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Top business travel trends for 2018

2017 revolutionised the corporate travel industry—and last year’s trends are set to continue this year. My Business explores the latest business travel trends to watch out for in 2018.

Globalisation has led to changes in several industries around the world—the corporate travel industry being no exception. Certain technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are expected to play a huge part in the future of business travel services.

Below are some global business travel trends to take note of:

  • AI and smart technology
  • “Bleisure” and the sharing economy
  • Board and lodging setbacks

AI and smart technology

The rise of artificial intelligence has led to the development of several technologies and applications which proved to be useful for the business travel industry. It is believed that in 2018, AI will show no signs of slowing down and could include systems for business travel options.

Business travel bookings might soon be solely done via smartphone apps similar to the leisure travel industry. This can be particularly beneficial for the corporate travel industry since arrangements are more complicated.

Business travellers are also encouraged to be constantly on the lookout for online tools which might help them lessen corporate travel costs.

Another technological development to watch out for in 2018 are new “smart luggage”, which are basically GPS-enabled travel bags incorporated with internal chargers for smartphone devices, remote locking technology, and sensor systems that can be synced with airlines.

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Businesses are also investing in AI-powered emergency messaging tools which enables businesses to identify their employees’ locations and confirm their safety. 

Australia has also removed passenger cards as the country aims to go paperless and simply go online for travel documentation purposes.

“Bleisure” and the sharing economy

Another travel trend to watch out for is the continuing development of the ‘sharing’ economy, from ride-hailing apps like Uber to the extension of AirBnB to corporate travel policies.

Although Uber encountered significant pitfalls last year due to controversies, the ride-sharing app was able to bounce back and has still managed to gain significant profit in the past year. Business travellers are now opting to avail of Uber’s services, especially since business travelling involves going to foreign cities.

Bleisure—a term used to describe business travels mixed with leisure—among business travellers has also seen a surge during the past year after the number of business trips which extend towards leisure has seen an annual increase.

As the line between business and leisure become more blurry every year, home-sharing services such as AirBnB are seeing more and more business travellers who are looking to extend their business trips into vacations which allow them to experience foreign cultures and experiences while working at the same time.

In addition, AirBnB bookings have shown a significant increase since 2014, with its volume doubling each year—creating more opportunities for business owners.

Board and lodging setbacks

While the corporate travel industry has seen a lot of development in terms of technology and shared economy services, the industry’s problems with regards to hotel rate availability are expected to continue in 2018.

Business travellers are continuously finding it hard to book rooms in hotels at reasonable prices although hotel chains are constantly developing their yield management methods. This is partly the reason why more and more travel managers are opting for home-sharing technologies, such as AirBnB, since it allows for comfortable stays minus the hefty costs.

Companies are also integrating travel policies which allows businesses to better track its employees and respond promptly in case of emergencies. 

Remote employee check-in systems are becoming a trend among companies, allowing businesses to track the working hours of travelling employees and make sure that tasks are accomplished wherever these employees may be in the world.

Business owners must be able to take note of these business travel trends and forecasts in 2018, especially if they are looking into travelling in the next few years. A lot of these business travel trends could develop further every year and business owners must always be updated with these trends to give their business a competitive edge to maintain a solid advantage.

Top business travel trends for 2018
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