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Business travel poll 2004: The human face of technological advance

Business travel management companies now have an impressive array of high-tech tools to enable them to meet their customers' needs. But they must always bear in mind that those customers often require the personal touch and are eager to have cut-price options built into the offering.

Methodology and Results

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL industry has made great strides in regaining the stability it enjoyed five years ago. This is largely due to the options that are now available in airline fares, to the ease of booking and policy control through web-based solutions, and to the renewed confidence of travellers in general.

Business travel customers are are specifically seeking a combination of high level, user-friendly technology and person-to-person client service. The online booking portal, once a welcome complement to phone contact, is now an expected and essential tool for any travel management company. By delivering a portal that not only identifies the most appropriate flight or hotel options but also aligns archival information with preferences of a traveller and corporate travel policies, companies can meet the needs of traveller, travel manager and reporting function with one resource.

Despite the clamour for front-end technology, live agents remain absolutely necessary and play an enormously important role in ensuring that clients extract the most from their travel budgets. A recent Gray Dawes survey revealed that 75% of respondents had switched management providers within the past five years – and 15% have switched twice.

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