JOHANNESBURG – The transformation has been subtle, but the corporate travel experience has fundamentally changed focus. It’s no longer only about the destination or the deals. The new priority is the business traveller – and their unique needs and preferences. The buzzword is ‘hyperpersonalisation’. This means more than just looking at customer data – it’s a crucial part of how business travel will work in the future. The main reasons behind this change are Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially the really smart kind called generative AI, and machine learning. Thanks to these technologies, travel companies can now create special and personalised experiences for people travelling for work.
Bonnie Smith, GM of Corporate Traveller, emphasises the increasing importance of hyperpersonalisation in travel services. According to Smith, “For a while now, giving customers highly personalised travel experiences has been important. But now, with technological advancements, we can take hyperpersonalisation to a whole new level. This means we can create even more personalised connections with travellers and interact with them more meaningfully.”
What’s driving the surge in the demand for a less generic approach to business travel? Smith believes the rapid technological progress is a reaction to evolving customer demands. Corporate travellers these days expect more than just hassle-free trips; they look for experiences that feel exclusively designed for them. It’s not just a preference anymore; it’s a clear expectation.
“With AI and machine learning in our toolkit, we’re entering an era where travel companies can tap into a goldmine of data to create travel experiences that truly align with each traveller’s unique needs and preferences,” she says.
“Hyperpersonalisation is changing up business travel by putting the traveller’s individual needs front and centre,” states Smith. “This approach transforms every aspect of the journey, from the planning stage to the trip. It’s about providing a convenient travel experience and deeply aligned with the individual’s preferences and requirements.”
This approach makes trip planning easier and more efficient for everyone. Travellers can choose from options for flights, hotels or car rentals that have already been customised to match their preferences and past choices. This hyperpersonalisation gives travellers more control over their travel experiences – something that younger business travellers increasingly want. “The shift here is from generic information delivery to a user-friendly experience,” says Smith.
For those working with travel management companies (TMCs), tech tools have long been used to help meet customer needs and get the job done efficiently. “For a TMC like Corporate Traveller, it’s about going beyond that and redefining what exceptional service entails. That means understanding travellers and paying attention to the little things,” she says. She adds that data protection and respecting travellers’ privacy are some of the challenges that corporates need to be aware of – and are questions to pose to a TMC when seeking their services.
And then there’s the issue of compliance. Could a hyper-personalised booking experience solve the problem of travellers booking off policy? Smith thinks so. “A TMC’s platform can show travellers a small number of perfect travel options based on their trip details, specific needs, past preferences, availability, risk assessment results, and the company’s travel policy. By customising the choices for each traveller while still sticking to the company’s rules, a highly personalised booking platform can improve compliance and make the booking process smoother. This careful matching of options to preferences and requirements while staying within the policy can benefit both the traveller and the company,” she concludes.
For more information about Corporate Traveller, or to interview Corporate Traveller South Africa GM Bonnie Smith, call Dorine Reinstein on 083 278 8994 or email email@example.com.
About Corporate Traveller
Corporate Traveller is a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, dedicated to saving businesses across Southern Africa time and money. Corporate Traveller has the benefit of being part of the world’s third-largest travel retailer, leveraging its global negotiating strength. It has access to over 50 of the world’s leading airlines and deals with more than 100 000 hotels around the world to guarantee savings for clients. Corporate Traveller provides clear, consolidated reporting of all its clients’ travel activities, helping them to control travel spend and identify opportunities to save costs.