IncTravelGroup /

Corporate Travel

/ 22 Jan, 2019

What does 2019 hold for Business Travel?

Brexit is the word on everyone’s lips, regardless of what industry you work in. Sure, 29th March will certainly impact the Business Travel industry, but there are plenty of other topics set to make waves in 2019.

2018 saw the world record for the longest flight being broken, with Singapore Airlines unveiling a nonstop Singapore to New York Route, while Qatar launch the world’s first UK to Australia direct flight. With long haul flights becoming shorter, it’s no wonder our world is beginning to feel smaller and more accessible than ever.

For Business Travel, this can only be a good thing. As need for travel increases, it creates a demand for technology and innovations  – making 2019 an exciting place to be for the Travel Industry.

Here are our 7 predictions for Business Travel in 2019:

1) Increase In Business Travel

Corporate travellers In Departure Lounge

As trade relations grow, so does your need for travel, and that’s where a Travel Management Company really can add value to your business. Reducing your spend and saving your expert’s time, there’s never been a greater need to ensure you’ve got the right process in place when your need to travel becomes greater.

According to the GBTA BTI™ Annual Global Report & Forecast, corporate travel spending is predicted to advance 7.1% in 2019, growing to $1.7 trillion globally by 2022.

Internationally sourcing suppliers has become increasingly common and with global trade continuing to climb this decade it’s no wonder the need for business travel comes hand in hand.

2) Increase in Ticket Fares

As the rules of supply and demand go, with air travel continually on the rise combined with a rise in oil prices, it’s been heavily predicted that we could see an increase in airfares of around 2% globally.

In the latter parts of 2018 we saw low cost carriers Ryanair and Wizzair increase their baggage fees for passengers travelling with carry on luggage such as wheelie cases and holdalls – the most common type of luggage for business travellers.

January has already seen a 3.1% rise in rail fare, which translates to an annual season ticket form Manchester to Liverpool costing an additional £100 per year.

Which is why it’s more important than ever to ensure that your business is saving money on your travel spend where possible. Find out how a TMC can ensure you keep costs down here.

3) Brexit

With the backfire of Theresa May’s vote last week, it seems we’re further away than ever to getting clarity on what Brexit will mean for the UK and its travellers.

A joint survey by ABTA and Deloitte, highlights 68% of air tickets purchased for UK Business Travel are to EU countries, while 73% of travellers coming to the UK for business purposes are from the EU. “Tourism and travel trade between the UK and EU has been facilitated by the free movement of goods and services, investment and people across the EU,” the study concluded. “A No-Deal Brexit could jeopardise this free movement, and affect the flow of trade and travel.”

Without any real clarity around the nature of the Brexit outcome it’s difficult for businesses to plan for a solution and next steps. The best advice is to sit tight, wait for an outcome and plan accordingly. In the meantime, ensure that your travellers have at least 6 months left on their passport upon arrival at their destination.

4) The Impact of NDC

The Travel industry’s new favourite acronym, NDC, has already been added to the overflowing alphabet soup that is travel industry jargon. 2018 only offered us a brief insight into how NDC can revolutionise travel, but the real benefits are set to unfold this year.

New Distribution Capability is a behind the scenes technology model launched by IATA. Regardless of format, NDC can bridge shopping, booking, selling and exchanging messages between airlines, travel agent booking systems and customers.

So what does that mean for Travel Bookers and Buyers? In a nutshell: Increased personalisation and cheaper fares!

NDC means airlines can bundle their ancillaries (such as in-flight WiFi and seat selection) with ticket fares more easily and distribute it wider than ever before. Travel bookers have more choice about how to fly and what it costs. Travel buyers can rest assured that they can access these fares through their Travel Management Company (TMC), Online Booking Tools (OBTs) or through comparison sites and direct with the airline.

5) Rise of AI in Business Travel

Person using laptop and iPad

Artificial Intelligence has rapidly moved into Business Travel and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in 2019!

Voice to text filters for travellers on the move, particularly virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Google Now and Cortana have made the experience of Business Travel smoother than ever. Scheduling meetings and linking travel itineraries to calendars is now done automatically, helping Business Travellers to stay organised on the move.

Even back-end systems have benefited from automated insights with Management Information (MI) data being provided by TMCs to give clients a deeper understanding of where their travel spend goes and how they can save.

6) Evolution of Technology

As we enter the final year of whatever this decade is called, its impressive to note how much innovation has been crammed into such a relatively short space of time.

Consolidation API technology has already proven to revolutionise business travel. Travel policies, budget and approval systems can be built into a TMC’s Online Book Tool, meaning the options provided to travellers are already pre-set to the parameters of the companies budget thanks to clever API systems. Even invoicing gets easier with API Systems, by applying a client code when you book a trip, this is automatically assigned as a rechargeable cost or staff travel which saves finance departments the laborious admin task of allocating cost codes to individual clients.

When you consider automated expense systems, Google translate, the rise of Uber, GPS and offline maps and even self driving cars, 2019 looks like an exciting place for technology and travel.

Read more about our top tips on how Technology can make Business Travel easier here.

7) Growing Emphasis on Wellbeing in Travel Policies

Business traveller sat on his hotel bed on the phone

Frequent travellers are away from home a lot which means they’re away from their families and usual routines.

Whether it’s picking a hotel with a gym and wider breakfast selection to keep travellers in their usual routine, or buying hotel WiFi add-on so they can keep in touch with friends and family, we’re now seeing a growing trend of companies taking steps to consider how they can  help retain their travellers work/life balance whilst working away.

Travellers are likely to feel more tired while working away. Many travel policies now encourage booking a direct flight to limit the impact of longer hours and jet lag. Pre-booking taxis can also eliminate stress on a trip abroad and selecting a hotel closer to their destination can give them time to relax and prepare properly.

Your traveller will be grateful to the company for considering their wellbeing and is more likely to perform better if they are well rested and well connected.

Well, they are our top predictions for new trends in Business Travel! If you’d like to discuss how we can help you with end-to-end Travel Management in 2019 and beyond, contact us today.

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