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23 2017 Jun

Mobile Is Key To Engaging With Today’s Business Traveler

 

The shifts in today’s Business Travel technology is changing the way travel management companies and agents market and accommodate business travelers.

A survey conducted by Sabre in partnership with GBTA found that seven in 10 millennial business travelers prefer to have the freedom to book, cancel, or alter their trips, as well as submit their expenses, on their mobile devices.

Travel budgets are one of the largest expenses for an organization to manage, and often the most disjointed. These Travel managers are looking to streamline that process with organizations that provide mobile solutions. By offering Mobile self-service technologies, Travel companies will not only help boost their client’s policy compliance, adoption rates, and duty-of-care obligations but also cement relationships with their clients.

While most Travel companies are integrating a mobile strategy into their programs, other’s are choosing not to keep up.

A second study by Sabre found that nearly half of total respondents do not recommend any self-service travel apps.

The mobile workforce offers flexibility, personalization, and ease of use which is why Mobile is key to engaging with today’s Business Traveler.

 

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7 2017 Jun

The Future Of Travel Management

This year is considered to be the year of the traveler because personalization is going to play a huge role in travel management programs. Travelers want their suppliers to know them on a different level than ever before to talk, inspire, and even connect with them. They’re taking a holistic view of the traveler as a person (not just a ‘baby boomer’ or ‘millennial’).

Because travel management is evolving beyond end-to-end services, organizations are now feeling urged to deliver an engaging and rewarding travel experience for their employees. Hyper-personalization will take a strong lead in the future of travel management. Increased usage of artificial intelligence and bots replace “search” as recommendations can be based on their ever changing needs.

Corporations are increasingly concerned with the wellness of their employees. Which is why in the future of travel management a successful travel program will be defined by traveler well-being. Organizations are predicted to reassess their travel programs and policies.

Corporate travelers are increasingly frustrated by the options they have to manage their trip.  As hotels and airlines introduce more purchasing options and sharing economy sites work to become ‘Business Travel Approved’ by corporations.  Many tech companies will be working to find a way to effectively put all of these options into one app.

The future of travel management will see changes to corporate booking tools. They will transition their user experience by taking rich user interfaces and robust capabilities that balance the traveler and corporate demands all in one.

The future of travel management is in personalizing every detail of a business traveler’s experience.

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1 2017 Jun

Selecting The Right Venue For Meetings and Events

As business travelers increasingly look for travel experiences that will keep them enthused and motivated, travel planners can look to current hospitality trends to stay on the cutting edge.

Below are a few current trends travel planners can use to keep their clients and team members happy and motivated.

1. Business Travelers are all ages.

Business Travelers are both seasoned executives and upcoming Millennials so when choosing a venue or meeting space, keep in mind that every attendee wants an interactive experience.

2. Integrate cultural authenticity.

Business Travelers will appreciate a genuine travel and meeting experience. One of the best ways to do this is to highlight the destinations’ culture by finding the right hotel!

3. Fitness and wellness.

As fitness becomes more and more important, hotels and resorts are dedicating much of their efforts to accommodating multiple exercise options for their guests. Choosing a hotel like this will be greatly valued by those who remain dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, even on business trips.

4. Sustainability.

One of today’s top trends in hospitality is sustainability. Guests have moved beyond organic products and water-saving efforts, to wanting things like locally sourced food and solar-powered electricity and  building materials that come from sustainable resources.

With business travel on the rise, many in the hospitality industry are expanding their service offerings to accommodate the new age of travel. Whether it be sustainability, or cultural experiences travel planners must learn to adapt to the new trends and demands of business travel.

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25 2017 May

Self-Driving Cars: Are They Ethical?

An ethics debate has sparked around new driverless technology and has some people concerned about the long-term safety issues of the autonomous vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released its first handbook of rules on autonomous vehicles in September 2016, and has raised concerns that autonomous cars might be dominating our roads sooner than we think, but at a price.

Letting algorithms take the wheel have some people on full tilt:

“Everyone is saying how driverless cars will take the problematic human out of the equation,” said Taylor, a professor of philosophy at Stanford University. “But we think of humans as moral decision-makers. Can artificial intelligence actually replace our capacities as moral agents?” said Taylor.

While many people are raising questions like, will self-driving cars optimize for overall human welfare, or will the algorithms prioritize passenger safety or those on the road? Others are looking at the tradeoffs inherent in safety and mobility.

Besides the ethical questions raised, the loss of millions of jobs are also a very real threat:

“You can’t outsource driving,” Taylor said. “Technology has always destroyed jobs but created other jobs. But with the current technology revolution, things may look differently.”

Being prepared for millions of employed people to lose their jobs within the private and public transportation industry is something that society is ethically responsible for.

If society plans to move forward with allowing driverless cars to drive on the road transparency will have to play a major role to inform public debate.

“The idea is to address the concerns upfront, designing good technology that fits into people’s social worlds,” said Jason Millar, an engineer and postdoctoral research fellow with the Center of Ethics in Society.

