The Future of the Business Trip

I spend a significant amount of time on the road for business. Sometimes, I’m on the road more than I’m at home. Business travelers know more than anyone the toll these trips can take on their personal lives – away from loved ones and familiar daily routines. Technology helps make the business traveler lifestyle easier, but as an industry, we can do better. In fact, I spend a lot of time thinking about what could make business travel perfect.

We are on the threshold of great and significant change in the travel industry. What has arrived is a new world where we are all connected, all the time. In the palm of your hand, you can take your entire world with you – personal and professional – no matter where you go.

The technology that makes this possible drives the question, “What makes the perfect business trip?” I think it would go something like this:

The moment my flight lands, I’m alerted on my smartphone that my hotel check-in process has begun. In fact, because the system knows I prefer a suite, it asks if I’d like to upgrade. Clicking “yes” on my phone, I’m assigned a room.

Having already ordered a cab from Taxi Magic, it’s waiting for me outside baggage claim. Because I use my smartphone to pay the bill, I approve the expense and the expense report is submitted.

When I step out of the taxi at my hotel, I walk into the lobby, bypass the check-in desk and head to the elevator. Arriving at my room, my smartphone unlocks the door.

While at dinner with colleagues, I use a QR code to pay for the meal. I can add all my colleagues as attendees at the meal – and, it’s all uploaded to my expense report. In seconds, the bill is paid, the meal is itemized and my expense report is submitted.

On check-out day, my hotel bill is delivered straight to my smartphone. Itemized. Approving the bill deactivates my smartphone from the hotel and submits my expense report. Checkout is a matter of closing the door.

The best part? I don’t have to worry about filing my expense report – it was done for me throughout the trip.

The perfect business trip is an idea to make travel so seamless, so simple and so easy that it doesn’t require thought, stress or effort. In this new travel world, it’s the experience that matters. And our goal is to automate, simplify and perfect that experience so that it becomes second nature.

The technology to support a vision like this is already available. We’re helping to create and connect it. Sooner or later, the way people travel for business will reinvent itself. We’re expecting this revolution. In fact, we’re helping to plan it.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to design the way business travel will look like for the future. What do you want it to look like? Let me know by leaving a comment on this post, or tweet me @SteveSSingh.

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