THE MODERN BUSINESS TRAVELER lives in a world of opportunity. With travel trends growing alongside evolving technologies, anything is possible. However, while brands have made strides to meet even the slightest business travel needs and business trips are more customizable than ever, the root of the matter remains the same. Business travel is all about — and relies on — its human aspect.
After all, 42 percent of corporate travelers head out on the road with the main goal of developing and maintaining client and customer relationships. The statistic comes from the latest white paper from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, which also points toward a greater trend in business travel of focusing on the needs of the actual traveler rather than just the client, using the resources available to turn a once-stressful form of travel into an enjoyable experience. Planning or overseeing your business travel, then, is not merely about getting in front of the client; it’s about making every step of the way as productive as possible, either on a business or a personal level.
Perhaps the industry can thank millennials for the inclusion of the traveler within the human aspect of business travel. According to one survey from MMGY Global, millennials took an average 7.7 business trips in the past year and expect to increase business travel by 11 percent in the coming year. Pushing the envelope further, more than half say an increase of 11 percent is not enough. They want even more travel, noting it has a highly desirable, positive impact on their job satisfaction.
Regardless of age, however, managing one’s own business travel comes with a special set of challenges which those working with a corporate travel manager don’t always encounter. From booking hotels and flights to following a corporate budget and reporting costs efficiently, preparing for the actual travel is only half the journey. Upon reaching the destination, one needs to think about ground transportation, client dinner reservations and emergency services, from travel insurance to evacuation. Beyond the hurdles, though, managing your own travel can also result in a high level of freedom most find beneficial, whether in terms of extending business travel into leisure trips or simply enjoying favorite airlines and hotel chains.
Emerging travel technology certainly makes this management easier, allowing easy booking on travel apps, mobile payments, paperless expense reports and more. Business travelers consistently choose brands which offer the best and newest technology, whether it be a hotel with free, fast WiFi and voice-activated room features (like those now offered at select Aloft locations) or those which allow guests to bypass the front desk by checking in on a mobile device before using that same device as a room key. If it makes the process easier, it attracts this crowd of intrepid globetrotters.
The newest travel technology specifically created for business travelers varies. A recent Global Business Travel Association Foundation study finds a huge increase in the use of any sort of self-service technology to manage business travel, with almost 80 percent of U.S. business travelers indicating a high interest. The more personalized the self-service technology the better, with many passengers even willing to offer up some of their personal information to vendors if it means a travel experience tailored to fit their needs. When it comes to apps, they’re most interested in travel tools that allow them to manage flight details, both booking and boarding passes; it’s no wonder that when given a choice, most business travelers would rather manage their air travel themselves than any other part of their trip (MMGY Global). Apps created to allow mobile payments also rank high on the list.
One segment of the industry in particular melds this desire for personalization and technology into the perfect offering for business travelers managing their own itineraries. The sharing economy, both in transportation and accommodations, is growing at an increasing rate, with the majority of business travelers preferring Uber or Lyft to a taxi service or car rental. According to an American Express Global Business Travel report, the growth in Uber and Lyft usage by business travelers may correlate to a decrease in using premium black cars and traditional car hires by those same travelers.
Airbnb data compiled by Concur from the first part of last year shows a particular increase in usage from business travelers in the technology and academia industries, which is no surprise given tech startups’ affinity for the sharing economy. Business travelers were also most likely to use Airbnb over a traditional hotel when staying in San Francisco — again, no surprise in the tech hub — and London.
However, all this technology and added tools for business travel and the management thereof, while vitally important, aren’t the only solutions for creating a more pleasurable, humanized business travel experience. More business travelers are looking for ways to not only combine business and leisure but also to bring along family members or loved ones as they attempt to manage business travel and their personal lives at the same time. Surprisingly, while millennial business travelers are much more likely to increase the number of business trips taken, they’re also the group most likely to see business travel as a hindrance to their family lives.
Thankfully for many, bleisure travel with or without loved ones is becoming more and more of a possibility. In fact, Concur suggests it may be one of the reasons Airbnb usage spiked. Taking a business trip out of the hotel setting can make it easier for corporate travelers to transition from work to play as they explore more residential, scenic neighborhoods away from financial districts and other places they may spend their work days.
Brands are certainly running with the trend, especially those that feel the need to compete with the sharing economy. Hotwire.com took the term and created its own — the “workventure,” which it applies to those American business travelers polled who are more “savvy, adventurous and spontaneous” than those who fail to “take full advantage of work travel.” According to one J.D. Power report, rental car companies see bleisure travelers as untapped opportunities.
Regardless of personal preferences and favorite travel providers, business travel is undergoing a mammoth change that tosses aside an outdated mode of travel — a one-size-fits-all business trip itinerary offering the same options, same brands and same problems time after time — in lieu of a unique and customized experience flexible enough to provide profits. Beyond corporate revenue, however, the new manner of business travel offers much more. New trends solve longstanding problems in the world of corporate travel by making the journey more satisfactory, through experiences such as bleisure travel, while also more convenient, through the ever-growing range of hotel, airline and independent apps. These changes and more are drawing in a new crowd of millennial travelers who both thrive on and drive the current trends. It all comes down to one rewarding actuality: Managing your business travel has never been so easy, rewarding or at your fingertips.
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla is opening its acclaimed doors Oct. 22 to celebrate its fifth and most exciting season. The resort will introduce new programming including culinary, fitness and music.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Seabourn recently announced the name of its second new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship: Seabourn Pursuit. The name reflects the passion of expedition travelers to seek out and explore natural wonders and destinations through activities around the globe.
Though the Chicago area has been my home for decades, the view from the Water Tower Suite on the 26th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago made me gasp. I had admired Chicago’s dramatic skyline many times, but never from this angle. Through expansive windows, the skyscrapers of 900 N. Michigan Ave. and the John Hancock Center, now named 875 North Michigan Avenue, rose to my right. Far below, the landmark Chicago Water Tower nestled in a ring of trees. One of the few survivors of the Great Chicago Fire, a turning point in the city’s history being remembered on its 150th anniversary in 2021, the Gothic Revival relic resembled a fairy-tale castle in a children’s playset.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
President Biden signed H.R. 2278, bipartisan legislation to designate a September 11th National Memorial Trail. The trail route will link the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York; the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In April 2021, I was skimming Facebook when an ad for a blind-folded dining experience popped up on my newsfeed. The event was hosted through a company called Fever that offers fun, interactive events in major cities and virtually for people to enjoy. Intrigued, I clicked the link to learn more. The description made the event sound exciting and mysterious. When I give someone a present for their birthday, the holidays or a wedding, I like to give the gift of an experience that the recipient can learn something from. My boyfriend’s 30th birthday was in June, when the event was to be hosted, so I thought this would be a great surprise for him.
History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Austin, Texas, with us.