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What Are the Corporate Travel Trends in 2023?

In today’s fast-paced world, understanding corporate travel trends is crucial to staying ahead of the curve and ensuring the satisfaction and well-being of employees.

As we venture into 2023 and into 2024, several key trends are shaping the future of business travel, offering unique opportunities for companies to adapt, innovate, and thrive. Join us as we explore these trends, their implications for international travel, and how businesses can leverage them for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Bleisure travel is becoming increasingly popular due to the rise of remote work and need for better work-life balance.
  • Companies can capitalize on this trend by providing incentives, implementing flexible policies, and utilizing alternative accommodation options.
  • Adapting corporate travel policies to accommodate remote work and hub travel will ensure a successful transition while promoting responsible practices.

The Resurgence of Bleisure Travel

A business traveler packing for a bleisure trip

In recent years, bleisure travel - the combination of business and leisure - has gained traction, driven largely by the rise of remote work and the need for a better work-life balance, especially in the post-pandemic era.

This trend is expected to continue growing past few years now, meeting the increasing business travel demand. Promoting bleisure travel effectively can help companies foster employee engagement, bolster retention, and support organizational growth.

The key to success in this changing landscape lies in understanding the benefits of bleisure travel, adapting corporate and personal travel policies, and addressing potential challenges.

Benefits for Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Bleisure travel, a combination of business and leisure travel, offers employees opportunities for personal growth, improved work-life balance, increased satisfaction, and higher retention rates. When business and leisure trips are combined, employees can explore new places and cultures while fulfilling their work duties. Companies can incentivize bleisure travel with discounts on flights and hotels, or offer additional vacation days to employees who take advantage of it.

In summary, bleisure travel can be a beneficial tool for travel managers and companies when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention.

How Companies Can Encourage Bleisure Travel

Focusing on marketing campaigns industry events that highlight local tourist attractions and offer flexible travel bookings can help companies in the tourism industry capitalize on the bleisure travel trend, which is one of the current travel trends.

Moreover, companies can develop a dynamic travel policy that provides employees with the autonomy to make their own decisions while adhering to company policies, taking into account the available options at the time of booking.

Time tracking software can be employed to guarantee optimal productivity during bleisure trips, granting employers visibility into employee productivity and enabling them to set expectations for employees, helping to reach 2019 levels of productivity.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite its many benefits, bleisure travel also comes with potential difficulties. Some of these include:

  • For international travelers, distinguishing between work and leisure can be challenging
  • Increased risk during leisure activities may affect hotel occupancy rates
  • More than half of travelers may opt to remain in the same hotel for both business and leisure purposes, potentially impacting hotel occupancy rates.

To mitigate risks such as theft, injury, and illness during leisure activities, supplier-led sustainability efforts and travel buyers can promote responsible travel practices. Companies can ensure productivity during bleisure trips by:

  • Setting clear objectives for employees
  • Providing direction on maintaining a balance between work and leisure activities
  • Monitoring employee performance
  • Ultimately optimizing business travel spending.

Embracing Alternative Accommodation Options

A business traveler checking into a hotel

A notable trend in the business travel industry landscape is the growing preference for alternative accommodation options, such as Airbnb and boutique hotels, during business trips. Driven primarily by new-age travelers, these unconventional stay options appeal to employees seeking more space, cost-effectiveness, and a home-like atmosphere.

In fact, approximately 25% of European companies offer reimbursement for non-hotel stays without formal structures. As business travel trends continue to evolve, the hospitality industry must adapt to cater to these changing preferences.

This shift towards alternative accommodations has a significant impact on corporate travel budgets, with some companies expecting a decrease in travel expenses due to more cost-effective solutions like Airbnb and vacation rentals. However, the alternative lodging industry is also becoming increasingly professionalized, potentially leading to more standardized pricing and higher costs in some cases.

Factors Driving the Trend

The rise of alternative accommodations can be attributed to various factors, such as:

  • The desire for a homely atmosphere
  • Value for money
  • A local touch
  • Guest-host relationships
  • Changing traveler preferences
  • The rise of online platforms
  • Affordable stay choices
  • Increased consumer spending power

These factors contribute to the growing popularity of alternative accommodations, offering unique experiences and cost savings for business travelers.

