10 travel tech trends to expect in 2022

It was Microsoft founder Bill Gates who said that “the advancement of technology is based on ‘integrating’ it so that you don’t even really notice it, so it’s part of everyone’s life. days “. And if the latest travel technology is anything to go by, he’s 100% right.

FCM Executive Director Bonnie Smith says today’s technology is fluid, intuitive and very behind the scenes:

“Customers and consumers don’t necessarily care about the technology or how it works, just what it does. It’s clear.

Smith explains that as business travel recovers, more companies are embracing technology to help them get back on the road with confidence. This includes easy access to information; instant alerts and travel updates; communication channels still active; and AI-powered booking platforms.

According to Smith, the following technology trends will transform travel bookings, the traveler journey, and productivity in 2022 and beyond.

1. Exchange and sharing of information

Access to accurate, up-to-date information has never been more important. Smith says travel management booking platforms must provide updated information on destination and origin information regarding COVID testing, quarantine regulations or specific travel documents for entry.

“Booking platforms, like the FCM hub, need to make it easy for travel bookings and travelers to access the latest information,” says Smith.

“We need to avoid having to search the internet for the latest restrictions and regulations – and introduce increased productivity for the entire travel management team. ”

FCM Executive Director Bonnie Smith

2. Real-time traveler tracking

Due diligence will remain a priority in 2022. So much so that you can expect significant advances in real-time traveler tracking, including integrated risk management tools and personalized safety dashboards that enable reservations to see where all their travelers are in an instant. and coordinate their return when needed.

3. Contactless technology and contactless recording

Thanks to COVID-19, many of the latest advancements in technology relate to contactless check-in (airlines and hotels), contactless payment, and contactless payments. Not only does this eliminate unwanted contacts and frustrating queues, it’s also quick and easy – a big hit in terms of productivity.

4. Biometrics

On a related note, it can be expected that biometrics like fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and retinal scanning will be introduced at airports to facilitate the flow of passengers.

In fact, the technology developed by SITA (the “SITA Smart Path”) allows the passenger to use their face as a boarding pass, thus minimizing the need for contact when the passenger is moving around the airport.

Another example? New Zealand already uses “electronic gates” at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports that use biometrics to match the photo of your face in an electronic passport with the photo it takes of you at home. gate.

5. Chatbots and 24 hour support

Travel apps have come a long way and, according to Smith, the best apps now combine proactive alerts, conversational (that is, smooth and easy to interact with) chatbots, and 24-hour human support.

“Ultimately, a travel app has to be an indispensable tool for those on the road. This means instant alerts if flight times, boarding gates, and even baggage pickup details change.

“The ability to confirm information via a convenient chat bot – and the ability to be connected to a human, any time of the day or night, if you want to speak to a consultant,” says Smith.

“FCM mobile combines cutting edge technology with a human touch because we know that after COVID many people prefer to chat with a consultant if and when things change. ”

6. Group discussions, collaboration and virtual meetings

There is no doubt that Zoom (and Teams) has changed the way we work forever.

The adoption and adoption of virtual platforms during the lockdown was unprecedented. Now it’s easier than ever to stay productive on the road – or to combine a few days of fun with any trip without being out of the loop or falling behind. Explore virtual meeting platforms, group chats, file sharing, note taking, document collaboration and more.

In fact, Smith believes that as business travel recovers, many organizations will be more intentional in their travel. In other words, focus on the longer trips that will deliver the most value and reward – while leaving the rest in the video conference. Because where there is WiFi, there is a way …

7. Real-time monitoring, reconciliation and reporting

In terms of productivity, tour operators actively seek technological solutions that save them time and money. This includes tracking unused tickets and vouchers – and reminding travelers of what credits they have so they can use them before they expire.

Reservations and travelers are also looking for easy-to-use reporting and reconciliation tools, so they can generate instant reports, identify savings and manage their budgets.

8. Travel authorizations

Another potential bottleneck for travel bookings is the approval process. “It’s understandable that companies have added additional levels of approval for their post-COVID travel,” Smith said.

“But that can introduce delays. FCM is constantly looking to streamline the approval process, including omnichannel approvals and sending approvals directly to a traveler’s cell phone.

FCM Executive Director Bonnie Smith

9. End-to-end and UX booking platforms

The latest online booking tools (OBT) use AI-enhanced technology, making them intuitive and super personal. For Smith, UX is more important than ever.

“I know ‘UX’ has been a buzzword in the industry for quite some time, but the latest technology is changing that. Not only does new AI technology add to the user experience by making quick recommendations based on your booking history, but new plug-and-play technology means we can create a universal FCM booking experience no matter what. where your offices are located in the world.

FCM Executive Director Bonnie Smith

“Whether you’re booking travel from Asia or South Africa, using Concur or Cytric, your whole team can do the same things, access a wide range of travel content and information, and work the same. way, ”says Smith.

“This is vital for multinationals with global travel programs. “

ten. Renewed attention to the satisfaction of travelers

It sounds simple, but a happy traveler is a productive traveler. The days of treating travelers (and their trips) like a line on an expense report are long gone.

People booking travel should consider whether red-eyed flights or close connections are really worth it.

By creating a rest room, reservations can reduce traveler stress and maximize productivity. Little tips include booking lounge access for long layovers, organizing early check-in and late check-out at hotels, finding door-to-door shuttles and, of course, prioritizing solid connectivity and free Wi-Fi for travelers on the go.

Most importantly, you need to track traveler satisfaction. Again, technology can help.

Always send a post-trip traveler survey and create dashboards so you can measure and track traveler satisfaction, implementing changes as needed.

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