Wearables for Business Travelers*…really?

*Yes, and some other surprises from a recent Phocuswright report on business traveler behavior.

I have to say that I was surprised by some of the results from a research study we conducted this past October. While a few of the findings were pretty obvious and expected (94% of business travelers own a smart phone – I’ll admit, at times I’m envious of the 6% who don’t), some results were surprising and others somewhat shocking.

On the somewhat shocking side was the follow-up question to wearables, which suggested that 64% of business travelers plan to acquire one in the next few years. Given what I’ve seen so far, I can’t fathom a world where two in three business travelers talk to their watches anytime soon – but hey, technology advances so quickly these days that I probably shouldn’t be taken aback by those numbers.

Unsurprisingly, nearly six in 10 millennials use their smartphones for itinerary management and check-in, but I was startled to learn that almost half also use it to shop and buy travel. I suspected the number was a lot lower, but for this demographic the smartphone is clearly the device of choice.

Still on the smart phone, any reluctance to make purchases with their phones are rapidly disappearing as more than six in 10 business travelers expressed comfort here either using stored payment information (66%), or by entering credit/debit card information (65%).

No stunner that, on the social media side, Facebook is the platform of choice for more than eight in 10 business travelers, with the most prevalent use case being to post comments or photos from a trip.  Looking for (41%) and sharing (28%) deals is also a major social media pastime. Business travelers have also realized that suppliers respond very quickly to customer service issues shared over social media, so its impact is likely to continue to grow.

I’m not sure if the travel buyers out there are tracking mobile use cases, social media adoption, or the demand for wearables among their business travelers, but if they’re not, they should probably start.  The report is chock full of interesting data that will open some eyes, so if you’d like to give it a look click here.