By Lola Adefope
The chatter surrounding Business Travel has reached a tipping point, with many players scrambling to get a larger piece of the $13billion dollar pie, according to Rancoteur. GBTA [Global Business Travel Association] estimates the industry represents spending of much more than that worldwide and predicts that number will rise to $1.7trillion by 2022. The corporate travel Industry is steadily increasing. Technology has made industry trade and business connections easier to achieve around the globe and with it remains the need to visit clients and partners physically, the element of human touch that will never be eliminated despite how sophisticated modes of communication become.
Managed travel solutions are continually innovating focusing on providing the optimum user experience and quality of service. With the digitalization of travel bookings and payments making it easier for both enterprises and individual travellers to organize their travel needs, the business travel market is expected to grow at an impressive rate during the forecast period.
Airlines have also recognised the requirements this growing sector needs and their reaction has made Business class seats on their equipment one of the most highly competitive markets in aviation. The push for premium passengers and the improvement of business class seats means that many airlines have simply removed first class entirely, “Next year first class will remain on just 18 airlines globally” according to Forbes.
As a result of the growth in this specialised industry, many additional services and offshoots of opportunity have become apparent; from Hotels capitalising on premium rates and attracting corporate entities with bundled deals including laundry services, free Wi-Fi and discounts to the birth of the “Bleisure” industry [Business and Leisure, blended travel]. Bleisure travel is a hybrid niche, growing in popularity as work-life boundaries blur.
This trend broadens the scope of Business Travel and goes much further than previous acts of bringing your partner along to a conference. Where there is an exciting or appealing destination, Business Travellers around the globe are “increasingly adding weekends, or even weeks, to work trips, whether solo, with a partner, or as a family”.
Disruptors and Business Travel Tech start-ups are now enhancing and transforming the industry. AI-powered automated assistants are making an impact in helping business travellers plan trips, avoid hazards and even enjoy the travel experience more than before.
With the tidal wave entrance of a new generation in the workforce driving travel buying their affinity with technology married with high expectations and little patience for wasted time, the industry appetite for efficient tech and travel apps has grown and is currently in the process giving oxygen to disruptive start-ups.
“Bookings are more consistent than leisure, executives increasingly want to manage their own trips online, and there’s lots of data and money to be made; after all it’s a growing industry, according to the Global Business Travel Association. Yet the sector is fragmented and complex, and it remains largely undisrupted.” according to Raconteur.
Anthony Bourdain once said about travel “The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness… ”. Travel, whether for leisure or as a corporate traveller will always be an emotive experience, a transformation of perspective- increasingly so as the world becomes smaller and more accessible through technology and unfortunately more brittle due to political and security tensions. Corporate entities focus more and more on duty of care and travellers wellbeing with comfort and logical routes rating more highly on decision making parameters.
With improved safety measures, unparalleled service levels, enhanced comfort and efficiency from technology, it is a good time to be a Business traveller and an even more exciting time to be a Business Travel and Managed Travel Solutions provider.