It’s hard to believe that we have just welcomed the dawning of the spring season in 2019 and already there are preferences for travel in 2020. Travel and the travel industry are ever-evolving and actually probably one of the more rapidly changing industries due to significant advances in technology.
As one who has always believed in keeping abreast of not only what is happening, but what lies on the horizon, I thought it might be interesting to look at a few 2020 corporate travel ideas that TMCs should know about…
Corporate companies are becoming ever more ensconced in the greening initiatives being rolled out on a global scale and want to be seen to be supporting them. We in South Africa, unfortunately, are a little behind in terms of recycling, public transport and many other facets of responsible eco-tourism.
As stated in one of my previous articles, however, as international Travel Professionals, we should continuously seek ways to ensure that corporate travellers are made aware of ways they can participate in local greening initiatives, wherever they go.
Continual customer access
We are fortunate that we have the technology to accommodate one of the fastest-growing trends – which is 24/7 uninterrupted customer access. In 2020 our customers, more than ever, will want instant gratification and constant communication.
Mobiles and social media applications will make this simpler, but we need to always be looking for better ways to accomplish this and retain the personal touch.
The days of packaged, cut and dried itineraries and schedules are changing fast. Corporates and especially leisure travellers are looking for solutions that suit their specific needs. A typical example of this is ‘Bliesure’ travel, where business travellers are combining business and leisure travel.
More people want to go ‘off the beaten track’ when it suits them. TMCs must be flexible enough to accommodate this.
Remote and adaptable
The way we work is rapidly changing. When a TMC prepares a travel schedule, remote access to meetings and virtual offices – and the fact that we need no longer work the traditional 9 to 5 day, all have to be taken into account.
The days of organising travel plans to coincide with transportation to offices at given times are all changing. It means that in 2020 we will need to be more cognisant of the way our clients are operating.
Working in the cloud
Traditionally this meant taking your laptop with to work as you flew – now it means that TMCs will operate very differently as a result of cloud computing technology. Hardware and much traditional software will fall away.
We who are planning offices of the future need to be aware of how differently and more economically we can work, thereby hopefully passing on some savings to our clients.
Technology will relentlessly march on
We are just touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of how technology could ultimately revolutionise the travel industry. In a previous article, I emphasised the importance of being abreast of where it will take us and in what ways we can best incorporate it into our offerings.
A follow-up article pointed out that the real ‘disrupters’ of the travel industry are those who have best implemented new technologies to enhance the customer experience.
Solutions driven TMCs will win the day
Here’s my prediction for the year that lies ahead. As some of these facts have shown, the demand is primarily for more flexibility and for TMCs to meet customer demands through advanced technology. Yes, consumer demands will become more significant, but if we look well ahead, we will be equipped for it.
We need to be solutions-driven, and knowledge is power. We can only lead in a highly technologically driven industry by knowing what we’re facing, embracing change and adhering to the traditional principles of delivering the ultimate customer experience through good old fashioned personalised service.
Let’s start now to make 2020 work for us!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER