Strategic Business Travel Trends 2020
To clarify, 2019 had been yet another fast-paced year for corporate travel industry. Business travel trends 2020, technology persists to reform how corporate travelers plan and book their business trips. Employee habits and expectations associated with corporate travel continue to evolve. Meanwhile, new industry players are fetching innovative ideas and options for business travel buyers, impacting everything from distribution, to expense management and reporting.
For the decision makers that supervise corporate travel policy and spending decisions – including CFOs, Operations HR, and corporate travel leaders – it can be tedious to keep a track of it all. How much will be evolving employee behavior impact the success of their corporate travel program? What tools should they leverage to balance the requirements of business travelers and the claims of the company balance sheet? And which industry-level trends will have a powerful impact on their businesses?
Considering these questions, we are presenting ‘7 crucial corporate travel trends for 2020’. These provides an all-inclusive perspective at the employee preferences, top-notch corporate travel management tools, and organization-wide strategies that company founders and management need to watch out for in 2020.
1. Flexible Policies to Benefit the Business Traveler
No two companies are the same, and the same is true for corporate travelers. To be successful, business travel policies must account for these essential differences. Organizations that offer a wide array of options to meet travelers’ preferences drive high business travel program adoption.
The programs can account for flexibility. The fact that some travelers will book a boutique hotel in the middle of the city center while another prefersnext to the airport. Some travelers want to fly out early, while others want to book airlines that earn them the most loyalty points. By tapping into as many available supplier sources as possible, an organization can provide options that suit everyone.
Contrary to how things once were, offering more choices doesn’t mean businesses have to take the hit in the form of higher travel costs. Smarter technology now plays it part well. It allows corporate travel management solutions to surface the most personalized, relevant results fortraveler while keeping bookings within company policy. Dynamic policy automatically calculates the compliant price and is applied to each individual search to ensure each trip is cost effective.
Empowering travelers to make choices that reflect their personal needs and preferences strengthens corporate travel policies. Travelers feel trusted to exercise choice while respecting the boundaries of what’s possible and optimal for their employer.
Travel solutions should be expected to leverage dynamic pricing policy, which enables travelers to stay within policy as they book. The more travelers adopt the corporate booking policy, the easier it is to auto-calculate the median price. This helps for each individual search and put cost-effective guardrails around each set of results.
2. Consumerization of Corporate Travel
Due to the rise of technologies, completing tasks in our lives outside of work is more seamless than ever. This is swaying user experiences in business. Customers can order everything from groceries to hairstylists with the tap of a button. And we all know the all-too-familiar saying, “There’s an app for that!”
In all these customer technology innovations, it comes as no wonder that organizations are being forced to play catch-up. Several legacy business travel management tools lag times delivering sub-par user experiences that eventually lead travelers to book elsewhere.
Employeeshave come to expect the same convenience and ease from their tech stacks at work. Be it for managing expenses or booking corporate trips. For corporate travelers, organizations must be thinking about how to mimic the more intuitive consumer travel booking and support experience.
3. Smart Technology Gets a Helping Human Hand
Technology on its own can only do so much. While organizations across are excited for investing in AI-driven innovation, machines will always be lacking that very human-specific trait: empathy. An end-to-end support strategy is required to answer for all business travelers’ need. Today’s most forward-thinking corporate travel booking solutions provide a healthy balance of both, machines and people. AI takes the lead in solving common traveler problems. AI empowers with a human travel agent available to step in when specific issues require a more nuanced approach.
We’ve all seen cases in which chatbots serve as a catch-all for addressing customer service and support issues. Without a human behind the technology, it gets difficult to determine whether the right solution has been deployed to given problem. And an over-reliance on automation can cause more problems than it fixes.
Smart combination of technology and human support ensures that business travelers are receiving the right kind of support, whenever they need. While some prefer a quick chat to solve last-minute troubles, others seek the comfort and attention of a human. Moving forward, this seamless ability to switch back and forth between tech and human channels with minimal effort is redefining the business travel experience. According to executives that oversee corporate travel policy, this more fluid vision for business travel is already here. It’s time to step into the future.
4. User Friendly Business Travel Management Tools
Organizations of all shapes and sizes invest in travel for it caters rocket fuel that drives business growth. Scaling business travel processes and operations throughout that growth assures that a business maintains the momentum along the way.
