According to a survey conducted by Morgan Stanley, business travel is rising to pre-Covid levels. It’ll surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024. GBTA’s Business Travel Index Outlook report forecasts travel spending to reach $1.4 trillion in 2024 and nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027.

Let’s look at business travel predictions and their impact on the economy.

What Impacts Business Travel Trends?

  1. Economic Implications: The resurgence of business travel has significant economic implications, influencing industries such as hospitality, transportation, and events. Increased travel translates to higher demand for hotels, airlines, and venues, fostering economic growth in these sectors.

    The pandemic significantly impacted company revenues as travel budgets dwindled. With restrictions and safety concerns limiting business travel, companies redirected funds to remote work infrastructure, technology upgrades, and digital communication tools. The resulting reduction in travel expenses contributed to financial challenges for industries heavily reliant on corporate travel, affecting sectors like hospitality, airlines, and event management.
  2. Sustainability Initiatives: The focus on sustainability in business travel has broader implications for corporate social responsibility.

    Corporate giants like Microsoft commit to carbon-neutral operations, influencing their business travel practices. By encouraging employees to choose sustainable options, such as eco-friendly accommodations and carbon offset flights, companies contribute to global sustainability goals.
  3. Global Market Expansion: The growth of business travel into emerging markets, particularly in Asia and Africa, has implications for global market expansion. Companies seeking opportunities in these regions must adapt their strategies, creating new avenues for collaboration and economic development.

    Recognizing the growth potential in emerging markets, multinational corporations strategically plan business trips to countries like India and Indonesia. This facilitates market entry, fosters partnerships with local businesses, and contributes to the development of these economies.
  4. Employee Well-Being and Productivity: The prioritization of wellness in business travel directly impacts employee well-being and productivity. Companies recognize the importance of mental health, safety protocols, and enjoyable travel experiences.

Top 5 Business Travel Projections 2024

  1. The Resurgence of Business Travel: Business travel predictions indicate a return to pre-pandemic business travel levels, with spending expected to reach $1.4 trillion in 2024, driven by a revival of face-to-face meetings and international business travel.

    Major global corporations, such as IBM and Microsoft, are allocating increased budgets for business travel in 2024. Investments in international events and conferences underscore the renewed emphasis on in-person interactions.
  2. Bleisure Travel on the Rise: A growing trend among modern business travelers involves combining work trips with leisure activities. The appeal of “bleisure” travel is particularly driven by a younger workforce seeking to maximize their time away. This is one of the most exciting business travel predictions.

    Silicon Valley tech firms like Google and Facebook lead the charge in promoting bleisure travel. These companies allow employees to extend business trips for leisure and offer curated experiences, recognizing the importance of employee satisfaction and work-life balance.
  3. Focus on Sustainability: Increasing awareness of environmental impact prompts a shift towards sustainable travel options, encompassing eco-friendly accommodations, transportation, and paperless travel.

    Marriott International’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its “Serve 360” program, which emphasizes eco-friendly practices. The hotel chain incorporates green building initiatives, waste reduction strategies, and partnerships with sustainable suppliers, reflecting the industry’s shift towards environmentally conscious practices.
  4. Technology Integration: According to business travel projections for 2024, technology is set to play a pivotal role, from venue-sourcing platforms to virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) for site visits. Corporate travel management platforms, AI, and machine learning will optimize logistics, enhance traveler experiences, and provide data-driven insights.

    Cvent’s virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) integration in venue sourcing exemplifies the technological evolution in business travel. Planners can virtually explore event spaces, enhancing decision-making without physical site visits. Corporate travel management platforms like SAP Concur leverage AI to streamline booking processes and provide actionable insights.
  5. Expansion into Emerging Markets: Anticipated growth in Asian and African markets will be a significant trend, with the global business travel market projected to reach $2,997.2 billion by 2030.

    Multinational companies like Apple and Samsung are strategically expanding their business travel into emerging markets in Asia and Africa. The focus is not only on participating in local events but also on establishing partnerships and exploring growth opportunities in these dynamic regions.
  6. Demand for Connectivity and Personalization: Travelers increasingly seek personalized, tech-enabled experiences, focusing on seamless digital solutions from booking to on-property amenities.

    Hilton’s adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology allows guests to customize their in-room experience using connected devices. This emphasis on personalization aligns with the broader trend of providing seamless, tech-enabled solutions to enhance the overall travel experience.
  7. Evolution of Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs are expected to shift from traditional points-based perks to offering enriching experiences and meaningful rewards contributing to a memorable journey.

    Airlines like Delta and hotel chains like Marriott are revamping their travel reward programs to offer experiential rewards. This includes exclusive access to events, cultural experiences, and collaborations with local businesses, providing unique and memorable incentives beyond traditional points systems.
  8. Purposeful and ROI-Focused Trips: Business travel projections in 2024 prioritize clear return on investment (ROI) and return on expectation (ROE). Each trip will undergo careful evaluation, with a shift towards purposeful and outcome-driven travel.

    Consulting firms like McKinsey are adopting a more strategic approach to business travel, aligning each trip with clear ROI goals. This involves evaluating the direct impact on business outcomes, such as client acquisitions, contract closures, or project advancements.

Navigate Business Trips Seamlessly with ITILITE

Business travel projections for 2024 point towards more travel and better well-being of employees. You need to travel sustainably and strike a balance between expenditure and ROI. Companies are focusing on improved technology to make travel easy. 

If you’re one of them, you must’ve heard of ITILITE. It’s a corporate travel and expense management platform that helps you book travel fast at negotiated prices. 

If you plan to travel in 2024, hit us up. Take a free demo.