The future of corporate travel will see artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning pave the way for frictionless travel as AI and automation anticipate and meet traveller needs. That was one of the key messages to emerge from corporate travel experts at FCM Travel Solutions’ Sydney education event where industry figures discussed the future of corporate travel.

More than 100 corporate travel buyers were welcomed to FCM’s national flagship education event, FCM Illuminate, which showcased the future of corporate travel through innovation and technology as customer experience becomes the ‘new battlefield’.

“Customers are wanting a similar experience and engagement to their leisure bookings, and this will be powered by technology and innovation,” said James Kavanagh, FCM Travel Solutions’ General Manager Australia. “They are demanding a new experience and we will see more use of smart data and machines continuing to understand humans, which will shape our interactions as voice search usage begins to accelerate. “The experience of the traveller has been elevated and along with that the provision of relevant and timely information for them to make better decisions – especially as mobile functionality continues to redefine travel.

“Generation Y and Z travellers are continually shifting to more user-friendly and open programs. The industry is responding to that and introducing chatbot technology to interact with travellers in a more meaningful and anticipatory way.” Discussion was held in regard to trends and the future in procurement, bookings, payments and reconciliation and the role that the sharing economy — with operators like Airbnb —will play as these options become requested by travellers.

Mr Kavanagh said that physical travel changes are around the corner for many travellers particularly with the evolution of the smart hotel room which can be voice-controlled by a single device with keyless entry through a swipe of your smartphone. An overview of FCM’s forthcoming chatbot Sam (short for Smart Assistant for Mobile) was presented. “Sam is a combination of AI-augmented chat functionality and a team of expert consultants to deliver the best of both technology and the human experience,” Mr Kavanagh said.

The main panel discussion was an executive perspective on the future of air, land, agency and distribution with panel members Andrew Flannery, Head of Corporate, Flight Centre Travel Group, Jason Toothman, Vice President, Sabre, Rachel Argaman CEO, TFE Hotels and Rob Sharp, Acting Group Executive, Virgin Australia.

Source = FCM Travel Solutions

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