The pandemic has catalysed technology upgrades and adoption among TMCs that are looking to be better prepared for the return of business, observed industry leaders in business travel.
Gloria Slethaug, CEO, Connexus Travel, noted that many TMCs are “going beyond booking tickets, with many doubling down on technology investments and reworking their operations” during this lull period.
Jane Warren, managing director, Reed & Mackay Travel Singapore, opined that the technology rush could have stemmed from the desire of employers to know where their staff are at any given time in today’s volatile and risky environment.
“Whether it’s a change in the country’s status due to Covid-19, natural disaster or political unrest, a TMC can provide data to ensure the traveller’s safety throughout, as well as locate and communicate with impacted employees,” Warren elaborated.
Technology can also provide pre-trip risk assessment; point-of-sale intelligence on Covid-19 safety measures for both air and hotel; dynamic trip alerts; and multi-channel communication to help corporate travellers make informed choices.
At the same time, TMCs can rely on technology to track their carbon emissions and enforce offset programmes should reduction not be possible.
And in fragmented Asia-Pacific, technology could smoothen operations, opined Slethaug.
She elaborated: “The region’s business travel markets – China, Australia, Japan, Singapore and India, for example – all operate differently (in terms of) technology systems, GDS, fare structures, and language capabilities.”
Citing further examples, Warren said that Singapore is “slightly behind the curve in adopting technology for business travel programmes” while Australia already has online adoption due to its domestic market. To better navigate the different business travel landscape in this region, she encouraged companies to rely on a TMC that is pro-technology.
Slethaug added: “More companies are expecting their corporate travel programme to assist with their business assessments in the future, so TMCs should rethink how to use the right technology, that’s relevant to the local market, to deliver extraordinary services for their clients.”