Egencia, the business travel arm of Expedia, Inc., found surprising differences in the perceptions and confidence levels of global business travelers on the impact of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) on corporate travel. Results from the 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey* show business travelers abroad remain much more pessimistic about the potential of emerging technologies to improve the business travel experience, compared to confidence levels of U.S. business travelers.
More than half (55 percent) of U.S. business travelers believe AI advancements can improve their travel experiences, with 62 percent rejecting the belief that AI and VR could end mankind as we know it today. While U.S. business travelers are cautiously optimistic that emerging technologies can improve their business travel experiences, they recognize the need for balance between technology and human interaction. When compared to other regions, business travelers outside the U.S. have lower confidence levels and are far less optimistic about the use of technology overall.
"The adoption of new technologies is increasingly happening on the consumer side, ahead of the corporate world. AI and VR are no exception and are very much in their infancy. However, similar to disruptors in other technology-led industries, investments in new technologies that create simplicity and improvements in experience will ultimately win over business travelers and drive significant change in the overall industry," said Michael Gulmann, chief product officer at Egencia. "There is a fundamental shift already happening in the traveler mindset that companies need to anticipate travelers' needs and simplify all aspects of business travel, regardless of how a traveler chooses to interact with travel companies. As such, there is a balancing act for travel companies to ensure they offer the latest technology, alongside the ability for travelers to connect with a live person anytime, anywhere."
When compared to the U.S., business travelers in regions such as in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and Singapore have lower confidence levels in how AI advancements can improve their business travel experiences in the future and they certainly think it is less likely that AI and VR will threaten mankind:
- At 37 percent, Sweden and Norway were the least likely to believe AI advancements will improve their travel experiences followed by 41 percent in the U.K. and Germany, 42 percent in Australia, 44 percent in Canada and France, and 47 percent in Singapore.
- When asked if they believe AI and VR could end mankind, 72 percent of business travelers in Norway say no compared to 70 percent in Sweden, 67 percent in the U.K., 64 percent in Canada and Germany, 61 percent in France, and 60 percent in Australia and Singapore.
Interestingly enough, while business travelers in EMEA and APAC countries are more pessimistic on the promise of emerging technologies for business travel compared to their U.S. counterparts, they still demand more mobile accessibility across devices. In fact, 68 percent of business travelers in Singapore and Sweden want to more efficiently manage their travel across devices, compared to 65 percent in Canada and Norway, 64 percent in France and the U.K., 62 percent in Germany. The U.S. is once again the most tech demanding, with 76 percent wanting greater cross-device integration.
To learn more about the 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey, please reach out to us directly or visit the here.
*This study was conducted on behalf of Egencia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. The study was conducted among 4521 business travelers aged 18 and older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States (with n=500 surveys completed per country). Surveys were completed online in April and May 2017.
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