< PrevNext > What Was, What Is, What Will Be: The Inevitable Kinetic Response for the Traveler Experience By Will Tate, Partner, GoldSpring Consulting / January 24, 2023 Share Will Tate, Partner, GoldSpring Consulting When we first stretch a rubber band, we can feel the pressure and see the elongated outcome. Some of us (yes, me!) may stretch it back and forth just for the fun. And, we know that the band will snap back with equal kinetic force when stretched. But are we ready?The past two years focused on four important changes in our managed travel programs. First, we repatriated travelers, then recaptured the value of previously paid tickets, then reassessed the value proposition of travel. Lastly, many organizations reinstituted some form of pre-trip approval to ensure timely and accurate safety information and the reuse of airline tickets.As we emerged from the pandemic our industry seemed to move towards a “quiet” period. Many organizations were grappling with the new travel landscape and pursuing a more “status quo” or maintenance type of travel management. Many literally seemed to follow Winston Churchill’s advice: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”We adjusted to work from anywhere, with a renewed focus on work-life balance. When combined with society’s instant gratification and global knowledge at our fingertips, we may better explain the loss of patience when things are not as we expect or desire. Organizations are in a full-on war for talent, tilting the leverage to the prospective employee. It also feels as if we’ve arrived at a social agreement that travel builds businesses.So, we have arrived at the present. The kinetic energy is snapping us forward, perhaps even with more force and speed than most anticipate. Consider 2023 the year of the expanded traveler experience in these key areas.Traveling profiles – Your personalization follows you through all trip touchpoints and expands to workout options, dining suggestions, loyalty preferences, etc.Loyalty additions – Lounge access, upgrades, etc. to alleviate trip disruptionsCustomized planning tools – Infrequent travelers may need more education and support in advance. Travel volume changes (more or less) could add/remove road warrior benefits.Dynamic profiles – Real-time adjustments to travel policies by individual with the goal of reducing stress, creating more efficient trips and showing instant value and appreciation. Enhancements to DE&I – Should you choose to self-designate an identity (gender, racial background, LGBTQ+ status mental or physical challenges), systems can then automate, customize and tailor information for your unique needs and concerns.Artificial intelligence and machine learning – Using all the above to tailor offers (pricing, services included, amenity enhancements, etc.)This combination, working in concert, permits the ultimate enhanced traveler experience—no need for booking. Systems can read texts, chats, emails, calendar appointments, sales systems, etc. to craft a proposed trip—one that balances the traveler’s preferences with the company policy and gets smarter with each choice. Take care as you release the back of the rubber band—that pent-up tension may snap at a speed and force that take us by surprise.