Social media will become increasingly important for business travellers and their agents, according to a report commissioned by a travel management company.
Advito, which is the independent consulting arm of BCD Travel, released its 2010 Industry Analysis this week.
The study says that it is inevitable that [business travellers] will generate content about their business travel experiences through social networks, just as they do about other aspects of their lives. Travel managers therefore should offer an official channel for them so that the information can captured and used.
A well-executed corporate network could give travel managers information about every hotel within a preferred programme, identifying strengths and weaknesses of the various properties. Similarly, a social network could be set up to float ideas among travellers on issues such as budget cuts, or for travellers to share cost-saving tips.
Leisure operators have started to use user generated content in resort to improve their product. A similar dynamic will emerge in corporate travel, Advito claimed. In 2010, we are likely to see the first examples of feedback from travellers being used in supplier negotiations, it said.
However, managers need to be aware of potential problems, such employees using the network for what is not a core business activity.
However, the conclusion is that social networking will become impossible to ignore in 2010 and that there will be major growth in travel managers creating corporate travel specific social networks.