Business Travel Trends That Will Matter in 2011: Smartphone Travel Tech Evolves

With the new year well underway, Elizabeth West finishes up her series on the trends spotted at Business Travel Media Group —trends that they believe will affect your travel management programs this year. This article is part of a series that covered increases in airline consolidation and dynamic pricing at hotels.

While industry suppliers and technology leaders are working hard to realize the potential of mobile travel technology, major hotel brands—Marriott and Starwood—have enhanced their mobile websites for BlackBerry (Marriott app | Starwood app) and iPhone (Marriott app | Starwood app) to accept rate access codes for booking corporate rates. Concur offers rail bookings through direct connects and has an agreement with Taxi Magic to transact on the go. Travel managers would do well to educate travelers about tools and sites like these that can get the job done, but they should also keep an eye out for developments this year.

First to market may be the ability for mobile booking tools to offer rebooking capability when flights are significantly delayed or canceled. This capability is not only simpler to supply than full booking functionality, it is likely the more immediate need for travelers on the road. Full booking functionality is not out of the question, however. Indeed, industry leaders see it as the future platform of travel management.

“We believe that mobile technology is a sea change," Mike Hilton, executive vice president of worldwide marketing told Business Travel News late last year. "It's a paradigm shift. We believe that it's probably not too many years from now when we're going to see most of our travelers' transactions with Concur happening via smartphones versus a browser. We think it's that big of a change."

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