One of your employees has selected a hotel for a forthcoming business meeting in Helsinki.
As part of your finance team duties, you’re going to be checking the place out.
So you stroll through reception, you take the lift up and peek around some of the rooms on offer. You nose around the dining room - browsing through menus and checking out prices.
And then you take your virtual headset off - you’re in the office.
This kind of virtual ‘recce’ is one of the visions for the future world of business travel which has been created by global trends think-tank, Future Foundation.
They have been trying to predict how the way we travel will change over the next 15 years time. Here are some of the ideas they’ve come up with.
As described above, one of the predictions they make is the ability to make virtual visits to a destination - a way of trying before you buy for business travellers. The emergence of this can already be seen with virtual headsets and 360 degree cameras allowing people to tour around real-world locations.
A business traveller wants directions from A to B while staying in a foreign city. They tap the details into a smartphone and they’re given various options. But these are not solely based on time and distance, they also offer routes geared towards more human needs such as fun, safety, relaxation or inspiration.
It’s an example of how the report predicts that algorithms will be used to help balance practical needs against more human concerns to get the very best from an employee.
The idea of having to book and prearrange business travel will fade. Instead, international travel will become more like the Oyster card system used in London - with people’s movements monitored and payments based only on where you go.
It would open up a much more fluid and flexible way for business travellers to operate with a change of plans no longer leading to lost fares and bookings.
The webexpenses app of 2030 will have virtually dispensed with paper-based receipts. Instead, it will be monitoring any virtual payments and using an algorithm to accurately untangle personal from business expenses.
Companies will use technology to ‘gamify’ expenses with fun challenges, rewards and incentives for employees who are able to save their company time and money.
The frustrating and time consuming layers of security that today’s business traveller must endure will be gone. Online check-ins, surveillance tracking and electronically tagged luggage will provide ‘invisible’ security.
Travel will become less stressful and airports will start to change in character - increasingly becoming business hubs with facilities geared towards mobile workers - networking areas, meeting rooms and conference areas.
Webexpenses is a powerful cloud-based system which allows organisations to easily manage and monitor employee expenses.