Mobile technology is changing the game for travel managers

Business travellers' penchant for mobile technology is no surprise since smartphones, tablets and wearable devices are built for life on the go, says Tnooz.

With the rapid adoption of the technology, the marketplace for mobile travel technologies is really having its moment – supporting everything from travel bookings to expense reporting, to the purchases and vendor preferences of employees.

Ever wondered how mobile technology will shape the industry long-term? Here's how the mobile business travel experience will look in future, as predicted by Bob Neveu, chief executive of expenses specialist Certify.

Smartphones

Firstly, smartphones will continue to be a favourite for business travellers. While wearables present a lot of potential, it's the not-so-humble smartphone that will remain a firm favourite, says Neveu.

Meanwhile, the travel industry will have to work hard on delivering smartwatch apps that will encourage the adoption of these devices. Until then, it's a case of "wait and see".

Mobile payments

Mobile payments is a really exciting space at the moment. The technology may be new and not yet widely accepted, but the implications of mobile payments for business travellers and their employers are "incredibly exciting".

They are likely to become the preferred choice of business travellers and company accountants due to their convenience, security and spending transparency – just as the corporate card is currently.

Expense reporting

Recent advancements in mobile and cloud-based expense reporting have been nothing short of transformational for the sector, with business travellers able to simply capture receipts electronically with any camera-ready smartphone. This is an area to watch, as tech providers work to meet the needs of business travellers.

Booking apps

Google's 2014 Traveller's Road to Decision study revealed that business travellers are far more likely to book via a mobile app than leisure travellers. Some 60% of business travellers used their smartphone at least once to book travel-related services in that year.

So it stands to reason that it's the business traveller, not the leisure traveller, that will drive further innovation of mobile booking tools.

To take advantage of this market, booking apps will become more closely integrated with corporate systems and third-party vendors.

Eventually, mobile apps will become the most preferred method of planning and booking business travel by far.

Personalisation

Personalisation – present across the internet, from search engine results to recommendations on social media – can be truly leveraged through mobile. Mobile devices will take personalisation even further in the near future, with "smart" services based on user activity and preferences, Neveu predicts.

Personalisation is perfectly placed for the travel industry, helping business travellers with everything from planning and booking travel to getting through the day-to-day logistics when they're out on the road.

Travel firms will soon come to know their corporate patrons a whole lot better, with more tailor-made, mobile-only services to follow.

Mobile is a game-changer

Finally, fast-moving innovations in technology will force travel managers to rethink their corporate travel policies.

Mobile has increased the complexities of travel management exponentially, yet the basic premise is the same: employees need clear guidelines to stay in compliance.

A business's success means taking competitive advantage where you can find it, and anything like today's mobile tools that enhance the productivity and experience of the travelling employee is going to give your company that much more of an edge, Neveu concludes.