Business travelers’ fascination with technology

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Do you remember the Nokia Communicator? It was the ultimate mobile phone for business travelers. With a full keyboard and large size screen, it was a solid device to reply to work emails and stay connected on the road before the arrival of the smartphone. Many business travelers loved the Nokia Communicator, and the way they used influenced many of the features of future smartphones: internet connectivity, large screen, typing with full keyboard, chat and texting.

When it comes to tech, business travelers have always been trend setters. Never shy to try new gadgets, they’ve always been early adopters. Why? On one hand, business travelers are traditionally high earners, and on the other hand, they’ve always looked for more efficient ways to keep working while traveling.

The study European Business Travelers: How They Use Tech For Travel confirms business travelers’ fascination with technology. From tablets to fitness trackers and smartwatches, business travelers are more likely to adopt new technology than their leisure counterparts. Thus, business travelers are an interesting segment to monitor regarding new technology trends.

How business travelers use their devices

Not surprisingly, mobile devices are business traveler’s best allies. Compared to pure leisure travelers, business travelers perform a wider variety of tasks on the go.

Thanks to their devices, business travelers stay connected to their offices, but they also pay bills online, watch movies, use social networks or purchase products and services. To perform these tasks, business travelers reach to tablets and smartphones much more frequently than pure leisure travelers.

Business travelers and trip planning

With their gadgets always at hand, particularly smartphones, it is inevitable business travelers opt more frequently for their smaller screens to plan their trips. The study shows 60% or more shopped for or booked a flight or hotel stay on mobile.

On the road, apps are the preferred way, and most business travelers use them. Nearly twice as many European business travelers use their smartphone as a boarding pass.

At checkout, business travelers are also much more likely to use a mobile payment services. 26% of business travelers use this payment method compared to just 9% of pure leisure travelers. As explained in Hotelzon’s white paper Invisible Payments, business travelers seek convenience and mobile and virtual payments solutions are a suitable way to do so.

Business travelers as tech trend setters

Business travelers show stronger adoption of new devices, and therefore, can provide insight into evolving consumer technology trends and services. What’s next? Business travelers are already using voice-activated personal assistances, such Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Nearly half of the surveyed business travelers request information using a voice-powered assistant at least once a week, and 41% book travel products using one of these assistant.

This way, assistants are driving the adoption of smart speakers. By 2020, there will be over 21 million smart speakersin the U.S. alone. But more importantly, voice search will be commonplace in interacting with brands. Also, when it comes to planning and booking travel. Airlines, like United Airlines, already allow passengers to checkin in for flights using a smart speaker.

It still may sound futuristic, but the day we let robots book flights and hotelsmight not be that far ahead. Business travelers will sure be first to try.