Smart solutions deployed across business operations must meet the constantly demanding needs of the business. When solutions like travel management are hassle-free to use, employees will definitely embrace them. When business travel management solution is widely used, it helps the company to gain the ability to capture, condense, and make sense of data around traveler behavior. It also helps to better understand and optimize policies.
Artificial intelligence is also a key to scalability when it comes to managing business travel. As companies scale across a global landscape, and remote teams, all need digital tools that can be leveraged. Every successful business will face challenges as they scale. Integrating smart solutions into the foundation will make that growth possible across continents and constituents.
5. Hassle Free Business Travel Expensing
Expensing is a common challenge within business travel programs. Innovative solutions today can simplify the process, remarkably increase visibility, and provide smooth integration with other solutions.
With road warriors, receipts come in from multiple sources including hotels and flights, meal receipts on-the-fly, and multiple car rentals. Technology solutions make it smoother to see how much a business trip actually costs. It also helps in better understanding of total travel expenditures, predict future travel spend, and determine potential savings. Simplifying end-to-end expense reporting makes for a more efficient finance team as well as a better user experience for busy, overwhelmed corporate travelers.
Looking ahead, travel management solution will require to make sure your company’s policy is clearly presented throughout the booking experience. This will help your travelers to always know about their adherence to the policy. With 10% of a business’ total spend going towards travel expenses, keeping costs under control starts with gaining visibility into your employees’ booking activity. To reign in spend and make smarter decisions around your program and policy, you don’t just need data, you need the right data. Modern travel services and solutions offer reporting that’s self-serve, real-time, and easy to understand.
6. Business Travel as A Lever for Recruitment and Retention
90% of employees see business travel as a perk. It is a great news to your company if your corporate travel program is done well.
According to Boston Consulting Group, the principal factors that impact employee satisfaction outside their compensation is feeling valued for good work, feeling valued as a person, and gaining opportunities to learn and develop. A simple act that stimulates all three factors is employee travel. Employees who can travel often report feeling more empowered, engaged, and energized in their roles. On the flipside, is that corporate travelers also experience stress and loneliness when faced with challenges on the road.
This presents a very real case for using corporate travel to empower teams. By ensuring that employees feel supported throughout the process. From booking to on-hand support, if and when delays and changes in itineraries happen.
Business travel also plays an important role in recruiting. Employees in a global company often travel during the interview process or immediately upon hire. The fluidity and ease of the booking and support process reflects the values and innovation of the company. If done well, the technology speaks for itself and positions a new or prospective employer in touch.
A better booking experience means happier employees and excited potential hires. A corporate travel solution that delivers the most relevant results faster means more satisfied travelers and more productive business trips.
7. Power of Face-to-Face Meetings
There is power and value in face-to-face meetings. Video and digital collaboration tools have revolutionized the modern workplace. Today, employees can easily collaborate with co-workers around the world. This offers a huge boost to productivity and what would seem to be growing opportunities to reduce travel costs.
But despit the increasing potential of these digital collaboration tools to transform modern business, the importance of face-to-face meetings remains strong and critical to business success. In fact, a collection of organizations across the business travel sector are recognizing the benefits of traveling for real-life meetings. More than 90% of travel managers and business travelers view work travel as “important for driving company growth. “The research also says that their trips were more effective than trying to conduct business virtually. Nearly 80% of business travelers strongly believed that “meeting in person was more effective than meeting virtually.”
The biggest advantage of in person meetings is that they allow participants to build rapport with colleagues and customers. This wouldn’t otherwise be possible over the phone or using a video conference.
There are adequately many challenges ahead in 2020 for businesses. With respect to attracting and retaining talent, to multiply across global and industrial boundaries, and more. All that while containing their costs while catering choice and freedom across departments. Corporate travel is only going to mature as cultural trends recommend that face-to-face meetings far outweigh remote meetings. Regardless of the tools available. Value and relationship driven organizations must be proactive when considering how to best empower this new business priority. It’s never been more crucial for companies to have visibility and control over business travel spends.
Technological advancements have enabled to meet the needs and desires of users across the business to make the most of corporate travel programs. We’re entering a new age in which business travelers are empowered and productive, travel budgets are respected and maintained, and employees across all departments receive greater visibility and support where needed.
It’s time to step up and lead your company into the future.