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The future of frictionless travel


3 min read

From artificially intelligent personal travel assistants keeping you company on the road, to mobile-based tools predicting and solving travel disruptions in real time, the future for frictionless travel is in your hands.

Travel disruptions are a common occurrence for business travellers, who grapple with getting stuck in traffic on their way to meetings in cities they don’t know and even misjudging a connecting flight. This often leads to frustration, but also wasted expense, says Euan McNeil, GM for FCM Travel Solutions South Africa, the corporate flagship division of the Flight Centre Travel Group.

“Fortunately, the future of frictionless business travel is now, which means there’s no need to feel like you’re having to brave all sorts of unnecessary problems just to get things done. The rise in business travel around the globe has fueled a shift in travellers’ expectations for the support they need on their trips, while at the same time, new innovations in the corporate travel sector are alleviating a broad spectrum of travel pain points.

“Industry leaders and corporate brands are getting smarter about equipping travellers with tools they never even knew they needed, with personalised value-adds, disruption-predicting A.I and real-time customer-centric technology, so clients can streamline the overall travel experience for greater productivity.”

FCM Travel Solutions offers their round-up of tech solutions and value-adds currently fueling a frictionless travel experience for corporate travellers:

Meet SAM:]

Why travel alone when you could travel with an intelligent, helpful travel assistant called SAM, or “Smart Assistant for Mobile”?

Innovative, personalised and mobile-based, this A.I is set to be launched later this year and assists business travellers pre-, during- and post-trip, with everything from flight, transport and hotel bookings, weather updates, local city and country information, restaurant suggestions, and immigration advice. The more you use SAM, the smarter he gets. He’ll even give you real-time traffic updates, which is useful to know if you’re driving between business meetings in a foreign city.


Functionality in your hands

When it comes to making travel smoother and removing pain points, customisable travel programmes are the way to go. It helps when technology works for you, and not against you.

Single-sign-in mobile friendly platforms like SAP Concur based in the U.S, and even FCM Connect offer one easy connection point to a number of tools that can be uses to manage your itinerary. With these innovative solutions, your team can do your pre-trip approvals, flight check-ins, and even track and process travel expenses as they go – arguably one of the biggest pain points for business travellers.


Safety and security

From a snowstorm to an airline strike or something much worse, it’s important to take every possible step to keep your team safe and sound. Duty of care for yourself and your team can be a stressful task but it’s understandably high on the agenda these days.

Corporate travel brands are upping their offer in risk management services, with solutions that offer comprehensive traveller tracking, risk mapping, flight tracking for aircraft incidents, cancellations and real-time security alerts. Innovative risk management solutions like FCM Connect’s Secure feature offers informative, real-time alerts so disruptions can be pre-empted for a frictionless, safer travel experience.


The hotel of the future

While Hilton is currently beta-testing “the connected room”, already available in some of their hotels and allowing travellers to control everything from the palm of their hand, your team can take advantage of selected SmartSTAY hotels.

The portfolio includes chains like Sun International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Protea Hotels, Accor, Taj and the Hyatt which offer exclusive value adds, at no extra cost, like early and late check-in and check-outs, free upgrades, complimentary breakfasts and free Wi-Fi. Download the SmartSTAY app to get or speak to a FCM travel consultant to get started.

Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Phillips joined the team in 2016. She developed a passion and love for all things-travel related in her role as travel journalist, a position she held for over seven years. A brief exodus into the corporate marketing sphere proved that there is no better industry than the travel industry. Research and writing are two of Jeanette’s greatest passions, but she is always open to new challenges and different ways of doing things.

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