Research: business travellers in Australia want a mix of digital solutions and human support

Tech-savvy business travellers in Australia now want both digital solutions and human support delivered throughout their travel experience, according to Travelport’s Digital Business Traveller Research 2019.

In the planning and booking phase, the study revealed 55 per cent of business travellers now use voice search to investigate flight times, hotel options and local activities, 68 per cent have booked all or part of a trip on their smartphone, and  47 per cent tend to back up all travel documents to the ‘cloud’. In spite of these digital tools, human advice still plays a big role, as 55 per cent feel recommendations from travel agents carry the greatest influence over their travel choices.

The research was carried out by Toluna Research, on behalf of Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, and based on responses from 8,100 business travellers across 25 countries.

While travelling, around half of business travellers in Australia now prefer to access concierge services through their smartphone (49 per cent), rather than face-to-face. They also like digital boarding passes and e-tickets (66 per cent), and a smartphone-based digital room key (52 per cent) to unlock their hotel room door. 44 per cent use a digital wallet while travelling, rather than a physical one.

When travel is disrupted, the research revealed that 52 per cent of business travellers in Australia like to have face-to-face conversations or phone calls with a person to find solutions. Interestingly, however, over a quarter (26 per cent) would now be happy to be serviced through a chat service such as WhatsApp on their smartphone, rising to 48 per cent when including those happy to be serviced by self-service chatbots.

Scott Barber, Travelport’s Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, commented: “The results of the Digital Business Traveller Research 2019 have revealed that business travellers in Australia are increasingly demanding support delivered seamlessly through physical and digital channels. Travellers prefer to turn to travel professionals when they have complex issues or experience disruption, and to digital solutions to access straight-forward immediate support.”

“Because of this, an omnichannel approach is now the most effective way to satisfy all their needs and ensure business travellers have the experience they expect. The need for balanced omnichannel support is only going to rise in importance in the coming years as technological developments in both business and consumer circles raise business travellers’ expectations.”