Finnish business travellers are often passionate engineers at heart. The same passion has put Finnish banks on the map for their advanced online services and it has developed the latest trendy smartphones and their most wanted apps and games. According to a study by Statistics Finland, 94% of Finnish people under the age of 55 own a smartphone. Online shopping is among the most common use cases for smartphones. This would suggest that more and more business trips are being booked on smartphones, but the opposite is true.
What happens to the bleeding-edge engineer’s heart when they need to use a travel agency reservation app?
A few years ago, people would bombard you with obstacles that stop you from making a reservation before you had even finished your question. The main reasons were lack of user-friendliness in apps and browsers, limited app features, corporate security requirements or mobile phones that were overall unsuited for making reservations. All the while, the traveller was comparing destination data for their next holiday, asking for holiday tips on social media and downloading the latest version update for their beloved mobile game. Doing version updates and developing new apps are as routine as buying milk at the corner shop. Why, then, are travel agencies expected to only offer the same old thing with little variety?
We can happily admit that, for a long time, the user experience in business travel reservations could not compare to consumer solutions, but deep inside their lairs, coders were already preparing to counter the typical business traveller arguments. Did you know that the breakthrough has already occurred, but you may have missed it? Right after reading this, you can reserve your next work trip on your mobile phone, where you will find both the familiar and new services – in line with your travel policy. The app will also recognise you and learn to know you even better in order to offer you exactly the trip you want within seconds.
When developing new services, you need to bear in mind your focus groups. Baby Boomers have long been a mainstay in conference rooms, but more and more studies show that, going forward, Millennials’ needs also need to be taken into account. These current and future business travellers, born between the 1980s and 2000s, are individual, follow the latest technology trends and skilfully mix work and leisure time. According to a study by MMGY Global, Millennials will account for 75% of business travel by 2025. In China, Millennials are using mobile payments for everything from petrol to street musicians’ tips, so they are already unfamiliar with cash and card payments. When will they bring this attitude to travel reservations?
We at SMT love challenges. We enjoy being able to challenge ourselves, others and our clients in order to achieve even better results. This time, I want to challenge you to use the new SMT Online mobile app for your next business trip reservation and show us that Finnish business travellers are not simply stuck in the margins.
Client Portfolio Manager