Mobile Tech Changes the Face of Business Travel

Mobile tech has a profound impact on business travel, according a recent study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). While nobody really finds this surprising, the study goes in-depth in its analysis—and marks the release of the first GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index.

The index made findings in key areas that affect business travel and the way we use tech—and how that tech affects travelers’ experiences—when on the road, riding the rails or flying the friendly skies for work purposes.

“The Business Traveler Sentiment Index provides a snapshot of the attitudes and experiences of business travelers about what is working and what isn’t when it comes to travel,” said Susan Chapman-Hughes, senior vice president of American Express Global Corporate Payments (American Express co-sponsored the study, along with the GBTA Foundation—the education and research arm of the GBTA). “This will help travel providers address areas of concern and help attract and retain loyalty from their customers.”

It comes as no shock that most business travelers name Wi-Fi as the biggest piece of mobile tech to aid to productivity while traveling, especially since wireless service is now available on many planes, trains and even automobiles. Between 90 and 70 percent of those polled in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany said wireless internet is vital to their business travels. That figure fell to 52 percent among Japanese respondents.


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The index also shows that business travelers have become reliant on mobile apps.

Digital wallets and other apps related to expenses generated a lot of interest, as they allow travelers to keep close track of their expenses while on the road and snap photos of receipts. a definite upgrade over keeping dozens of little slips of paper organized in a folder. The apps also make life easier when creating expense reports by automatically exporting the info that was input during a trip.

Use of mobile tech for business also favored social media apps, as business travelers use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to connects with family, friends, colleagues and clients while away from home. This trend is particularly hot among users aged 18-34.

Interestingly, the index reveals that business travelers are fairly lukewarm about the sharing economy (at least in their professional lives), and don’t commonly use mobile apps to summon Uber or Lyft drivers. As with social media, however, younger travelers are more apt to use ride-shares and other sharing apps.

There’s little doubt that mobile tech will continue to affect the way we travel for business and pleasure, and GBTA’s next Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index should shed even more light on travel’s techie trends.