I was recently thinking about when I first started traveling for work and I realized how much business travel (and travel in general) has changed in the last five to ten years. I think most of the changes to business travel are due to the rise of the sharing economy and the popularity of smartphone apps. These two trends have had a huge impact on business travel and have changed how business travelers get around, where they stay and how they plan their travels. Here are a few ways that technology has changed business travel:
How Business Travelers Get Around
One of the biggest changes in travel in the last few years has been the rise of on demand ride services like Uber and Lyft. These services use apps and the sharing economy to connect passengers and drivers for rides. Uber is available in many major cities worldwide and is a convenient and often more affordable alternative to taxis. Uber and other similar apps have drastically changed transportation especially when traveling to other countries. Business travelers can easily request and pay for a ride with their smartphone without having to worry about having the right amount of foreign currency or explaining to a taxi driver where they want to go. I frequently use Uber and Lyft both at home and in other countries and I consider both of them must have travel apps.
Where Business Travelers Stay
The sharing economy has also given business travelers more choices when it comes to booking accommodation. Instead of just booking a hotel, business travelers can easily use the sharing economy and apps to book apartments. Apartments can be a great option for long term travelers as they offer the comforts and amenities from home and they also get more of a local feel of their destination. The most well known websites for booking apartments are Airbnb and Flipkey but there are also other options.
Another great option for business travelers are serviced apartments. Serviced apartments offer the best of both worlds because they combine the benefits and amenities of homes with those of hotels. One of the best ways for business travelers to find and book affordable serviced apartments for longer term rentals is with MetroResidences, which is sometimes referred to as Airbnb for business travellers.
MetroResidences focuses on longer-term rentals and connects business travelers to “best-value at best-price” serviced apartments. Corporate serviced apartments provided on MetroResidences are up to 40% cheaper than the ones provided by hotels and traditional serviced apartments. Guests book online and use a smartphone app to communicate with MetroResidences guest services.
The app can also be used to review reservation details, housekeeping schedule, make maintenance requests and access other services like online grocery shopping and food delivery through MetroResidences’ partners.
How Business Travelers Dine
The sharing economy has also created more dining options for business travelers. In the past, if you did not have friends or coworkers in another city to eat with, your options as a business traveler were either to order room service in your hotel room or go to a restaurant and dine alone. In the last few years, several meal sharing websites have been founded which connect business travelers with locals who can cook them a home-cooked meal. Some well known meal sharing sites include BonAppetour, Traveling Spoon, mealsharing.com, Plate Culture and EatWith.
How Business Travelers Explore
Technology has given business travelers more options for exploring their destination. Instead of booking traditional tours, travelers can connect with locals for private tours on websites like tourbylocals.com and Global Greeter Network. For travelers that want to explore on their own, apps like Google Maps and Google Translate have made it easier to explore a new destination and deal with any language barriers.
Technology has had a large impact on business travel in the last few years as the sharing economy and smartphone apps have become mainstream. These developments have given business travelers more options and have also made travel easier, more convenient and more affordable.