Travel management company CWT has released research showing that travelers want to manage transactions via online channels and apps.

The study reveals that 69% of business travelers prefer to book flights using online channels and 78% want to do the same when booking hotels.

For ground transportation, 71% want to book using an app or web browser and 68% want to use these channels to check in for flights.

It’s little surprise that the research shows travelers from Asia Pacific are more likely to choose online channels versus human interaction, given the already established chat platforms and payment mechanisms in the region.

The research reveals almost three quarters, (73%), of travelers from APAC prefer digital channels to book flights compared to 71% of U.S travelers and 61% of Europeans.

For hotel bookings, the figure rises to 84% of APAC travelers compared to 77% of U.S. travelers and 70% of European travelers.

Increases and decreases

The study also shows a steady decline in bookings via desktop computer or laptop from 53% in 2018, when the question was asked, to 45% in 2019.

Mobile bookings are gaining ground with 41% of travel booked through smartphones in 2019 compared to 34% in 2018.

European travelers are most likely to book via a desktop or laptop computer at 55% with U.S. travelers at 45% and APAC travelers at 36%.

And, more 50% of APAC travelers say they prefer to book travel via smartphone compared to 40% of U.S. travelers and just over a quarter of European travelers.

When it comes to disruptions or changes to bookings, 37% of APAC travelers also turn to the smartphone and a third of travelers overall see the devices as the most affective way to deal with disruption.

A nod is also given to alternatives to travel in the study with eight out of 10 business travelers saying they have used technology instead of traveling in the past year.

Andrew Jordan, chief product and technology officer for CWT, says: “Technology is becoming more and more dominant in the travel ecosystem.

“Digital interactions are taking over, so the travel industry must keep evolving to offer companies and their employees the experience they want and expect.”

The study was conducted earlier this year by Artemis Strategy group with responses collected from more than 2,700 business travelers who have been away on business four or more times in the past 12 months. 

The Bottom Line: 

Studies show an increasing decline in the use of in-person and desktop travel bookings, and a spike in the use and preference of mobile platforms. This is not an entirely surprising development; however, companies world wide must prepare their mobile infrastructure to support the demand. If not, they will undoubtedly be left behind as the mobile world surges onward. 

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Author: Shannon Cantor


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