Travel Management Trends for 2017
Making predictions on the future of the Travel Management industry is never easy, but here’s our Simplexity Travel Managers’ best guesses as to what the next 12 months have in store.
Bleisure trips expand
Okay, it’s not a very attractive word. In fact it makes our teeth grind. But Bleisure as a concept is growing in popularity, as professionals extend their corporate trips to spend time exploring destinations. This blurring of the boundaries between business and leisure travel has its advantages of course, not least for the work/life balance of the travellers in question, but clearly it is going to require companies to draw up official policies such as who pays for what.
Technology continues to shape travel
Technology, and the ways we employ it, shapes almost every aspect of our lives now, and naturally the ways we travel. We anticipate vast growth in tech implementation to cover aspects from booking to transport, accommodation to services in-resort. We’ll see continued use of AI chatbots on messaging apps to answer ever-more complex travel queries; beacons on cruise liners to help passengers streamline their journey around labyrinthine ships; robots managing check-ins in hotels, such as is already happening in Japan, and high-end resorts putting virtual reality to work bringing the destination to the curious browser, with virtual tours of villas and suites to encourage booking.
We anticipate that 2017 will be the year that private jets start to make a comeback. Meanwhile, airlines will be upgrading their Business and Premium offerings. For instance, Delta One’s exclusive business class service now features luxury toiletries and dedicated travel attendants. And although it will still be some years before a regular route is established, we’ll be monitoring Richard Branson’s plans for a mini-Concorde to halve the time travel time between London and New York.
Travellers are increasingly looking for more personalised, authentic and immersive experiences, and with the wealth of data out there now, and the ease with which it can be harnessed, there is the possibility for travellers to become aware of what they can do in any place at any time. The demand for unique, real-time itinerary creation will also be affected by the increase in voice-activated search.
Big hotel chains bite back
A lot of luxury hotel chains will be taking their business away from online travel agents in favour of arranging direct bookings with clients, in search of greater profit. There could be opportunity for travellers here as both sides of the equation will be engaging in marketing pushes and promotions.
Travel shifts towards retail-model
Continuing a trend, we believe there will be more and more travel businesses looking to cross-sell products and services. The obvious example here is accommodations looking to branch out into immersive experiences, or flight operators tying up with luxury ground travel arrangements.
Seeking out remote destinations
World travel is getting ever-more desirable, and affordable, and as such the demand for new, untouched destinations will continue. Here at Simplexity Travel we’ve seen a lot of interest recently in destinations as diverse as the Antarctic, Ghana and the Middle East. Travellers are becoming more adventurous, willing to spend for a taste of unexpected luxury in underdeveloped countries, and less keen to follow the crowd.
Millennials come of age
Finally, with the omnipresence of smartphones, the proliferation of apps and the sheer amount of choice now available around the world, the customer has never had more power. Millennials have the technology, the ideas and the drive to entirely reshape the way people travel, and we anticipate that whatever changes we see in 2017 will only be the start of the curve.
For all your corporate travel requirements, speak with one of our Corporate Travel Managers today on 0203 535 9290.