What will corporate travel look like five years down the road? What opportunities do travel managers need to leverage so their programmes can stay ahead of the game? How will these opportunities provide for an enhanced traveller experience?
These were some of the many questions discussed at ACTE Singapore's Corporate Summit and Corporate Lodging Forum, particularly during a series of presentations and fireside chats for the Discover Your Greatest Opportunities session.
Tobias Ragge, CEO of HRS Global Hotel Solutions, was first to hit the stage. On the topic of corporate travel in 2023, Ragge said that the majority of the customer base will be millennials, and that seamless, customised travels will be the top priority. In view of that, he believes that corporate travel managers need to tap the potentials of technology to stay ahead. "I believe that standard RFPs will be gone, and the entire process will take less than a week," he predicted. "Prescriptive analytics will be automatically optimised for better suited properties, and new portfolio will be deployed automatically. All of that can be fostered by artificial intelligence."
Next up was a fireside chat with Alvan Aiau Yong, regional lead at Airbnb for Work and Todd Arthur, regional head and vice president of Sabre and ACTE's board of director. Yong, in particular, shared how Airbnb, the popular home-sharing platform, fits into the corporate travel picture. More than just providing unique local experiences, which Airbnb is known for, Yong talked about the importance of building visibility, trust and safety with travel managers through extensive partnerships.
The final presentation by Sanghamitra Bose, general manager Singapore and Thailand for American Express (AMEX) Global Business Travel, was fascinating also. Echoing Ragge's presentation about millennials, Bose spoke of the importance of security and privacy to this group of business travellers come 2023. "Travellers today are more conscious of their privacy," she said. "While they want to feel secured, they don't want to be over monitored." In fact, according to AMEX's own research, 84% of people feel that their employer does not need another method to locate them aside from mobile phones. "Singaporeans, especially, are super sensitive about that," she chided.