3 Important Changes Happening to Business Travel in 2019
The world of business travel is changing faster than ever.
With so many different trends on the scene, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date. Knowing about these changes is necessary to understand how to make the most of your future business trips.
Let’s take a close look at three of the most important changes happening in the world of business travel. These are significant shifts that have been emerging over the past year and will make a major impact on business travel in 2019.
The main business travel hubs, such as New York, Paris, London and Sydney, continue to be popular destinations for corporate travel. There’s no doubt that these are global powerhouses. However, there has been a shift towards other destinations becoming more popular in recent years. We are seeing that business travelers are heading to even more diverse corners of the globe to attend meetings, conferences and more.
Business travel to regions in Latin America and Africa, for example, has been on the rise. Airbnb released a report recently detailing this business travel trend that’s only set to continue in 2019. Some of the fastest growing locations listed included cities in South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
According to Airbnb stats, destinations such as Mar Del Plata in Argentina, Gwangju, Korea and Aguascalientes, Mexico have been experiencing a 520-620% increase in bookings. Successful Meetings reported on the Top 10 Emerging MICE destinations in Europe for 2019, listing Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Israel and Turkey. San Marino is also at the top of the list, with 31.1% tourism growth, based on 2017 data.
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Demand for Self-Booking
We’ll see a continued increase in the demand for self-booking when it comes to business travel in 2019. Travelers want to have the freedom to book their own flights and hotel rooms based on their individual preferences.
According to data from Booking.com, 80% of customers preferred self-service.
This trend seems to be tied to the fact that the majority of business travelers are millennials. This generation likes to personalize their experiences and are accustomed to self-booking. It makes sense that they’ve come to expect this when traveling for work.
The rise of alternative accommodation options have also made it easier for corporate travelers to plan their trips. In order to adapt to this trend, businesses should be open-minded when booking trips. Business travelers need the freedom to choose flexible, alternative and personalized options. This will make them more satisfied with the experience, which ultimately improves morale.
Emerging AI technology is already making a huge impact on business travel. We’ve seen companies start to analyze big data in order to identify the habits and preferences of millions of business travelers around the world. They are using this data in many different creative ways. The ultimate goal? Making customers happier while increasing sales.
The trend towards AI in business travel is most likely connected to the demand for personalized self-booking. The future could potentially bring a proactive AI travel agent who will know your preferences to make these bookings even more streamlined.
The use of AI in the business travel industry is not new. Travel booking websites such as Airbnb have been using big data such as personal preferences and search history when presenting search results. As this technology improves, however, it could go even further into understanding these preferences. For example, what if Airbnb could show you search results based not only on your search terms, but also on your preferences of location, decor and features based on places you’ve chosen before and reviewed positively?
There are already many services and apps out there that are designed to make business travel easier. For example, one in three people say they have already used a virtual travel assistant to plan an upcoming trip.
Need Help Planning Your Business Travel in 2019?
While technology has made business travel booking easier, having an expert on your side is more valuable than ever. We can guide you, provide the best rates, and assist with any issues that arise on or before your trip. Talk to one of our expert agents today to learn more.
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4. Wellness Travel is More Popular Than Ever
Another interesting insight from the Incentive Travel Industry Index is the rise of popularity of wellness travel. When asked about which “inclusions” they featured in incentive travel programs, 86% of survey participants highlighted “wellness” experiences such as healthy meals, fitness classes and yoga sessions. There are even wellness retreats designed to offer these experiences in a full package for guests.
A well designed and implemented workplace wellness program can be highly effective. It can help your workplace reduce the cost of sick and absent employees. It can also help improve morale, reduce stress and increase motivation for your employees.
5. Boosting Employee Happiness Improves the Bottom Line
A recent study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. This productivity means that when your employees are happy, the company will perform better and make more money.
This may be one of the main reasons why companies are investing more and more into incentive travel. They are realizing that offering their employees unique and interesting travel experiences greatly improves their quality of life and overall happiness at work.
Looking to use incentive travel in your workplace?
Ask employees where they want to go and what they want to do when embarking on an incentive trip. According to research by BI Worldwide, 93% of salespeople who earn a travel incentive want to have control over the destination. 88% want to be able to choose the timeframe and duration of the trip and 87% want to choose the activity.
Their ability to choose the destination makes the experience more personal and memorable. Many companies are offering unique options for incentive travel such as cycling tours, wine tastings, guided culinary experiences and homestays with local families. Do you know what your staff would like most?
Of course, if you need help planning the perfect incentive travel program, Travelers Q is happy to be your guide. We have years of experience booking incentive trips and we can help you design the perfect experience for your high performing team members. Contact us today to learn more.