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For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Demand for ‘home-sharing’ stays on the rise

One quarter of UK business travellers have used a “sharing economy” accommodation provider, such as Airbnb, during the past year.

A survey carried out by Expedia-owned TMC Egencia found that 25 per cent of UK road warriors had stayed in this type of accommodation during 2017, while another 44 per cent were considering booking it during future trips.

Jean Noel Lau Keng Lun, senior director, product marketing at Egencia, said: “Blending business and pleasure into multi-purpose trips will influence preferences for hotel and flights.

“We see an increasing number of business travellers choosing home-sharing services for a business trip that is extended to a private stay. It gives the opportunity for local and authentic experiences.”

Egencia’s fourth annual Business Travel and Technology Survey also found that 41 per cent of UK travellers thought that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) would improve the booking process in the future.

“Messaging, bots and voice search, all fuelled by AI will drive a new wave of search and booking habits going forward,” added Lau Keng Lun.

“We already see this broadly in the leisure travel field and more and more taking over in business travel as well. One example is chat-powered customer service, which we expect to become integral to travel planning.

“By blending human-and-artificial-intelligence powered technology, travel agencies and services now have the potential to provide travellers with an unprecedented combination of convenience and contextual relevance.”

Egencia added that it expected to see to AI technology creating a more personalised booking experience for travellers.

“For 2018, we see the need for such technologies to evolve further,” said Lau Keng Lun.

“AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that bring personalisation to the traveller, making the whole travel process easier and therefore rising satisfaction. But we are still only scratching the surface of what AI can do.”

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