As of 2022, we’re seeing business travel picking up again after the pandemic. In the past two years, many business meetings and corporate events have been relegated to online and virtual setups. That looks to be changing.
Encouraging news can be found in a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). From the respondents comprising travel management companies, 75% guesstimated a higher volume of business travel in 2022 (while only 12% thought it would roughly be about the same as in 2021).
Whether or not things return to pre-pandemic standards remains to be seen. But as things stand, we’ve identified six emerging trends in corporate travel that may shape the future of meetings & events.
1. Managing a remote work culture
We’ve all witnessed the rise in remote work during the pandemic. As companies adapted to work-from-home arrangements, it brought about a new generation in the workforce. A wave of workers which, by its very nature, is decidedly more mobile and flexible than before. Moreover, the idea of digital nomads has been rising in recent years.
Southeast Asia is a hotspot for digital nomads thanks to its vibrant lifestyle, natural wonders, and relatively low cost of living. Malaysia even has a multiple entry visa suitable for such remote workers. Elsewhere, in countries like Barbados and Romania, special visas allow individuals working remotely for a foreign employer to live there for up to 12 months.
These cases naturally require arrangements, which can best be customised by a travel management agent for companies looking to reap the benefits of employing remote workers.
2. Reassessing the value of corporate travel
As a direct consequence of remote work culture, companies are reassessing the value of in-person business meetings. Why gather everyone in a room when it can be done on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom? Already, there are patterns of employees heading to the office only for certain tasks or on certain days.
Similarly, this plays out on a bigger scale in corporate travel. Only trips which are deemed necessary are made. These are prioritised based on a specific purpose or outcome, with a more critical eye on how each business meeting helps employee productivity.
With this flexibility comes more nuances in thinking about the value of travel. Going to any location, domestic or international, can constitute business travel. Beyond logistics, there are also time costs to consider, which have to be weighed against the needs of the company and the expected results of employees.
3. Sustainable corporate travel is big
In redefining the value of travel, we inevitably come up against questions of sustainability. Remember those wonderful viral photos of refreshed landscapes and clear urban skylines during the lockdowns? The presence of human traffic is undeniable, and we’re rethinking the results of our collective impact on the environment.
Indeed, about 61% of global travellers report that the pandemic has inspired an urge to travel more sustainably in the future. And at the corporate level, mitigating the carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions of your business travels can be as simple as partnering with green-certified hotels and airlines.
This crosses over into the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which influences a company’s standing in the eyes of the public. So rest assured, exploring sustainable corporate travel is a good thing, providing long-term benefits for the environment and your company.
4. Engaging travel management companies
While business travel rebounds from the decline, travel costs are understandably high in the interim. On top of that, companies may have slashed their budgets for business travel. With added concerns of safety and sustainability, it’s a situation which requires a more careful approach.
These new considerations warrant an expert hand when it comes to planning your business travel. An upward trend of businesses engaging travel management companies is possible as more factors come into play, making it a truly specialised niche service that helps stretch the value of your corporate travels.
Holiday Tours offers experience, expertise, technological tools and support services at every stage of your journey. Our worldwide network of industry partners can help bring your costs down. Best of all, your employees will have access to the best possible advice and protection while they’re out for their business meetings.
5. Leveraging travel industry collaborations
Travel is about connecting people, and the travel industry thrives on these connections. There are many stakeholders in the tourism industry, and having your travel management company deal with them all will be best for efficiency.
Some examples are applying for relevant permits from state and government agencies, which may be expedited. Or booking rooms through hotel networks for better rates. Or getting group airline flights through direct booking services. Or arranging on-ground transfers through green-certified car rental agencies. What it comes down to is the additional value at every turn.
With more digital solutions and connectivity, multi-party collaborations for corporate travel will eventually become the norm. It’s a win-win situation, boosting the recovery and growth of relevant industries – and, more importantly, for you to enjoy better comprehensive solutions at more competitive prices, all while saving time and resources on your end.
6. Private cars over public transport
The effects of social distancing over two years have crept into our daily lives. A packed flight is hard to avoid, but many travellers still have safety concerns when it comes to commuter buses or trains. The close proximity to strangers in fast-moving environments makes public transport a less attractive option to foreign travellers.
This changes things for employees travelling to business meetings and corporate events. We’re seeing an increase in demand for door-to-door transfers in private cars. From the airport to the hotel, hotel to the event venue, these transfer options offer peace of mind, not to mention greater comfort.
Some car rental agencies come with sustainability certifications. There are also app-based vehicle-sharing solutions. Some companies take it further with fleets of only electric vehicles. This trend is worth noting, with more ideas taking off in this space.
We’re witnessing an evolution in business travel
Trends come and go, but we can be sure things will continue to evolve from the pre-pandemic era. Once thought of as a luxurious benefit, travelling for meetings & events is now considered in terms of practical value. With all these trends focusing on safety and sustainability, we can look forward to exciting new solutions in the near future.
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