Artificial intelligence

Corporates Are Increasingly Using AI To Manage Business Travel

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Organizing business travel is a major hassle. Activities like booking flights, filing expenses, and managing endless logistics consume valuable time. Forward-thinking companies now use artificial intelligence to streamline the process. AI automates repetitive planning, booking, and reporting tasks. This saves businesses hours otherwise wasted on research and paperwork. 

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how businesses are starting to use AI to ease the burden of business travel management.

Understanding AI and its role in business travel

AI refers to computer systems and machines that can perform automated tasks. Especially the ones that require human thinking and decision-making. AI travel platforms suggest optimal timing and options based on past trips, policies, and current pricing. This prevents endless manual site searches and flight comparisons. Chatbots quickly and easily answer frequent travel policy questions, making things easier for sellers and cutting response times for clients. 

Automated expense systems compile relevant details into reports, sparing travellers tedious paperwork. Analysis of past travel spending helps inform smarter future decisions, thus increasing value in the long term.

Benefits of using AI for business travel management

Adopting AI delivers major benefits beyond sheer convenience: huge cost reductions from optimized bookings, increased compliance with automated policy reminders, smarter budgeting and resource allocation empowered by comprehensive data. 

Huge savings

AI travel platforms can identify savings and optimal timing for trips better than any human could realistically do manually. This drives significant savings year after year. The automated nature of AI also prevents wasted spending from unnecessary trip extensions, out-of-policy bookings, or expense claims getting approved without proper checks. Together, this cuts significant fat out of annual travel budgets.

Greater efficiency and productivity

Most importantly, AI cuts the workload employees face when organizing work trips. No more chasing approvals, compiling receipts or filling out lengthy forms.  End-to-end automation means travellers can focus entirely on being productive on the road instead of logistics back at their desks.

Enhanced traveler experiences

Business travellers face substantial stress dealing with crowded flights, unknown cities and punishing schedules.  AI aims to make work travel less painful through greater personalization and proactive support. Context-aware chatbots answer common questions on policies or processes at all hours. They also notify travellers of flight delays, required pre-approvals and other developments – helping them avoid issues. 

According to Justin Crabbe, CEO of Jettly, “Travelers also appreciate AI platforms surfacing location-relevant suggestions like hotel upgrades, airport lounges or local restaurant recommendations when appropriate. Instead of rigid, one-size-fits-all policies, AI enables refined guidance catered to individual travellers’ needs and preferences.”

AI’s flexibility also means that chatbots and search tools can easily adapt to very different client requests, something that can’t always be done effectively when using traditional tools.

How corporates are leveraging AI for business travel currently

Here are a few real-world examples of corporate travel AI in action.

Intelligent booking platforms

The predictive engine ensures each booking adheres to predefined company policies around vendor usage, class of airfare and partner affiliations. This prevents wasted hours from getting unnecessary approvals while still guiding employees to book travel that aligns with guidelines.

Automated expense reporting

Some websites take the pain out of business travel reimbursements through automated AI-powered auditing and reporting. Those websites integrate credit card feeds to immediately pull flight, hotel, rental car, meal and other transactions into automated expense reports – no more chasing receipts!

From there, deep learning models review each line item for policy compliance based on historical spending data and documented rules. This cuts reimbursement approval times while preventing fraudulent or out-of-policy claims.

Proactive travel assistant

Some companies offer an AI-powered mobile travel assistant that proactively monitors flights and itineraries in real-time. Users can message their app assistant 24/7 with common pre-trip queries like visa requirements or last-minute booking changes. 

But the assistant goes one step further by proactively messaging travellers about flight delays, gate changes or upcoming deadlines for expense submissions. This contextual guidance eliminates frustrations and ensures travellers have a smooth end-to-end experience before, during and after each work trip.

Future implications of AI for business travel

While AI adoption for corporate travel management is still relatively early, rapid advancement is opening possibilities we can only imagine today. Business travel AI still faces challenges, but potential abounds – including the following applications.

  • Chatbots can act as full-fledged digital travel assistants to manage notifications, flight changes, unique needs and other developments for road warriors. Envision a Siri or Alexa dedicated just to smoothing business travel.
  • Predictive modelling prescribes optimized routes, travel times and other suggestions based on individuals’ roles, past trips and real-time developments affecting the journey.
  • Potential integration of AR and VR can be used to preview hotel rooms or through new overseas offices from your desktop pre-trip.
  • Granular insights into travel patterns and preferences fuel hyper-personalized booking platforms and fine-tuning of travel policy.

Of course, risks exist around traveller privacy, over-automation and system uptime dependencies. But largely, AI stands to make business travel infinitely more efficient and painless both today and into the future.

Summing up

Global companies like LinkedIn and Accenture have already implemented AI-powered platforms to book travel, submit expenses and monitor trips – saving 10+ hours per employee work trip. Any company with frequent business travel should follow industry leaders in installing AI-powered solutions now to get ahead of competitors, cut costs, and enable more strategic mobility. If work trips currently burden your organization with frustrating expenses or piled-up pre-and-post logistics, travel AI presents a better path forward.

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