People think that “normal” post-epidemic life can be difficult. A popular comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL) in the United States has mocked that first post – the potential awkwardness of individual conversations. It expresses a collective fear that we don’t know how to get back to simple things like talking small at a party. Travel is the same. Even for ordinary travel, business travelers may wonder, “How can I do this again?”
Like the social return, we need to find a way out of the awkwardness and fear outside of the travel return. To help travel managers get back on the COVID-era journey, we conducted a melodic listening session, reminiscent of SNL skits. A large number of travelers and C-Suites are interested in traveling again, but may be uncomfortable with what it includes. They need more reassurance and a higher level of confidence than before. In the old days (around 2019), we focused on data for the creation and optimization of travel programs.
That is still true today. But a new kind of “data” is needed to meet new demands for confidence. We’re looking at how “Traveler Travel Data” can portray new travel experiences and help travel managers make the right choices for today’s travel program.
Travelers need to be predictable. The travel manager’s goals were: get travelers from points A to B, ensure care responsibilities, and optimize travel investment. It was the same for almost every traveler, every destination. Statistics on initial bookings, online acceptance and policy compliance have informed travel managers that they prefer to satisfy travelers and manage budgets.
The travel landscape, however, is now more exotic, for example, distributed workforces are creating new types of travel requirements – hotel rooms for places, hybrid meetings or longer periods. Budgets will be allocated separately, requiring new approval workflows that carry the weight of travel complexity against the convenience of traveling in person. Each trip is now an event and needs to be managed more intensively.
As travelers to this new landscape become entrepreneurial, it will be vital to accompany them with the right information at the right time and get feedback on their experiences. This is the travel data of the traveler.