The world is constantly changing, and we right along with it.
New emerging technologies and constantly evolving corporate landscapes subject the travel industry to constant change. As professionals, business owners, managers and passengers, we are always trying to actively observe these changes and trends, so that we may adapt and innovate our way into the future.
Here is a list of five current corporate travel industry trends that will help you stay ahead of the curve in 2016.
1. Rise of “Bleisure” Travel
The line between travelling for business and leisure continues to blur in 2016. The rise of ‘bleisure’ travel, where typical leisure holiday activities are fused into business trips, is at an all-time high. Now, business travellers are using the opportunity to explore the local area, experience the culture and even invite family along to join them. For businesses, it’s a cost-effective way of reducing stress and increasing engagement in travelling employees. According to a global survey of business travellers, 83% find time to get out and explore while on business trips, and 78% see adding personal days on the end as beneficial to the business, such as reducing stress and increasing employee satisfaction.
2. Focus on Risk Management and Duty of Care
With a greater global awareness and demand for safe travel, risk management is now a big emphasis for companies with employees travelling abroad. Corporate customers are incorporating new policies and technologies to help monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they travel abroad. One such technology is a tool called OneClick, which identifies where travellers are around the world and allows the company to send text messages directly to travellers regarding travel alerts and alternative travel arrangements if needed.
3. Continued Growth of The Asian Corporate Travel Industry
The corporate travel market has been predicted to grow in China and India in 2016. The top 1000 corporates in both of these Asian countries have drastically increased their travel spending and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecasts China to surpass the US in business travel spending in 2016. As corporate travel grows for organisations located all over the world, business travellers may also need to be acute to cultural differences.
4. Technology Continues to Shape the Industry
Technology continues to grow at an extraordinary pace, and its impact is being felt in the corporate travel industry at every level. Some examples of new emerging technologies include:
- Smartphones, tablets and apps – More searches are performed on tablets and Smartphones than computers, so expect to see any travel related service (e.g. hotels, restaurants, car hire, etc.) invest heavily in app technology.
- Online booking tools – Companies are going to contain the corporate travel booking, expense and reporting system in a controlled online environment, while providing employees with an easy-to-use platform and the freedom to make personal travel choices.
- Wearable technology – Smart watches and RFID tags (Radio Frequency ID) are just two ways corporate travellers can stay connected, track performance and monitor the whereabouts of belongings while on the road.
- Digital wallets – We’ve just started to see the first glimpses of companies launching technology that allows credit card payments to be made with Smartphones (e.g. American Express and Apple Pay). Again, travel related services are likely to adopt this technology sooner rather than later.
5. The Sharing Economy
New share economies such as Uber and Airbnb have caused considerable angst and frustration for those who prefer to do business in more traditional ways. As the new kids on the block, they’ve introduced services that are often cheaper, more efficient and more convenient than there by the book counterparts. Forward thinking companies will likely explore the new sharing economy market as another way to reduce costs and increase productivity.