BUSINESS TRAVEL TRENDS 2019
Emerging technologies and evolving employee habits – not to mention the dramas currently playing out on the global scene – will ensure that 2019 is a year of rapid change for corporate travel. Here we take a look at four of the main themes and topics that will shape this sector during the coming year.
Duty of Care
Across the sector as a whole, a new outlook is coming to the fore, one that dictates business travel must prioritise people and not policies. In fact, a recent survey by business travel technology provider Traveldoo revealed 73% of travel managers believe duty of care will be the most important challenge facing their organisation in 2019. Business travel, especially overseas, has always been associated with a certain level of risk, whether it is violent civil unrest or natural disasters. As such there is now an increasing need for effective tracking and communication tools that can monitor how global events can affect travel – and travellers.
Travel management companies will continue to make use of the recent developments in AI to meet the expectations of their corporate clients. Machine learning will create personalised experiences for travellers based on their previous travel history and preferences. AI is also making it quicker and easier to book a flight, notify travellers of flight changes and even give them a remote tour of various hotels or help them navigate an unfamiliar airport.
More Women in Travel
A recent "Women in Business Travel" report released by global business travel specialist FCM Travel Solutions, has revealed that the number of female travellers has increased by 50% over the past five years. Today, nearly two-thirds of travellers are women. This reflects the fact that 75% of businesses around the world have at least one woman on their senior management teams. As such there is a major opportunity for TCMs to create campaigns, channels of communication and services specifically designed for this market. In addition, companies will need ensure that their corporate travel policies address key female concerns such as sexual harassment, assault and theft.
The Unstoppable Rise of Bleisure Travel
Combining business travel with leisure is a trend that has seen an upward growth for the last few years, with more than half of business trips taken in the last year qualifying as bleisure. All the signs point to this becoming even more the norm in 2019. Benefits have been proven to include increased employee satisfaction and productivity along with a reduction in stress. Not surprisingly, the most popular bleisure destinations are set to stay pretty much the same as the most visited travel destinations, with cities like New York, London, Paris and Tokyo continuing to top the list.