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Airplane flying through the sunset
Business travel ThePixelman via pixabay.com

The business world is continuously evolving, and so are the methods used for professional travel. The GBTA's Business Travel Index Outlook Report found that money spent on global business travel is expected to surpass the levels reached in 2019 and 2024. This is two years sooner than what previous reports had forecasted, which begs the question of why there has been such a significant rise in business travel in such a short time. Below, we will go through some of the main reasons why the demand for professional travel continues to increase in 2024 to new heights and discuss what the future of this type of travel may look like.

What Are the Main Benefits of Business Travel?

Business meeting
Business meeting RonaldCandonga via pixabay.com

Despite a survey from Accor's corporate clients finding a 24% decline in business travel expenses in 2024 when compared to 2019, it is projected that spending on business travel globally will rebound to levels reached five years ago, a survey from Deloitte finds. The data collected by Accor backs up this projection, with 57% of respondents to their survey predicting their company's travel budget to increase from the previous year. This means increased domestic and global travel for business meetings and the use of different travel methods, including private jet charter and other options such as taking advantage of high-speed railway networks.

In a world where technological advances mean that business meetings can be held between people from different parts of the globe, there may be a question as to why exactly business travel is necessary. However, the effectiveness of in-person business meetings is apparent. Research from Accor found that professionals in the business world estimate a 25% rise in revenue from face-to-face meetings compared to those conducted virtually. This makes the case for business travel solid as companies can expect a significant increase in the return on investment made for travel expenses, including air travel, accommodation, food and beverages, and other travel expenses such as ground transport.

Factors That May Impact Business Travel

Although multiple studies have been mentioned above that forecast a significant increase in business travel in the coming months and years, there are some factors to consider that may impact the growth of the business travel industry. One of these factors includes an increased focus on sustainability within companies. Organisations are becoming much more aware of the environmental impact, which may lead to businesses seeking alternative and more sustainable travel options. These include flying with airlines with carbon offset programs and booking accommodations focusing on sustainability.

Other factors include an increase in the option of technology that facilitates virtual meetings and a rise in the number of people working from home. However, these factors may play a minor role in slowing down the increase in business travel in 2024, as studies have already found a clear benefit to in-person meetings over virtual meetings despite the technological advances made in the past decade.

Blending Business and Leisure Travel

In this modern age of business travel, preferences have dramatically shifted, with many companies and organisations choosing an alternative type of travel that combines business trips with other leisure activities.

An example of this would be extending the business trip to include a long weekend getaway. This shift is greatly influenced by the younger generation entering the business world. The younger workforce is seeking more opportunities to take advantage of work-related travel, which combines business with pleasure and has reshaped the dynamics of corporate travel.

The type of travel has been given a new name, "Bleisure", which gives employees an incentive to go on these business trips with opportunities to visit new places and take advantage of free travel and accommodation paid for by the company or organisation they work for. By combining work with play, more and more employees are keen to partake in these business trips, which has contributed significantly to the rise of business travel.

Connectivity and Personalisation

Thanks to technological advancements, booking flights and accommodation has never been more accessible with applications that allow you to plan a trip in minutes using just your mobile phone. This assisted in reducing the stress of business travel significantly and has made it more of an attractive solution for domestic and global meetings. Employees of companies no longer feel like it is as big of a sacrifice to go away on short trips as they can contact their friends and loved ones quickly using their phones from different parts of the world. Connectivity has been essential in shifting business travel from a sacrifice of personal time to a more attractive opportunity to experience and see new things worldwide.

The Future of Business Travel

Conference room
Conference room patricksommer via pixabay.com

It is clear that business travel will continue to rise through 2024 and, most likely, in the coming years. As the next generation joins the workforce, more people will seek to engage in business travel. Thanks to technological advancements, it feels like a more manageable investment of time to partake in this business activity.