Tech-savvy business travelers in South Africa are demanding digital solutions and hybrid support delivered throughout their travel experience.

This is according to Travelport’s 2018 Digital Business Traveler Research which reveals that, in the planning and booking phase, almost half (46%) of business travelers have now used voice search to investigate items like flight times, hotel options and the weather at their destinations, while 73% rely on their smartphones to research their trip.

More than half (58%) of business travelers in South Africa now also want hybrid support delivered through a Live Chat functions on smartphone apps.

The research was carried out by Toluna Research, on behalf of Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, and based on responses from 8 100 business travelers across 25 countries.

The study also revealed that in the transit phase, 50% of business travelers in South Africa find it “very painful” when they are unable to access their booking information on all of their devices, and that a majority 87% are open to providing biometric data if it can reduce waiting times.

When travel is disrupted, the research revealed 51% of business travelers in South Africa like to have face-to-face conversations or phone calls with a person to find solutions. Interestingly, however, one third (35%) would now be happy to be serviced through a chat service such as WhatsApp on their smartphone.

Once they have reached their destination, 68% of business travelers in South Africa now prefer a digital room key to unlock their hotel room door and 44% also use a digital rather than physical wallet while travelling.

Claudette Thorne, Travelport’s country manager for South Africa, comments: “The results of the 2018 Digital Business Traveler Research demonstrate that today’s business traveler is increasingly demanding integrated digital solutions and support throughout their journey.

“The three most important features for business travelers include the ability to search and book flights (74%), a consolidated trip itinerary in one place (76%) and real-time flight alerts throughout their journey (70%).

“The need to deliver balanced omni-channel support is only going to escalate in importance as business travelers seek ever more convenient ways to improve their travel experiences.”