Whether or not you agree with the ethics of self-driving cars, the technology is moving forward, and at a rapid pace.

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18 2017 May

Airbnb’s New Tool Is Business Travel Ready

Airbnb known for hosting millions of vacationers are now tapping into a new market segment, Business Travelers. The short-term rental solution recently announced a new search feature specifically for people  traveling on business other wise referred to as BTR or ‘Business Travel Ready’.

Business Travelers or their Travel Agents can now sift through over 150,000 Airbnb listings deemed Business Travel Ready, globally. Airbnb defines BTR listings through certain work station criteria such as Desks, Wi-Fi and 24-hour check-ins. Other amenities include entire homes for business teams to utilize. However, not just anyone can access Airbnb’s new Business Travel feature. You must be logged in with your business email to book or view any BTR listings.

Airbnb’s decision to migrate into Business Travel hasn’t rolled out on a whim:

“According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), U.S. business travel spending exceeded $290 billion last year and is expected to climb by more than 4 percent in 2017. On top of that, the head of Airbnb’s business travel division, David Holyoke said the number of people using the site for business purposes is expected to quadruple this year.”

This new Airbnb feature initially rolled out in July of 2014, experienced a soaring growth of over 500 companies in 24 hours after the official launch date. Since then over 250,000 companies in over 230 countries are now using it.

As of now, ten percent of bookings made on Airbnb are Business Travel related but are forecasted to grow as the lines between and leisure blur and the new BTR feature makes it easier than ever for Business Travelers to find the right place, at the right price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 2017 May

TSA Wants Your Security Screenings To Go Smoothly

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TSA held a media event at Fort Wayne International Airport on Tuesday morning to brief travelers on what is and is not allowed past security, and on airplanes. In hopes that the upcoming busiest travel periods, will see minimal delays.

TSA expects to screen millions of air travelers this summer travel period, beginning  with the Memorial Day holiday weekend and continuing into August. Not only did the TSA brief the press about what not to carry in your luggage, but also tips every traveler can use to decrease delays.

Here are TSA’s helpful tools and travel tips for your airport security checkpoint:

  1. Apply for TSA Pre✓® or other trusted travel programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide an easier, more convenient travel experience, by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® expedited screening lanes. Travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports. Find the program that best suits your travel needs.
  2. Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
  3. Prepare for security. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag and consider checking bags when feasible. Remember to have a valid ID and boarding pass readily available. If you are traveling abroad, be aware of the recent changes to international travel carry-on items. Also read the FAQ or fact sheet about upcoming REAL ID requirements.
  4. Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening. This includes sun block and tanning lotions.
  5. Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.

With millions of air travelers flying this summer travel period, taking these TSA tips into account, could drastically improve your travel experience.

 

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4 2017 May

Why Millennials Are Travel Agent’s Biggest Market

Eighty percent of people who have used a travel agent in the past ten years, have a favorable view of them. The other forty-something percent have yet to use a travel agent before, therefore have no ties or opinions. The ASTA’s number one goal is to move those forty-something percenters into the eighty-percent column.

“Millennials are using travel agents more than any other age demographic,” Kerby said. “They’ve really come into their own. They are buying packages from travel agents in greater numbers than other groups. It feels that millennials are looking at the whole travel experience, saying, ‘I’m not coming here to book my airline ticket or my hotel. Help me find the right things to do when I go to a particular destination.”, said ASTA’s president and chief executive officer, Zane Kerby.

A whopping fifty percent of millennial males took a business trip last year, making the millennial generation Travel Agent’s biggest market in 2017. More great news for travel agents comes in the fact that consumers surveyed believed travel agents helped them save money.

ASTA now plans to modify its messaging, after research has indicated a huge untapped market, millennials.

“Trying to insert travel agents into that dreaming and planning phase is really going to be a goal of our messaging this year.”, said Kerby.

Millennials are a generation that truly like the travel planning process. Which is great news for travel agents everywhere. On a final note, they also really enjoy cruises.

 

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27 2017 Apr

The Debate On In-Flight Calls

The Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to make a decision on whether in-flight calls on airplanes will be allowed.

“We recommend that if safe and secure… the Department of Transportation allow airlines to decide whether to permit passengers to use mobile devices for voice calls,” said panel chairman and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane via USA Today.

The FCC and members of Federal agencies are in debate on whether The FCC should lift its 1991 ban on in-flight mobile phone calls. Others propose different hesitations such as flight attendants concerns that raise potential terrorism threats. As well as airplane passengers concerns of a noisy cabin, if in-flight calls were to be made legal.

USA Today reported that the controversial issue is dividing congress. Certain members of congress have reportedly threatened to introduce new legislation that will ban in-flight calls from ever being made.

The dispute stems from companies looking to grow their bottom line and increase profits by supplying airlines with special equipment to bill airline passengers for their phone calls on the duration of their flight.

No official timeline has been laid out regarding the decision on the whether or not to allow in-flight calls but remains possible in the near future.

