Mobile technology will become the ‘new norm’ for business travellers, travel management company HRG predicts.
More clients will take a ‘control-led’ approach to managing technologies like mobile, according to a forecast for 2013 from the company.
HRG also suggests that security will be the top priority for clients next year as they focus on consolidating travel programmes not only to create cost savings, but also to locate travellers quickly during crises.
Group commercial director Stewart Harvey said: “Mobile technology impacts the way we now work, behave and live. It is truly the new lifestyle norm.
“However, there isn’t an industry-wide standard when it comes to booking travel on mobile phones. Next year the business community will look to source mobile products that are aligned with corporate travel policies in order to drive compliance and reduce overall spend.”
Harvey added: “First and foremost, corporates want to bring everything together into one place. Clients want the ability to see all of their travel-related data – including spend and traveller location – at the touch of a button.
“They also want to fine-tune policies so that they better encourage cost-effective behaviour, and, finally, to keep travel spend down through employee compliance.”
And he revealed: “Security is the top issue in all new tenders, literally jumping from the back of the document to the front.
“In 2012 we saw more clients put security before cost concerns and we expect this trend to continue in 2013. Incidents like the Icelandic volcano eruption and Arab Spring were significant wake-up calls for corporates, who are now more focused on how on to keep track of their employees in the event of an emergency.
“Despite the current focus on security, cost savings will always be important to clients.
“We expect travel costs to increase in 2013, but unbundling will make price increases less transparent.
“The core ticket price may only rise by 1%, but individual ancillary fees, such as baggage fees and on-board food and services, are likely to rise by 6-8%.”
Asia Pacific, primarily driven by China, and Latin America, mainly driven by Brazil, will continue to grow as destinations for business travel, but not as quickly as previous years, according to HRG.
Vietnam and Korea may be exceptions to this rule as they develop as corporate hot spots together with Africa.
Harvey said: “Emerging markets will continue to attract business travel, but it is Africa we need to watch. Although Africa is starting from a low base line, many of its markets, such as Nigeria, are poised to grow substantially over the next decade.”