Business travel has substantially increased over the past few decades, in 2016 worldwide $1.2 trillion was spent on business travel, to provide some perspective in 2010 expenditure of global business travel was only $800 billion, which shows a tremendous increase in the market. With this increase in the market, there have been many changes. Below, a few of the main trends that are going on in the industry will be discussed.
With climate change being a real problem nowadays, more and more countries are introducing new regulations. And with the automotive sector being a major contributor to the emissions, this industry has to change fast and is changing fast. 100% electric cars are already on the streets and growing in number as their driving range is extended.
The next innovative solution is hydrogen-powered vehicles. Several manufacturers are developing hydrogen cars. Toyota, for example, has launched the Mirai, which is powered by hydrogen, and its only emission is water!
The future cars are not only sustainable but also smart. Thanks to artificial intelligence autonomous cars are becoming a real player in the ground transportation market sooner than expected. Uber had already launched a fleet of self-driving cars in several cities in the US, but this was shut down after a fatal accident in Tempe with a car that was in the autonomous mode. Even though the project was shut down it proves how fast the market is changing and that the autonomous cars will most likely be driving around worldwide soon. Besides Uber also Lyft is testing self-driving cars in the US and Acacus Technologies has signed a deal and will bring the driverless technology to Dubai’s roads.
Ridesharing has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and in the US, ride sharing now represents approximately half of all corporate ground travel expenses, with most of this growth coming at the expense of regular taxi services. While the growth of ridesharing in the US appears to be slowing, worldwide there is still a steady increase.
More freedom and flexibility
The freedom to book your own flights and hotels will become more important, as more millennials are becoming business travellers. They prefer to make bookings themselves instead of going back and forth to the travel manager. Millennials like to extend their stay abroad and enjoy the different scenery for a bit longer. Which means that business trips often include some leisure time now as well and booking your flights and hotels yourself gives you a certain level of control. This, however, makes it more difficult for the company to keep a good overview of all the expenses and the travel managers will need to be more flexible when making bookings.
Another result from millennials occupying more and more positions within companies is that they expect more from technology.
Ideally travellers would be able to see all their options for airline, hotel and ground transport on one platform. Travelers nowadays want an automated and simplified booking process. With all the digital innovations going on they expect that their business trip can be planned and booked at the touch of a button. In reality, however, travellers need to go sometimes to different platforms to book all the services. But of course, airlines, hotels, and companies who offer ground transportation services are working together to offer their customers a complete service experience.
Further, there is a shift from computer to mobile users and business travellers expect all platforms to run smoothly on all devices. Mobile technology also enables business travellers to make or amend bookings while they are on the move.
Business travellers need clear and comprehensive Management Information for expenses and billing purposes. With employees booking their own business trips and so many different invoices to take into account, often there will be data lost in the financial overviews. Visibility on spend, trips, travellers, performance, pricing and total spend is essential. To be able to optimize budgets, companies will demand complete and clear overviews. Especially because travel expenses in most companies are increasing.