The Evolving Landscape of Corporate Travel Management
Investment in business travel creates opportunities for companies and startups to grow their customer base, tap into new markets, and generate incremental revenue. Enterprises further increase the ROI by streamlining corporate travel management.
While streamlining corporate travel management, many companies automate the process end-to-end by implementing a travel management system. At the same time, many enterprises run business travel programs efficiently using travel management companies.
However, the landscape of corporate travel management has been evolving consistently. Emerging business travel trends and new-age tech tools transform the cost-intensive business process. We can track the evolution of the travel management landscape based on some important trends and disruptive technologies.
Table of Contents
10 Factors Driving the Evolution of Corporate Travel Management Landscape
1. Diverse Travel Choices
Travel products booked by work travelers these days vary according to their demographic characteristics. While making business travel arrangements, older employees still book hotels that offer complimentary amenities.
However, millennial and Gen Z employees opt for unconventional accommodations like homestays to experience the local culture. Also, most employees book direct flights instead of connecting flights to avoid stress.
Enterprises ensure that each employee can book the desired flights, accommodations, car rentals, and other business travel products. They boost employees’ business travel experiences by enabling access to an extended travel inventory.
Like leisure travelers, work travelers love to compare and book travel products. But they have to complete business travel booking in a stipulated time frame. Companies create opportunities for employees to book their preferred travel products by supporting self-booking.
They implement a travel management system that enables employees to book business trips without visiting the websites of suppliers. Also, employees can cancel and reschedule bookings seamlessly using the same software.
Many enterprises these days boost employees’ booking experience by implementing a travel management system that makes personalized recommendations. The software uses AI technologies to recommend the right travel products to employees according to their travel choices and booking history.
3. T&E Policy Compliance
No enterprise can control business travel costs without making employees comply with preset travel and expense (T&E) policies. In addition to defining clear T&E policies, companies ensure that each employee can access the relevant rules and guidelines seamlessly.
Many enterprises these days ensure policy compliance by centralizing the business travel booking process. Also, they require employees to book business trips only after their business travel request is approved by the appropriate authority.
4. 24/7 Travel Support
Employees often travel to new destinations for business purposes. Also, many employees engage in business travel for the first time. Hence, each employee needs information to plan business trips, create business travel itineraries, and choose travel products.
Likewise, they need assistance to mitigate emerging travel risks. Enterprises provide both information and assistance to work travelers by ensuring round-the-clock travel support. However, companies provide 24/7 support to each work traveler by implementing travel management software or using travel management companies.
5. Duty of Care
While streamlining corporate travel management, each enterprise must meet an important legal and moral obligation by investing in duty of care resources. Companies ensure the safety and security of work travelers by meeting duty of care obligations in several ways.
Some companies arrange duty of care resources by partnering with global health and security risk management firms. At the same time, many companies implement travel management systems featuring robust duty-of-care solutions.
6. Negotiated Rates
No company can increase the ROI of business travel without helping employees book travel products at lower than market rates. Companies negotiate with leading travel suppliers to get corporate rates and discounts. However, many companies prefer getting negotiated rates without direct negotiations.
They enable employees to book travel products at off-market rates using a travel management company or implementing a travel management system. But each company explores ways to help employees save money on business travel booking.
7. Business Travel Analytics
Most enterprises these days gather employees’ travel and expense data regularly. Also, they store the data in a centralized location. Hence, it becomes easier for them to make sense of the data using travel analytics solutions.
Business travel analytics solutions share actionable insights by analyzing the large volumes of T&E data automatically. Decision-makers leverage these data-driven insights to find opportunities to improve business travel experience, control business travel costs, ensure policy compliance, and achieve sustainability.
8. Bleisure Travel
A surge is being noted in the number of enterprises supporting bleisure travel. They allow employees to engage in leisure activities while traveling for work. However, they define clear guidelines to ensure that no employee converts a business trip into a leisure trip.
Most companies allow employees to engage in leisure activities after completing professional responsibilities. Also, some companies allow employees to extend business trips for leisure purposes. However, each company clearly defines the reimbursable and non-reimbursable bleisure travel expenses.
Work travelers increase the world’s carbon emissions significantly by engaging in air travel and using conventional fuel vehicles. Enterprises focus extensively on making business travel sustainable by helping employees reduce their carbon footprint.
Many companies these days measure and track the carbon footprint created by individual work travelers. They update travel policies to achieve sustainability by encouraging employees to book direct flights and travel economy class.
Likewise, they encourage employees to stay in green hotels and opt for electric car rentals. However, enterprises adopt new best practices regularly to leverage business travel without increasing carbon footprints.
Automation creates opportunities for enterprises to streamline a complex process like corporate travel management while reducing costs. Many companies these days streamline the travel and expense management process fully by implementing an integrated travel management system.
At the same time, many enterprises still automate specific steps in the process by implementing corporate booking tools or expense management solutions. But companies these days prefer software that comes with robust features and leverage intelligence technologies.
The evolution of corporate travel management is driven primarily by trends and technologies. Enterprises adopt emerging trends to boost employees’ business travel experiences. Likewise, they leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline the complex process without escalating ongoing costs.
However, business travel trends change at frequent intervals. Also, the new-age travel management system boosts the process using Industry 4.0 technologies like AI and data analytics. Hence, emerging trends and next-generation technologies will continue to drive the evolution of business travel management in the future.