Are you a small business operator or solopreneur who regularly travels for work? Or perhaps you’re a department leader or a business travel management expert who helps employees in your organization to get their trips away for work all organized?
Regardless of your position, it’s worth understanding some of the key trends impacting the world of corporate travel so you stay abreast of developments that affect you. Here are some trends to learn more about today.
COVID Impacts Still Being Felt
As we might expect, the impacts of the global pandemic are still being felt and having an impact on corporate travel. While people are more likely to book trips inside their own country, there’s more of a slow and selective return to international departures.
Corporate leaders are concerned about potential COVID-19 outbreaks, the potential for borders to close again or nations to impose strict entry and exit regulations, and other issues that can pose problems for business travelers and the firms they work for. No one wants to be unexpectedly stuck overseas or to travel a long way only to have meetings canceled at the last minute.
At the moment, if corporate travelers do go overseas, they tend to stay closer to home where possible. For instance, for many US-based workers, trips are to Europe. It appears it will take some time and much more certainty before many leaders book or approve travel further afield, and it may take a while before pre-pandemic levels of international trips are seen again.
With so many people working from home now, too, due to shifts brought about by the pandemic, many people have already invested in tech tools to handle meetings and grown accustomed to life without regular sales, marketing, or relationship-building trips.
Sustainability Targets Top of Mind
Many business travel management plans these days include a focus on sustainability as firms set targets to drop their carbon footprints and tread more lightly on the earth. As a result, there’s an increasing number of leaders weighing up the need for trips away from the office as they consider their sustainability priorities and cost considerations.
Plus, business owners, managers, and corporate travel workers are looking at ways to reduce flights and long-haul trips since these tend to be higher carbon emission creators. They’re also more interested in sustainable accommodation options, public transport links, and other travel suppliers that take significant steps to invest in being eco-friendly.
More Use of Private Accommodation Rentals and Other Interesting Choices
Another way in which people are approaching accommodation differently lately is by utilizing more private accommodation rentals. The growth of Airbnb in the past five or so years, as well as other portals for booking non-hotel or motel options, is definitely filtering through to the corporate market.
While once it was primarily individuals booking Airbnb stays and the like for their personal trips, today, entrepreneurs realize the benefits of such properties and the value for money that can be obtained by choosing them over larger places in many instances.
Unconventional lodgings that are interesting and provide more of an experience for travelers are in right now, especially those that provide a homey kind of feel or some sort of novel attraction. People are enjoying staying further away from citer centers yet feeling more like they’re local, provided easy transport access is available.
Many Combining Business with Leisure Travel
Have you heard the term “bleisure” before? If not, you’re sure to start noticing the word creep into more and more vocabularies. It comes from the combination of the words “business” and “leisure” and refers to employees, business owners, managers, etc., doing much more than just work while they’re away.
A fundamental shift in corporate travel today, trips of the bleisure type involve some time spent in client meetings or at business events, as well as plenty of time to accommodate area explorations and other leisure activities. Many travelers extend their business trips so they have more time to check out things at or around destinations that are of interest to them, while others are booking travel for fun but adding in a bit of remote work along the way. With the ability to work from anywhere, corporates now tend to take more trips and travel for longer periods at a time.
Some other top corporate travel trends to keep an eye out for include the increasing use of blockchain payments and the rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and intelligent assistants in corporate travel bookings, not to mention sales and marketing avenues in the travel world.
Many people use tech tools to enhance travel experiences and enable more personalization of trips. Plus, many travelers focus on connections while away, not just achieving set business outcomes or ticking items off the to-do list. Think about how some or all of these trends may affect your corporate bookings in 2023 and beyond, and educate yourself on these areas, so you know how to best take advantage of changes.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.