Doing business is more complicated in the 21st century. New technologies are disrupting the way we communicate. International markets are more accessible. And the business travel landscape is changing, too.
As a travel manager, you can most likely tick off a number of ways your work has changed in just the past few years. In fact, there are so many changes that they can be hard to keep up with and respond to.
To help make sense of the changing business travel landscape, we’ve organized changes into 3 broader categories. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent changes in business travel and the categories they fall into.
Change No. 1: Greater Flexibility
One of the biggest disruptors in business travel is the entry of millennials into the workforce. We recently wrote about millennials in the workforce and their opinions on business travel. But there’s one over-arching change that millennials will bring to business travel as they become a larger portion of traveling employees: greater flexibility.
Millennials want to get the job done when traveling for work, but they also appreciate the flexibility to get the job done on their terms. In some cases, that might mean extending a business trip for a few days of leisure over a weekend — “bleisure,” as it’s known.
Millennials are also finding greater flexibility through mobile applications. They are using apps to order cups of coffee (so they don’t wait in line at Starbucks), and also to book travel, get their boarding passes, check into hotels, get directions and much more. The millennial generation’s desire for greater flexibility also means they are much more likely to adopt your company’s new travel technology — which brings us to the second big change to the business travel landscape.
Change No. 2: Enhanced Technology
Getting a seasoned traveler to use an online booking platform or an expense automation system can be difficult. After all, seasoned travelers have settled into their ways, and they don’t always receive new technology with open arms.
But any company is always pursuing 2 major objectives with its business travel. First, it wants to maximize savings on money and time. Saving on money and time is the easiest way to ramp up the return on investment in business travel. And, second, it wants to ensure the well-being of its traveling team members.
Here’s where technology fits in: It can help businesses achieve both objectives. New booking platforms, expense automation systems, smartphone apps and other travel technologies can make the travel experience less expensive, less stressful and more efficient.
Less expensive is good for the company. Less stressful is good for travelers. And more efficient is great for everyone. The task for you as a travel manager is then two-fold: 1) identifying and securing the right technologies for your business, and 2) pushing for company-wide adoption of those technologies. The first task is up to you and your company’s leadership. But the second will lean heavily on having the right travel policy — which brings us to the third big change to the travel landscape.
Change No. 3: Better Travel Policies
It’s said that traveling for business is simply an extension of the workplace. Companies today are investing time, energy and resources into creating the right workplace culture. A comprehensive and effective travel policy is how companies can extend that culture to employees working from the office.
Companies today are investing time, energy and resources into creating the right workplace culture.
Why is creating a better travel policy so important? Because there are 3 main consequences of having the wrong one:
- The wrong travel policy will engender ill will by traveling team members toward the company.
- The wrong travel policy will lead to frustration, exhaustion and a lack of motivation among traveling team members.
- The wrong travel policy will fail to align with the corporate culture that is present in your traditional workplace.
We recently wrote about creating a modern travel policy that works for your business. Focus first on getting the right people involved in creating a policy, then identify your company’s policy priorities.
Your Guide in an Ever-Changing Business Travel Landscape
As the business travel landscape shifts and evolves, make sure you have the right support for your work and your company. At JTB Business Travel, we are a comprehensive corporate travel agency that helps businesses identify the right technologies, create the right policies and make the right decisions. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today about our common sense approach to business travel.