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What Business Travel Looks Like Now From Those Who Know It Best

May 8, 2023

© GBTA

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Pack your bags, traveling for business is making a comeback — and the role of the corporate travel manager is more important than ever.

Business travel has long been a key driver for growth, development and connection across companies, economies and professionals around the world. But the COVID-19 pandemic upended the travel industry, and corporate travel managers now find themselves at the heart of navigating what’s next — and best — for their companies and travelers.

A new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and cloud-based travel technology company, Spotnana, sheds light on how corporate travel managers tackle the new landscape amidst changing priorities and economic risks, while also trying to balance cost considerations with the employee traveler experience. This is no easy task in today’s environment and one compounded by the increasing demand of travelers, data analysis needs and the overall complexities of post-pandemic business travel.

GBTA

© GBTA

According to the report, U.S. corporate travel buyers surveyed expect most types of travel in their companies to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, led by domestic business travel (74 percent), external meetings (77 percent) and conference/group travel (76 percent). The report also highlights the majority of companies (64 percent) say they are unlikely to limit business travel.

Both travel managers (54 percent) and senior leadership (65 percent) prioritize cost savings, but travel managers rank traveler experience higher (51 percent) than executives (42 percent), making it challenging to obtain buy-in to focus beyond costs. The study also highlights the increased importance of addressing travel experience metrics, especially as business traveler preferences continue to evolve.

GBTA

© GBTA

When asked which tasks they dedicate more time to now compared to before the pandemic, travel managers most frequently cite traveler communications/answering questions (72 percent) and overseeing their travel management company relationship (59 percent). They also spend more time on data analysis (52 percent) and risk management/traveler tracking (42 percent). Few report they spend less time on key travel program components, demonstrating the growing complexity of managed travel programs.

Looking toward the future, travel managers identify the end-user/traveler experience, the ability to manage travel changes or cancelations, and innovation as areas for continued evolution.

For more insights and results from the report, visit here at GBTA.org.

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