Travel trends every company should know

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After the business travel industry received 52% in the first months of the coronavirus outbreak, the business travel industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) expects industrial spending to reach 2019 levels by 2024. Corporate travel agency TripActions says it already experienced pre-pandemic levels of “excessive growth” during the first three months of 2022.

The young workforce, shaped by the “work from anywhere” epidemic, has new demands. Business travel as usual is being replaced by a more flexible, connected and sustainable experience. Think less than 500+ multi-day conferences and over 30-50 all-night gatherings.

Here are five trends to watch for your team’s upcoming trips.

Related: Are Airbnb shares a smart buy as we head into the summer travel season?

Travel “Blaiser” is getting bigger

Over the past few years, more and more employees have mingled with work and leisure in a type of commuting around the world known as “leisure.” More than half of international travelers plan to extend their business trips to benefit from their destination.

As the workforce ages younger, the demand for this flexibility will only increase, with 90% of millennials already incorporating leisure time into their travels prior to the pandemic.

Two-day business trips in the past can become a one-month sightseeing project, with weekends away. Leisure lovers take such excursions once every 2-3 months. They are looking for a ‘home’ environment, workspaces with strong internet connections and a local flavour.

Note: A new survey conducted by Visit Anaheim, prior to National Travel and Tourism Week, found that 44% of the 2,000 leisure travelers surveyed claimed to have turned down a business trip because they did not have time for leisure activities while at their destination.

Travel as a time to connect

In a recent Deloitte study, managers said they “look for events with a strong mix of networking and content.” Business as usual flying, which can now be done remotely, has been replaced by travel for bonding and training.

This can facilitate communication, skill development, and employment. For remote teams, meaningful personal interaction can change the rules of morale.

Related topics: Five major trends shaping the future of the hospitality industry

Non-traditional accommodation versus hotel chains

Companies that used to sign contracts only with big hotel chains are now increasingly giving the GenZ and Millennial workforce more flexibility in choosing their preferred accommodations. More than 70% of millennial corporate travelers have stayed on vacation rentals while on business trips.

Instead of feeling like a hotel guest, the business traveler feels more like the local experiences of a vacation rental, like a hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant or midweek salsa lessons. Staying away from the city center is becoming more common as travelers prioritize comfort and proximity to recreational activities.

Self-booking and flexible corporate travel policies

With the increasing demand for non-traditional accommodations, business travelers need more flexible policies and the option of self-booking. For this reason, 68% of employees book their trips outside of employer approved channels.

Some companies offer tools to help employees solve problems, and fall back on agents only when self-service tools fail. Companies that offer a variety of travel options see higher adoption rates for their corporate travel programs. Allowing workers to make decisions based on their needs creates a culture of transparency and trust between employers and employees.

Rising corporate travel apps

Apps like Travel Perk provide flexible bookings and compensation for carbon emissions while allowing businesses to track spending and ensure employees are adhering to their policies. The GBT Mobile app from Amex allows employees to book their trips, generate expense reports on the go, receive updates on their corporate travel program and access 24/7 support from a travel advisor.

Flip the flight text

Thanks to the company’s advanced technology and policies, business travelers are taking longer and more unconventional journeys and seizing new opportunities for entertainment and personal communication.

Employees and employers will have to work together to adapt companies’ travel policies, as well as the purpose and design of trips, to meet the needs of a young workforce that demands a new way of working and exploring.

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