by Michael J. Shapiro | July 11, 2017

Business travelers crave more connectivity and cross-device integration on the road, according to the fourth edition of the Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey, published today by the business travel arm of the Expedia group. More than 4,500 business travelers were surveyed this spring for the international study, including respondents from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
 
Travelers prize manageability and productivity over perks, according to the research. Top desires included the ability to book or manage their travel from every device, cited by two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of U.S. business travelers wanted that cross-device compatibility. Globally, more than half (56 percent) of respondents simply wanted business travel tools that allowed them to do more on their mobile devices in general.
 
"We are at a turning point in business travel," noted Rob Greyber, president of Egencia. "Business travelers have high expectations, and they want instant access to information and tools on every device."
 
A high percentage of travelers expect technology to help satisfy their on-the-road needs. Half would opt to avoid human interaction with travel arrangers during their trips, unless they encounter specific problems. Nearly half (48 percent) would like to use texts to update their plans and itineraries (for U.S. travelers, that figure jumps to 63 percent). Forty-three percent globally believe advancements in artificial intelligence will help to improve their travel experiences, while more than half (55 percent) of U.S. travelers believe that to be the case.
 
Better access to existing technology would be beneficial to many: Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said inflight WiFi would increase their productivity, yet only 29 percent said they are reimbursed for such access. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents said that filing expense reports should take half as long as it currently takes them.

The top perks that would improve both traveler productivity and satisfaction were nonstop flights, inflight WiFi, extra time off to compensate for weekend and personal-time travel, and class upgrades on flights longer than six hours.