Impact on Corporate Travel Budgets

Incorporating alternative accommodations into corporate travel plans can help companies optimize their travel budgets and offer more personalized experiences for employees. Businesses can secure competitive pricing on alternative accommodations through collaborations with business travel agencies, allowing them to manage their travel budgets effectively.

Alternative accommodations can also provide a more personalized experience for employees by offering a greater range of options and amenities, including access to nearby attractions, restaurants, and other activities that may not be available through conventional hotel chains.

Adapting Travel Policies to Include Alternative Accommodations

An image showing a modern apartment rented through Airbnb, reflecting the corporate travel trends of adapting travel policies to include alternative accommodations.

To integrate alternative accommodations into their travel policies, companies can:

  • Amend their corporate travel policy to explicitly permit alternative accommodations
  • Establish criteria for selecting alternative accommodations, such as safety, location, and amenities
  • Formulate a process for booking and reimbursing alternative accommodations, including the use of approved platforms or vendors

Additionally, companies should inform employees of the advantages and considerations of alternative accommodations, such as cost savings, flexibility, and unique experiences.

Monitoring and evaluating the use of alternative accommodations can allow companies to ensure compliance with travel policies and identify any required adjustments or enhancements.

The Rise of Self-Booking in Corporate Travel

A business traveler using a self-booking tool

Self-booking is becoming increasingly popular in corporate travel, allowing many employees not to use corporate travel booking tools to make their own arrangements, such as flights and accommodations. The growing trend of self-booking can be attributed to the generational shift in corporate travelers, with millennials preferring self-booking to find flights and accommodations that suit their needs. It is worth noting that 68% of employees book business travel through tools not authorized by their organization.

The increasing popularity of self-booking can lead to higher employee satisfaction as it gives them more control over their travel plans, benefiting companies. Additionally, self-booking can lead to cost savings, as employees can find the most economical options for flights, hotels, and rental cars.

Implementing Self-Booking Tools within Corporate Travel Policies

To integrate self-booking tools into travel policies, companies need to:

  • Establish clear guidelines for employees on how to use the tools
  • Offer training and support to ensure proficiency
  • Give employees access to resources like tutorials and FAQs
  • Provide personalized support when needed

By following these steps, companies can successfully roll out self-booking tools and optimize business travel expenses.

Prioritizing Sustainability in Business Travel

A business traveler offsetting their carbon footprint

Sustainable travel is becoming a key trend in the travel industry for 2023, with companies increasingly focusing on carbon offsetting and green initiatives. Approximately 40% of European companies surveyed report that they must reduce travel per employee by more than 20% by 2030 to meet sustainability objectives.

Additionally, around 40% of surveyed companies in the US and Europe are making efforts to optimize their corporate travel policies to decrease their environmental impact. Companies that fail to provide eco-friendly flexibility to employees risk losing them to other organizations that prioritize sustainability.

The consequences of human-induced climate change are severe, including:

  • A warmer climate
  • More intense weather events
  • Displacement of coastal populations
  • Threats to various ecosystems

Companies and individuals, including business leaders, must collaborate to fight climate change, offering options that lower their employees’ carbon footprints.

Sustainable Travel Practices for Companies

Companies can adopt sustainable travel practices, such as choosing eco-friendly accommodations and transportation options, to minimize their carbon footprint. Environmentally conscious accommodations include hotels that use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and those that incorporate sustainable materials and practices.

In terms of transportation, public transportation, carpooling, and electric vehicles are some environmentally conscious options.

Impact on Travel Decisions and Policies

Integrating sustainability considerations into travel decisions and policies promotes responsible business travel. The effect of sustainability on travel decisions includes:

  • Increased demand for sustainable tourism
  • Reduced ecological footprint
  • Conservation of wildlife and a clean environment
  • Support for local populations
  • Moral decision-making
  • Influence on lodging choices and cost alternatives
  • Transforming traveler attitude towards sustainable travel.

Companies can motivate employees to make responsible travel decisions and contribute to a healthier planet by making sustainability a priority in their travel policies.

Harnessing Technology for Smarter Business Travel

A business traveler using a travel management app

Technology is revolutionizing business travel by improving response time, enhancing security, and streamlining travel management. AI and virtual travel assistants are playing an increasingly significant role in optimizing travel processes, providing better interaction, and improving response time for business travelers. Blockchain technology is also anticipated to bolster security and data storage in business travel transactions, providing a secure and immutable record of transactions.

