Business travelers are seeking a blend of digital solutions and human intervention, according to a 2019 study by Travelport Digital Business Travelers Research. The report revealed that 57% of respondents like a “hybrid support” via Live Chat services. The survey also revealed that 40% of business travelers in the United Kingdom believe recommendations from travel consultants have the greatest influence on decisions in the planning and booking phase. Just over a third (34%) say they have researched and booked a trip entirely via smartphone.

Many have hit a wall with their devices, with 41% calling it “very painful” when they can’t access booking information on their smartphone while traveling. Forty-three percent of business travelers say they want face-to-face conversations or phone calls to sort things out, in the event something goes wrong. That said, the acceptance of chat services is rising, with 32% saying they are happy to be serviced via online chat.

Despite the Travelport findings, a survey from the Business Travel Show reveals skepticism from travel buyers around the impact of technologies such as chatbots. More than 50% of the 134 European buyers surveyed believe bots will have no real impact on the industry over the next three years. The Travelport research also reveals the acceptance of digital assistance, once travelers have arrived at their destination – more than half of the travelers polled (53%) like accessing concierge services via their smartphone.

The study was carried out by Toluna Research for Travelport with responses based on more than 8,100 business travelers across 25 countries. Paul Broughton, Travelport’s vice president and managing director for Northern Europe, says: “The research has demonstrated the need for blended digital and offline solutions, as travelers are increasingly turning to travel agents when they have complex issues and digital solutions for more straightforward immediate support.”

Source: Phocus Wire

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