements is US$217.
As one buyer at the session said, “It sure would be great if there were a tech company out there who took up the torch and attempted to solve for the entire problem, rather than just the travel booking portion.”
Well, we have. We’ve developed a solution for non-employee travel booking and expenses, called Zeno Concierge. It’ll mean that your team members no longer have to be travel coordinators, guests are happy, and your finance team has better spend visibility.
Zeno Concierge is currently in beta testing with a number of customers. We’ll keep you posted on when it’s more broadly available.
It’s all about bringing people together
Serko’s CEO, Darrin Grafton, talks about some of the trends above and how technology, plus the human touch, work together to build the ideal trip.
Let’s talk trends
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these trends, answer any questions, and share more detail on how Zeno is preparing for what’s next. Contact us and let’s talk!
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