As technology continues to advance, companies can leverage various tools and platforms to improve their travel management processes. This includes:

  • Implementing centralized billing
  • Facial recognition technology
  • Fingerprint scanning
  • Retinal scanning for automated check-in and check-out processes

By leveraging technology, companies can lower costs, improve the overall air travel and experience, and simplify the booking and management processes.

Improving Response Time and Interaction

AI and virtual travel assistants can facilitate the travel booking process by automating tasks such as flight, hotel, and rental car bookings, and offering personalized recommendations to help travelers find the most cost-effective options.

They can also provide immediate support and promptly address customer inquiries, reducing wait times and improving response time.

Companies can streamline travel processes and improve employee satisfaction by making use of AI and virtual travel assistants.

Streamlining Travel Management

Companies can leverage technology to streamline travel management, reduce costs, and improve the overall travel experience. Some technologies that can facilitate travel management include:

  • Online booking tools
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • Reporting and analytics

Investing in suitable technology and offering support to employees enables companies to optimize their travel budgets and provide a seamless travel experience.

Adapting to Remote Work and Hub Travel

A business traveler working remotely

The shift towards remote work and hub travel is changing the landscape of business travel, with companies reallocating funds from office space to company retreats, conferences, and events. This change impacts business travel patterns, with a reduction in traditional office-based travel and an increase in both remote and hybrid work-to-hub travel. As a result, companies must adapt their travel policies to accommodate these changing trends and ensure employee safety and satisfaction while optimizing travel budgets.

Remote work has become increasingly prevalent in the banking sector in recent years, with many companies embracing a more flexible remote work policy. This shift has led to:

  • An increase in remote-to-hub travel
  • A decrease in traditional office-based travel
  • Companies reallocating funds from office space to company retreats, conferences, and events.

The Shift Towards Remote Work

The rise in remote work has led to a decrease in travel for traditional office-based activities, with more companies now focusing on organizing one-time travel arrangements for groups of employees who work remotely. This shift has also prompted companies like Adobe to Allstate to decrease their corporate real estate holdings and prioritize remote work instead of in-person commuting.

As a result, companies are exploring alternative methods to bring their entire team together through company retreats, conferences virtual meetings, and events, which can be beneficial for brainstorming future quarters, setting goals, preserving company culture, and leveraging the advantages of in-person collaboration that is not possible with remote work.

This includes:

  • Investing in travel and accommodations for these events
  • Providing employees with the necessary technology and tools to participate remotely
  • Ensuring that all employees have access to these experiences.

Strategies for Adapting Corporate Travel Policies

Companies need to emphasize safety, establish clear guidelines for employees, and advocate for responsible travel practices to adjust their travel policies to the rise of remote work and hub travel. They can offer wellness benefits such as access to health and wellness resources, flexible scheduling, and access to mental health support.

Additionally, companies should:

  • Establish a system for tracking and approving expenses
  • Grant employees access to online tools for managing expenses
  • Provide real-time data to optimize business travel spending.

Summary

In conclusion, the corporate travel landscape is evolving rapidly, with trends such as bleisure travel, alternative accommodations, self-booking, sustainability, technology, and remote work profoundly impacting the way companies approach business travel. By understanding and adapting to these trends, businesses can optimize their travel budgets, enhance employee satisfaction and retention, spur travel growth, and embrace a more responsible and sustainable approach to corporate travel in 2023 and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the corporate travel trends for 2023?

Business travel trends for 2023 are expected to include an increased focus on bleisure and workcations, an increasing use of safety technology, hub travel, self-booking, environmental sustainability, a higher proportion of international trips, and increased climate consciousness.

What is the future of corporate travel?

Business travel has been steadily increasing since the world began to reopen in 2021 and is expected to fully rebound by 2024. It is a business travel trend becoming an essential element of success for many companies as they plan ahead for the future.

What is bleisure travel?

Bleisure travel combines business and leisure travel, allowing employees to explore their destination while on a work trip. It is an ideal way to blend the best of both worlds for employees and employers alike.

How can companies encourage bleisure travel among their employees?

Companies can incentivize bleisure travel by offering discounts on flights and hotels, as well as additional vacation days for employees who take part in it.

What are some alternative accommodation options for business travelers?

Business travelers have alternative accommodation options such as Airbnb, boutique hotels and other unconventional stay options to enjoy a home-like atmosphere and personalized experience.

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