Digital, Flexible, Contactless, and Seamless — a “Touchless Traveler Experience” is the New Normal for Business Travelers

The Coronavirus pandemic is moving more and more focus to digital processes – a direction that is completely changing the way people travel. The new “Touchless Traveler Experience” is not only in the interests of travelers, but also of corporations sending
employees back on the road.


How COVID-19 is Shining a Spotlight on Digital and Contactless Processes

Business travelers are eager to get back on the road, but the way they travel will fundamentally change in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The travel experience is no longer just about value for money; it must be digital, flexible, and, above all, contactless. But what does the “touchless traveler experience” everyone is talking about actually look like? And why do companies also have a part to play in this new way of traveling?

Working from home rather than traveling for work was and still is the status quo for most employees. So much so that, for a while, many travel sector experts were unsure when and how business travel would resume after or indeed during COVID-19. Some insiders even questioned whether there is a future for business travel at all. However, industry concerns are proving to be increasingly unjustified, because numerous surveys are now showing—in the truest sense—where travel is headed.

Travelers and Travel Managers Continue to Prefer In-Person Meetings

According to a recent survey, “Chefsache Business Travel 2020 (Business Travel Management Matters 2020),” an initiative by the German Travel Association (DRV), 85% of all employees in Germany still prefer in-person meetings, believing that they cannot be replaced by a virtual discussion. Although the 100 managing directors, business leaders and professionals with 250 or more employees regularly travel, they still regard virtual meetings as having been helpful during the coronavirus pandemic. Almost half of those surveyed believe that they generate a higher turnover through in-person meetings.

These figures apply outside Germany as well and show that business travelers around the world are eager to get back on the road. In Austria, in a survey conducted by Business Travel Unlimited (BTU), over 81% said that business travel continued to be “very important” or “important.” According to TravelpoolEurope (TPE), 67% of those surveyed in June said that they would “definitely” travel again on business. Travel managers in the USA, Asia, and Europe are also suggesting that the hotel industry can start to breathe a sigh of relief. In a survey by the Morgan Stanley Consulting Group, 41% of participants indicated that they were “very unsure” whether services such as Zoom could replace in-person meetings in the medium term.

The Touchless Traveler Experience — a Greater Priority for Travelers Than Ever Before

It is clear, then, that business travel will continue to be important and that it will largely bounce back. Similarly, it is also clear that the way in which we travel will change. A survey by HRS shows that business travelers’ priorities have shifted since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Value for money has been replaced as a key criterion for choosing a hotel by health and safety, and therefore contactless travel. Everyone is suddenly talking about the touchless traveler experience, but what does it actually look like, and what benefits does it offer?

Contactless Travel Is Also in the Interest of the Company

Business travelers are not the only people to benefit from new, optimized experiences; employers can also use this new way of traveling as an opportunity to design their hotel program accordingly. With duty of care for their employees in mind, the coronavirus pandemic has given companies an even greater interest in ensuring that their travelers book within the prescribed channels. This can only be achieved, however, if smart solutions are used for booking processes and companies choose a payment method that solves the greatest problem in this industry: leakage, i.e. booking hotels outside of the managed channels.

Discover why data plays a decisive role here, and why companies should choose end-to-end solutions to maximize efficiency in their hotel programs and to minimize expenses.

Explore more topics

    Sopra Steria Leverages Tech and Smart Practices to Achieve the Net Zero Business Trip

    Summer 2022 Airport Disruptions

    How Digitized Service Can Mitigate 2022’s Summer of Travel Discontent

    sustainable travel programs

    Creating sustainable travel programs

    sustainability needs header image

    How data can help you meet travelers’ sustainability needs

    How will micro-certifications change the future of the hotel industry?

    Green hotel

    Green hotel concepts of the future

    Why sustainable procurement is vital for corporate travel

    The evolution of duty of care: Protecting the environment

    The evolution of duty of care: Protecting the environment

    Corporate Meetings

    Corporate Meetings Leaders Finds Optimism for 2021 Recovery Plans

    SGS Partnership with HRS Brings Unmatched Expertise and developed the Clean and Safe Protocol


    Procurement Strategies: Make your RFP lean and agile to face uncertain times

    Procurement Strategies

    Procurement Strategies: Negotiating for 2021 vs extending 2020 rates

    Study Business traveler preferences: hotels with advanced cleaning and safety protocols are preferred

    Hotel Procurement: Adapt Product Bundles to “New Normal”


    Digital, Flexible, Contactless, and Seamless — a “Touchless Traveler Experience” is the New Normal for Business Travelers