Companies working in the managed travel sector have been urged to explore brands such as Airbnb and Uber to learn how to better present travel options to business travellers.
Guy Snelgar, head of sales and consulting for the Amadeus IT Group, made the remarks while presenting findings of the Hotel Insights Report at the Guild of Travel Management Companies’ (GTMC) autumn conference in London.
Snelgar, an industry expert having worked for both Sabre and Travelport earlier in his career, said that although sharing economies may not fit into managed travel programmes for now, they provide an excellent example for travel buyers and managers on how to better engage with staff.
“The sharing economies like Airbnb are here to stay,” said Snelgar.
“I urge you to have a look at them. They have been designed for the new generation of travellers. Whether or not they play a role [in managed travel] remains to be seen, but there is so much we can learn in terms of how we present options to younger travellers.”
The research was conducted as part of a new strategic partnership between Amadeus and the GTMC. The findings were split into age brackets, with varying results from the 18-34, 35-54 and 55+.
Of the younger generation, 54% said they would consider an airbnb-type product. Overall 75% of respondents said they would never use it.
Perhaps the most suprising statistic was that 64% of the young generation believe that face-to-face meetings are essential for business, with the overall figure at 53%.
“Given that the younger generations are attached to their smartphones and tablets and rely on Skype and FaceTime one might expect this finding to have been different,” said Snelgar.
“But it demonstrates that while technology is second nature to Generation Y and Millennials, they still value the importance of human interaction.”
When asked about the overall value of a Travel Management Company, an overwhelming majority cited preferential rates and fares.
Further down the list was the intermediaries ablity to assist when something unexpected occurs. However, nine out of ten respondents said an agents local knowledge about a destination was of no relevance.