Constant connectivity, mobile applications, and digital wallets part of technological transformation changing the face of business travel

Global Business Traveller Sentiment Index examines travel trends in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States

Mobile technologies – including Wi-Fi, travel apps and digital wallets – are transforming business travellers’ experience around the globe. That’s according to the first-ever GBTA Global Business Traveller Sentiment Index™, research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express.

“A massive technological transformation is changing the face of business travel,” said Joseph Bates, Vice President, GBTA Foundation. “At the heart of this radical disruption is Wi-Fi, which has become the indispensible technology for travellers. Wi-Fi and mobile technologies allow travellers to stay connected whether in their hotel rooms, at the airport, or at 30,000 feet. This transformation will only accelerate, and business travellers will demand always-on connectivity and mobile applications that allow them to stay in touch 24/7.”

“The Business Traveller Sentiment Index provides a snapshot of the attitudes and experiences of business travellers about what is working and what isn’t when it comes to travel,” said Susan Chapman-Hughes, senior vice president, American Express Global Corporate Payments. “This will help travel providers address areas of concern and help attract and retain loyalty from their customers.”

The index makes four key findings:

  1. Technology continues to transform the business travel experience.
  2. Despite overall satisfaction with travel, a number of pain points have emerged, causing deep frustration among business travellers – such as getting through security and high airline fees.
  3. Travellers are optimistic about the health of their industry, though less hopeful about the overall state of their country’s economy.
  4. The level of satisfaction in business travel varies widely by country. Business travellers from Mexico are the most satisfied, while travellers from Japan are the least satisfied, among countries surveyed.

As employees travel for business, they need to stay connected – meaning mobile devices and applications play a more important role than ever.  Travellers, across the board, believe that Wi-Fi is “vital to their work productivity” – Mexico (90%); Brazil (87%); Canada (83%); United States (81%); United Kingdom (80%); Australia (75%); Germany (70%) and Japan (52%).

Additionally, business travellers, while generally satisfied with their trip experience, encounter several “pain points” that cause ongoing frustration, including airline delays, trouble getting through airport security, high airline fees and lack of Wi-Fi.

Travellers remain concerned about the health of the overall economy, but tend to be much more optimistic about their industry. At least half of travellers from Mexico (65%), the U.S. (54%), the UK (52%) and Canada (50%) report that the overall health of their industry is excellent.

Finally, major differences in business traveller sentiment emerged on a country-by-country basis. Business travellers from Mexico, for instance, score higher than average across every Index component. Meanwhile, travellers in the United States, Australia and the UK all score just above average on overall business travel sentiment, while those from Germany, Brazil and Canada score just below average. Japanese business travellers are the least satisfied across all Index components, except social media experience.

The GBTA Business Traveller Sentiment Index™, in partner¬ship with American Express, was fielded March 17 to April 6, 2015, to business travellers within Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the U.S. through an online research panel.

Overall, 3,851 respondents qualified for the study. (Their primary residence is located in one of the eight countries; they are employed part- or full-time, and they have taken four or more business trips in the prior 12 months.)

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