The benefits of a true omnichannel travel experience can help your company get the return needed from its investment in business travel.
What is an omnichannel travel experience in business travel? In short, it simply means providing a cohesive client experience across all devices. From shopping flights on a laptop to managing boarding passes on a mobile device to filing expenses on a tablet, your Travelers have access to the information and capabilities they need for any trip.
New technologies have made the omnichannel travel experience more accessible than ever before. Is your company ready to take advantage of these new technologies to make the omnichannel experience available to its Travelers? If so, you will unlock the following benefits for your company — benefits that can have a real impact on your company’s bottom line.
1. Reduce Friction
Everything’s easier in an omnichannel travel experience. Your Travelers can find their information and preferences readily available no matter what device they use to manage their travel experiences. This reduction in friction:
- Shortens the amount of time needed to complete travel-related tasks
- Frees your Travelers to focus less on administrative needs and more on the business-related purpose of any trip (sales, recruitment, planning, etc.)
- Increases travel policy compliance across your workforce
Given the bullet points above, an omnichannel travel experience’s reduction in friction can lead to real savings for your company. First, your employees will be happier in a friction-less system, and happy employees are significantly more productive than unhappy employees (making each trip for valuable). Also, travel policies are designed in part to help control travel-related costs — and any boost in compliance will help your travel policy realize its savings potential.
Not only do omnichannel travel experiences make it faster and easier to complete travel-related tasks, but they also allow for greater personalization throughout the process.
Omnichannel systems allow for consistent access to information, which can include a Traveler’s preferences on vendors, airline seats, types of hotel room, styles of rental car, etc. So, for example, no matter what device a Traveler is using, he or she can look to book a trip — and quickly find that search results matching their preferences are readily available. The same is true at checkout — credit cards are saved for use, no matter the device. And device flexibility is incredibly important. As back as the mid-2010s, the majority of Travelers preferred researching and booking trips on mobile devices. It’s no longer enough to offer a desktop-only solution.
And omnichannel isn’t just about searching for flights and hotels and for booking trips. It’s also about what happens during the travel experience. A true omnichannel experience means that Travelers have access to information and support through whatever channel works best for them. One Traveler might prefer getting travel alerts via email, while another might prefer getting them via text message. One Traveler might prefer getting support via phone, talking to a live agent, while another might prefer using the live chat function.
Omnichannel allows for personalization throughout the travel experience, which makes your Travelers more comfortable and productive during their trips.
3. Traveler Compliance
As noted above, an omnichannel travel experience makes compliance simple. In fact, when you present your company with an omnichannel travel experience, you’ll find that Travelers start preferring your in-policy tools and processes — because they are so easy and efficient to use.
This increase in compliance can’t be overstated. First and foremost, you begin to realize the savings and return on investment you want out of travel when team members comply with policy. Second, as risk management becomes a point of emphasis in business travel, policy compliance means that it’s easy to stay in touch with your Travelers and to look after their health and safety in an omnichannel environment.
Without an omnichannel travel experience, airlines, hotels, car rental companies and other vendors tend to hold the power. In the absence of a frictionless, personalized platform to use across all devices, Travelers will communicate directly with vendors when they have questions, when they need support, when they are seeking information, etc. This gets Travelers caught in a system that’s designed for upsells and additional fees — not a system that’s designed to meet their needs.
But, in a true omnichannel travel environment, Travelers begin to see the omnichannel platform as the single source of truth in their travel experiences. When they have questions, when they need support, when they are seeking information, they will turn to the in-policy channel. This puts power in the hands of your company, giving it the ability to better support Travelers while also minimizing travel-related costs.
Reminder: The Technology Will Keep Getting Better
Today’s travel technologies have progressed to a point that makes the omnichannel experience possible. But remember that these technologies will keep improving in the coming years, making the travel experience easier and more responsive to the needs of both Travelers and their companies.
Right now, look for a travel management company (TMC) that can deliver on the promise of an omnichannel experience. Be sure to ask about plans for future updates and improvements to omnichannel platforms. You want a TMC that can meet your needs in the moment, as well as one that is on a trajectory to make your company’s travel experiences better and better for years to come.
Create the Omnichannel Experience You Deserve
At JTB Business Travel, we are the TMC that can help companies of all sizes create truly omnichannel travel experiences for their team members. We work with a series of technology partners that we can help you consider as you seek out the perfect solution to meet your business needs. Behind every service we offer and every recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel.