Global Mobility Managers Stand to Benefit from Business Travel Trends

Corporate travel has never been more emboldened as it is now by today’s consumer travel tools and technologies. More people are taking their commercial ambitions on a global scale, even challenging mindsets about how their wandering ways are tied to the combo of work and leisure.

Global mobility is almost synonymous now with corporate travel. It wasn’t too long ago when the operative word was expat. While still used, global mobility has also come to define those who are perennially on the move.

For younger generations especially, the opportunity to travel for work is a job prerequisite, according to a Skift report. Once hired, they want to travel as much as possible, both for personal empowerment and advancement, and in order to best support the company’s objectives. For them, travel is increasingly synonymous with personal and professional satisfaction.

But is there a middle ground for global mobility managers to give assignees the freedom they seek while adhering to necessary and important budgetary, compliance, insurance, and duty of care considerations?

The Skift report tries to predict 10 business travel trends that Skift and TripActions believe will continue to shape this new reality in 2019:

  1. Sharing economy knocks on C-suite

Executive-level corporate travel decision-makers and sharing economy companies like Airbnb and Lyft continue to professionalize their services, which are integrating them into existing corporate travel platforms.

  1. Small and medium-size companies get a seat at the table

Business Travel News in May 2018 reported that the growing prominence of small and mid-market companies is a beacon to travel suppliers “looking to build relationships with companies in this space as a way to support their own growth.”

  1. End-to-end experience a priority

A strategic priority for corporate travel managers heading into 2019 is simplification of travel. According to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) there is a need for  “improved traveler satisfaction, reduced cost, and time saved” for the traveler.

  1. ‘Bleisure’ will continue to grow

The surging trend of travelers mixing business and leisure trips will continue to grow in 2019, impacting decisions on everything from corporate travel policy to expense management and business travel product development.

The 2018 TripActions Report found that 90 percent of respondents see traveling as a job perk, and 80 percent “feel more excited about their job after traveling.”

  1. Corporate travel gets tech smart

Organizations are increasingly recognizing a need to redesign travel policies to allow their employees to be happier, healthier, and more productive on the road. Most people see traveling as a perk of their job, while 80 percent feel more excited about their job after traveling.

  1. Face-to-face meetings are critical

In a more connected world, one may think in-person meetings are no longer relevant. But a growing collection of employees from across various industries are recognizing the continued importance of face-to-face contact.

Michael Massari, Las Vegas-based chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment, was quoted as saying to Skift: “If it’s not that important, send an email. If it’s important but not mission-critical, pick up the phone. But if it’s mission-critical, go see somebody.”

  1. Travel to conjure innovative ideas

More companies are looking for new ways to not only boost employee productivity, but to use business trips to help inspire their employees’ creativity and help them come up with the next big innovative idea. Travel broadens the mind indeed.

  1. Handling complaints is important

The 2017 ACSI (American Consumer Satisfaction Index) Travel Report, which measures customer satisfaction benchmarks for major commercial airlines, hotel chains, and online travel agencies, found that “business traveler loyalty improves tremendously if complaints are handled perfectly.”

This is one example of how traveler definitions and measures of loyalty are changing, and how brands and travel organizations in turn must understand and adapt to these evolving expectations and standards.

  1. Finance people play a greater role

Figures released in a March 2017 Harvard Business Review article show that companies that put their people first are 4.2 times more profitable than companies that don’t.

Organizations “that invest most heavily in employees’ work environments also have 1.5 times more employee growth, pay their employees 1.5 times more, have twice the annual revenue, and four times the profit per employee.