Last week, the GBTA Foundation's Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index shared some ways that mobile technologies – including Wi-Fi, travel apps and digital wallets – are transforming business travelers’ experience around the globe.
Joseph Bates, Vice President, GBTA Foundation, said that "a massive technological transformation" is changing the face of business travel. “At the heart of this radical disruption is Wi-Fi, which has become the indispensible technology for travelers. Wi-Fi and mobile technologies allow travelers to stay connected whether in their hotel rooms, at the airport, or at 30,000 feet. This transformation will only accelerate, and business travelers will demand always-on connectivity and mobile applications that allow them to stay in touch 24/7.”
How technology has changed the face of business travel
The vast majority of travelers in all countries, except Japan and Germany, believe access to technology allows them to keep up with their other work demands when traveling (about 75 percent or more on average). In addition, with the exception of Japan (40 percent), about six out of 10 travelers in each country agree they have all the necessary resources to be productive while on the road.
Travelers believe that Wi-Fi is vital to the work productivity across the board – Mexico (90 percent); Brazil (87 percent); Canada (83 percent); United States (81 percent); United Kingdom (80 percent); Australia (75 percent); Germany (70 percent) and Japan (52 percent).
A majority of travelers in most countries believe that mobile applications (provided by travel suppliers, event organizers or travel destinations) have enhanced their overall business travel experience. In particular travelers in Australia (57 percent), the U.S. (55 percent), UK (55 percent) and Canada (53 percent) “agree” or “strongly agree” with this statement.
Increasingly, travelers are open to new technologies – such as digital wallets – that allow them to keep track of payments and expenses via their mobile devices. Based on their high level of interest, this functionality is most likely to be successful with Mexican (74 percent) and Brazilian (64 percent) travelers, compared to travelers from other countries.
Social media use for business travel is more widespread among younger travelers (ages 18 to 34) than all other age groups, as well as female travelers compared to male travelers.
Interest in using sharing-economy transportation services is relatively low among all travelers – only 20 percent of business travelers express interest in using these services more. However, younger travelers in all countries are more likely than older travelers to increase use of these services.
The GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, in partner¬ship with American Express, was fielded March 17 to April 6, 2015, to business travelers within Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the U.S. through an online research panel. Overall, 3,851 respondents qualified for the study (their pri¬mary residence is located in one of the eight countries, they are employed part- or full-time, and they have taken four or more business trips in the prior 12 months).