Major Corporate Travel Trends: 2016/2017

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Every corporate travel agency will require an immense amount of research and adaptation to cater for prevailing industry trends in the second half of 2016 and moving forward into 2017. Meanwhile, a positive economic outlook has also fostered optimistic sentiment and kept a spotlight on the business travel sector. Vice-President of Research at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) announced that “business travel is a leading indicator of global economic activity; and the top-line pricing outlook for air, hotel, ground and meetings and events in 2016 is surprisingly stable.

There are various trends currently influencing the way corporate travel agencies operate as well as how patrons book and interact with the basket of travel services. In this release we discuss a few of the significant trends and how these movements influence the corporate travel experience as a whole.

Total business travel costs

Whether it is due to budget constraints or simply smart spending, businesses are shifting focus to effectively managing total travel costs. This is important in light of the shift in favour of “Bleasure” travel, which refers to the increasing preference in combining business and leisure. According to an international survey 83% of business travellers made time for Pleasure during Business trips. Hence, corporate travel agencies are aligning their services and systems alike to more synergistically meet evolving consumer demands. This doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in corporate travel as such, but rather a streamlining of the associated expenditure such as:

  • Booking with a budget airline
  • Moving from business to economy class
  • Reservations at lower star accommodation
  • Employing online booking tools to speed up booking processes, consolidate content and minimise costs

Corporate travel, technology and security

We are no doubt in an age of explosive and revolutionary technological advancements from superfast trains to electric cars, smart mobile technology to virtual reality and beyond. Many industries are being significantly impacted and corporate travel is not exempt. For instance, consider IATA’s NDC (New Distribution Capability) Program which essentially sets a standard that enhances synchronous and seamless communications between airlines and corporate travel agencies. This is a significant game-changer in the ambit of retailing air products to corporates, business individuals and other travellers.

Apart from making services such as booking, purchasing, comparing alternate packages and so forth more efficient, there is also the issue of data privacy and security. Hacks and data breaches are occurring at a rampant rate in various industries, and with devastating consequences observed such as identity fraud. This is why corporate travel companies with the finger on the pulse are keeping close tabs on personal information privacy including how data is acquired, where it resides, how it is used and accessed. This impacts processes and systems relating to governance and procedures, including online security resources, related mechanisms, quality control checks etc. You should travel knowing your privacy is protected, with your corporate travel agency adopting optimum measures to ensure safety and security of information and subsequently persons.

Wearable technology, such as smart watches and RFID tags (Radio Frequency ID) is also impacting corporate travel in considerable ways. This helps clients stay connected, track performance and monitor the whereabouts of their belongings while travelling – to mention a few of the benefits.

Less human interaction

Corporate travellers seem to be relying less and less on human interaction in 2016, although this doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Travellers are opting to communicate via the likes of emails, text messages, social media platforms like Facebook and social apps like WhatsApp rather than via telephone or front desk reservations. This fundamentally arises out of the need by travellers for instant satisfaction. Consumers want to be able to order, book or receive updates in a few finger swipes; contributing to the development of more intuitive and user-friendly travel offerings.

Above we have touched on some of the chief corporate travel trends. While this article is by no means exhaustive, curtailing of corporate travel costs, associated technological advancements influencing booking, travel-experience and much more are heavily influencing the industry.

For more information on your travel destination, corporate travel packages, or other agency-related queries Travelability’s helpful and knowledgeable personnel are on standby.