Travel is expensive, time consuming, and for those of us who partake in frequent trips as part of their job, know it is not the glamorous lifestyle it was once thought it to be. Coordinating trip elements, whether by the individual or with a travel management company, has become complicated to navigate and almost impossible without the right information readily available at your fingertips or should we say mobile device.
Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in the world in which all the systems we used actually communicated to each other and proactively provided decision-making data to optimize our travel? Imagine if you will that you book a trip to visit one client and immediately upon booking, Salesforce or another CRM notifies you of other customers in that area that you have not visited with in a while?
We need data to define our travel trends, data to measure trip effectiveness, data to understand our behaviors and activities and data to understand our financial patterns and limitations. Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies are beginning to generate this kind of data and repurposing it in a format that is understandable and actionable for the traveler. This is truly trip optimization at its finest.
On-demand travelers want to know their preferred seat selection has been accommodated, that the flight is on time, and if not, would like a message to invite them to stay in the lounge that extra hour – or if a flight has been canceled, that they are already booked on another flight. Recently I was about to leave my house for a business trip to Chicago when I received an automated call from American Airlines informing me that my flight was canceled, and I had been rebooked on a flight first thing the next morning. Not only did this save me a long drive to the airport, but it freed me from the burden of calling or standing in busy lines to rebook my trip.
Hotels have come a long way in the past year in communicating data to guest’s before, during and after their stay. Traveler’s can now can check-in via their mobile device and skip the front desk lines, choose room upgrades, select from relevant ancillary services and connect using two-way SMS texting directly with the hotel staff. There is great value of when landing at your destination and turning on your phone and, you receiving a message that your room is ready for check in.. plan a route Conversely, knowing that the room is not available, and the suggestion to go have lunch and the hotel will notify you when it is ready is equally as important.
Today’s traveler knows what they want and when they want it, and it is up to relevant, actionable data to make this possible. At Cornerstone, we are obsessed with providing that data to travel companies and travelers, and excited to launch two new solutions for actionable data 4site™ and TravelOptix™ at next weeks GBTA Convention in Orlando.