The following is a post by Don Munro, Senior Content Manager, here at Lanyon. Enjoy reading!
Recently, I sat in on the first of three Business Travel News webinars on implementing innovation throughout the business trip lifecycle — “Starting Off Right: Innovating with Pre-trip Processes, Technologies, and Strategies.”
The point of the webinar: You can enhance your travelers’ experiences and, at the same time, boost your cost-control and compliance efforts even before your travelers board a plane.
I’m going to focus on one panelist in this post: Eric Baily, Microsoft’s Sr. Travel Manager, Strategy & Technology, because he talked about some fascinating technology that the software giant’s travelers are now beta testing. It’s called MSTravel Companion, a mobile app that “makes it easy for travelers to make decisions” like how to get to Microsoft offices and other destinations in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
Baily explained that Microsoft is developing the capability to integrate travel information into employees’ Outlook calendars based on appointments that they’ve set up for their trips. The information, displayed on easy-to-read maps, shows preferred hotels, car rental deals, restaurants, train options, and nearby MS offices. Based on traveler’s location and time information input in Outlook, Microsoft can give employees suggestions to get their jobs done more efficiently and for less expense.
For example, instead of a traveler deplaning in London, taking a taxi to their hotel, ordering room service, and then making a business call, Bailey said MSTravel Companion can give employees a much more efficient choice. “We can suggest the Heathrow Express (express trains between central London & Heathrow Airport) and a nearby office to make your call.”
This is an excellent example of how companies today are using “Big Data” to improve the traveler experience and save money, too. Not a bad goal for Microsoft, which spends more than $800 million annually on travel and entertainment!
Expect to see more innovation that targets the pre-trip phase of travel, predicted Elizabeth West, Executive Editor of Content Solutions at The BTN Group.
Do you use any technology that enhances your travelers’ pre-trip experience? Please share here how it’s helping you bring more convenience to your travelers and, at the same time, reach your program savings targets.