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Travel is a crucial part of any business. Despite remote working is a trend across the globe post-COVID, face-to-face interactions still hold much importance. However, the entry of a new virus recently – Omicron – has again thrown a wedge at many business travel plans. There has been a tighter COVID-19 testing window, especially for international travel. It has again prompted the importance of risk management and changes in business travel trends.
As we enter 2022, we share with you the direction in which the travel industry is moving in. We have also included what you need to focus on to make business travel safe & better for employees and economical for your company.
Our experts have collated a few corporate travel trends which may be helpful for travel managers and business travelers in the coming future:
The role of technology cannot be understated in the travel industry. From digital vaccination passports to real-time notifications about travel destinations, technology will play an important role in keeping the employees informed and providing guidance to travel managers for travel assessment.
As employees resume business travel, providing an easy-to-use travel booking tool that helps in providing clear-cut travel guidelines and updates will help travelers throughout their journey will be essential. As many as 57% of travelers wish for an all-inclusive travel planning app. Therefore, make sure the travel management software you choose also has an app. Your employees should be able to manage trips no matter where they are. Here is a checklist on how to choose the best travel management software for your business.
Additionally, many airports/airlines have also started adopting contactless technology for online check-in and onboarding. Furthermore, there are many apps that allow you to order food or services while you are traveling. All these solutions provide peace of mind to the traveler.
We will also see a rise in AR/VR technologies where people will be able to take a virtual tour of their hotels, aircraft cabins, etc. This will help travelers know about their destination thoroughly and be more confident while traveling.
The safety and well-being of employees will continue to be one of the top priorities in 2022 too. In addition to travel guidelines, employees will now be seeking other things such as safe accommodations, travel insurance, and other facilities under your duty of care program. For instance, companies should provide proactive 24*7 support with a combination of digital and human-powered communication.
Apart from this, the travel managers will have to do proper risk management and see if the travel is essential, assess if the employee is fit to travel for her age, evaluate risks & business ROI for each trip, and do robust scenario planning. Apart from this, they will need to give employees the autonomy of managing their business trips themselves.
Additionally, companies should also highlight their safety initiatives in their T&E policy. It not only makes the employees confident of traveling but also delights them. For instance, you should highlight if you are giving them options to choose from a broad travel inventory.
As per reports, new countries are taking bigger shares of the market in business travel spending. More corporate travelers are flying to India and Indonesia, with these countries showing 11.3% and 8.7% in market growth, respectively. China, however, will continue to dominate the business travel market, with a projected annual business travel spend of $129 billion by 2022. Therefore, you could find your employees traveling to these countries instead of the US and Europe.
With people becoming more aware of the climate crisis, they keep a keen eye on the company’s sustainability initiatives. For instance, 71% of travelers wish to lower their carbon footprint. Also, nearly 70% of travelers expect the industry to offer more eco-friendly travel options. Therefore, travel managers must look at reducing the carbon footprint and offer more eco-friendly travel options to the employees. Travel trends involving low-carbon travel will continue to evolve in 2022 as well.
No doubt employees see business travel as a perk. But as travel re-opens, apart from just traveling for business, employees may want to travel to the destination of their choice and work remotely i.e. be on a “workcation”. Being indoors was the only option in the pre-vaccinated days, therefore, it could be that your employees want to travel just for “a change of pace/scenery” right now.
Companies that support blending business with leisure travel will have a competitive advantage. You should have flexible travel policies that let your employees choose where they want to work from – something like a “work from anywhere” policy so that they feel comfortable.
When employees are in the office, you support them with secure infrastructure that keeps them (their data) and the company safe. But when employees travel, the support network is absent. It gets easy for cyber attackers to hack people who are traveling using an open wifi network or a hotspot. Cyber attackers can sell anything they obtain – your employees’ personal details, client data, company information, etc.
Therefore, as business travel resumes, companies should give training to employees about the new risks and threats and how to keep themselves safe from a cyber attack. A few tips could be to back up their data, not share their travel plans on social media, install anti-virus software on all the devices, not leave your laptop in the hotel room, not perform any financial transactions over public wifi, and more.
After almost two years of uncertainty, we are still not 100% sure what the future of business travel looks like but we can definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel. Risk management, sustainability, and, and tech-travel will continue to be the trends in 2022 and maybe beyond. Business travel will return with the hybrid working model gaining popularity amongst the working professionals.
If you are interested in integrating a technology partner that can future-proof travel programs for your employees, then your search ends here. ITILITE is an integrated travel and expense management solution that can help you provide a seamless travel experience to your employees while controlling costs. To know more, get in touch with our product expert today!