However, last year the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted against the legalization of mobile calls on flights.

The United States wouldn’t be the first to allow in-flight calls. Currently, several foreign carriers permit in-flight phone calls, with the service required to be turned off within 250 miles of the U.S.

 

 

 

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20 2017 Apr

State Department Travel Website Launches To Help Agencies And Their Clients

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State Department launches a dedicated Travel Agent website to help agencies and their clients find useful information and resources abroad. The site, which can be found here was established by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and has gained praise by The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

“ASTA commends the State Department for creating this resource for agencies and their clients and for recognizing the critical role that travel agents play in today’s travel ecosystem,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO.

Important issues that may arise during travel abroad are addressed on the site. Some of which are:

“Information on passports, preparing for a trip abroad, emergency assistance while traveling, and additional resources related to customs restrictions, issues specific to cruise passengers and federal trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck and Customs’ Global Entry.”

With helpful Travel Alerts & Warnings, both Travel agents and their clients can have a dedicated site to stay up-to-date on worldwide and country specific warnings.

A growing number of travelers are using travel professionals to book their trips abroad. Which is why this site comes at such a great time.

The site offers many easy to access resources like the ‘Learn About Your Destination’ tool, pictured below.

 

This interactive tool offers Travel Agents and their clients easy-to-access worldwide information on travelers destinations.

The State Department’s dedicated Travel Agent website is now helping Travel agents and their clients worldwide stay well-informed about their travel destinations’ current sate.

 

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13 2017 Apr

10 Essential Travel Tips For Making Any Business Trip Bearable

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As a business traveler, you become privy to airports and airplanes, hotels and packing – and all of the inconvenience in between. We get it, we’re business travelers ourselves and are always looking for new ways to make our travels better. We practice these 10 Essential and Practical travel tips every time we travel for business, and they make our trips hassle free and most importantly, bearable.

10 Essential Travel Tips To make Your Bi Trip Bearable ViaSmartCarsInc.com

1. Pack For The Overhead-bin:

Thinking ahead is key when traveling for business. Especially when it comes to your luggage. If you want to avoid spending an extra hour at the luggage claim, I’d suggest packing for the overhead-bin. It’s a pretty straight forward concept, but people still get it wrong. They don’t always factor in a full flight, and limited carry-on space. Which is why taking two equal sized bags (instead of your usual roller bag) can make a world of difference. For example, one bag should be a size that will fit under your seat and the other should be flexible enough so it can fit into any odd space available between roller bags in the overhead bin.

2. Organize

Reducing stress, even a little bit, can make a world of difference when traveling for business. This means, organizing your carry-ons before you leave the house. Everything from your computer to charging cables should have a designated place.

3. Arrange For Things Ahead Of Time

There is nothing worse than getting to your hotel and having to pay thirty dollars a day for WiFi. Luckily, in today’s digital age you can arrange for alternative access ahead of time. Buy an international data plan for your mobile device so that when you get to your destination, you can use it as a hotspot for all of your working needs.

4. Bring Portable USB Chargers

Almost every airport is equipped with charging stations now but you’d be surprised at just how many people overlook using them while they’re waiting for their flight. That’s why bringing a portable USB charger or battery pack is an absolute must. There is nothing worse than getting stuck somewhere without a means of communication, especially when you’re on business. Most international hotels do not come equipped with electrical outlets, so a USB charger that connects to your laptop will suffice.

5. Create an in-flight routine

You won’t believe how many people I see rummaging through their bags before take off, looking for all the things they need for in-flight distraction. Packing a separate bag (one that fits in your carry on) is so much easier! Pull your small bag out of your carry on, and stow your carry on away in the overhead bin. Instead of frantically looking for those glasses, or earphones, you have everything you need in one place.

6. Keep with a Sleeping Pattern

If you’re flying a long overnight flight, it’s important to keep with your regular sleeping pattern. Before boarding perform your usual bedtime rituals like, brushing your teeth, putting on comfortable clothes etc.

7. Eat healthy

One of the downfalls of Travel is not being able to stick to your normal diet. Staying away from heavy foods, and even alcohol can be a huge factor in making your business travel more bearable.

8. Use a car service

Use a professional car service to chauffeur you to and from your hotel, business meetings and everywhere in between. Smart Cars services over 500+ cities nationwide, so that you can request a ride from virtually anywhere.

9. Earphones and Headphones

With the increasing popularity of mobile entertainment devices, there is almost always something that you can plug into. Always have a set of earphones or headphones so that you can block out unwanted noise, and focus on entertaining yourself on long flights.

10. Get Carded

Traveling a lot can come with perks, if you know where to find them. Signing up for an airline affinity card can bring many stress-free benefits like priority boarding and free checked luggage. Not to mention, every time you fly, you rack up points towards more air miles (with certain cards).

Traveling for business is not always an easy (or fun) task but, with the help of these 10 Essential and Practical travel tips you can make your journey a little more bearable, and a lot less stressful.

Which Travel tips have you tried? Share with us in the comments below!

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