Helping corporations be able to travel in comfort has obviously been your major goal since working in corporate travel management. Keeping up with trends, though, can sometimes become problematic if you don't have time to learn about all of them.
There isn't a doubt technology in travel keeps changing, something that's difficult to keep pace with each year. However, some trends in corporate travel aren't related to technology. Others relate to world situations or practical demands from travelers to make business travel more comfortable.
These elements are emerging as the most popular trends in corporate travel. Let's take a look at them more in depth to gain a picture of how your travel management system may operate in the next couple of years.
More Tools for Managing Travel Risks
According to some travel analysts, many corporate employees still have anxiety about traveling because of how volatile the world now is. With terrorism and unrest in many countries, it's understandable that corporate travelers would have some fear about what they'll encounter when on business trips.
Solutions to this problem include new management tools with the ability to scope out trouble spots around the globe. Many of these are mobile apps giving information on extreme weather or terror alerts. These allow you to put together a more accurate travel-risk assessment to give to your traveling clients.
Using these tools helps you put together a best practices list so the traveler better manages their trip to avoid endemic trouble spots.
Travel bots are becoming a big part of this trend. Artificial intelligence lets these apps integrate multiple travel risks in real-time, something not possible a few years ago.
More Millennial Corporate Travelers
A new generation of corporate travelers is now beginning their careers. Millennials are entering the corporate workforce, giving you traveling clients with a different frame of mind.
Many from this generation prefer booking travel based on their own personalized preferences. They also share a lot of their travel experiences on social media.
You may have to adjust your approach to their travel demands compared to previous generations who traveled in more traditional ways.
One interesting development is in AirBnB being more recognized in corporate travel. It's Millennials making this happen thanks to their openness to this service in booking trips through the app.
Don't ignore what Millennials want in the way of travel, because they'll be your dominant travel client by the coming decade.
The Use of Machine Learning
As an extension to artificial intelligence, machine learning is becoming an essential technology now in managing corporate travel. It benefits not only you as a corporate travel manager, but also your traveling clients.
Thanks to major advancements in machine learning over the last few years, you can use platforms making better predictions and choices for travel convenience. For instance, many programs using machine learning are able to automate a lot of administrative tasks taking too much of your time.
The best aspect of this technology is its ability to gather data on your clients and optimize the best possible travel experiences. As a result, it's likely to become a trusted digital assistant to your job in delivering the best possible travel offers and pricing.
In managing budgets, it's becoming a new standard since corporate travel is now a trillion-dollar industry. You need to better manage your budgets with machine learning to maintain your traveling clients as recurring customers.
More Attention to Cyber Security
We all know the online world is like a minefield lately, and it's no different in attempting to keep personal data safe as your clients travel.
It's why cybersecurity is now becoming one of the top trends in corporate travel management, likely into the coming decade. While this is going to mean using better encryption methods in keeping client data safe from hackers, it also means educating corporate travelers for their own safety.
With public WiFi being a major security threat, you'll want to find ways to ensure your clients keep their wits about them when traveling. One good thing to remind clients is to always use private networks when communicating private business information. No matter where they travel, it's usually possible to use a virtual private network.
Don't forget about giving them tips on backing up their business data so they'll still have what they need if their mobile devices become stolen.
Finding Ways to Cut Travel Costs
Cost-consciousness is a very big corporate travel trend now. While above-mentioned machine learning helps find affordable travel, you need to find ways to promote more cost-conscious travel to clients.
This tendency for corporations to cut costs on business travel stems from the post-2008 recession years. Back then, they spent more extravagantly, but things are different.
Now they don't want to take too many financial chances. As a result, you may want to help corporations pare down and not spend too much on expensive dinners or luxurious hotel suites.
More down-to-earth places to stay are going to become key. In some cases, this might even mean a Holiday Inn or a bed & breakfast. Still, your travelers want comfort. The above places still offer much of that without breaking the bank.
In other cases, this may also mean clients flying in coach rather than first class. The corporate pushback from spending too much is inevitable, though it's thankfully workable due to discount travel deals being common.
More Transparency in Travel Data
Analytics is a big part of corporate travel management this year. At play here is the desire of CFO's to gain more transparent access to travel data to help with financial costs.
As a corporate travel manager, you should provide easily accessible analytics to your clients to know what they've booked and what the costs are. Managing travel spend is more important than ever, especially with Brexit possibly affecting travel to Europe soon.