2023 Trends in Corporate Travel
Corporate travel refers to an employee traveling to a destination to perform business activities such as attending meetings, events, conferences, and other actions on behalf of their employing company, excluding their regular commute to work from their residence.
Regardless of the frequency of such trips, it usually falls under the company’s corporate travel policy to facilitate and bear the cost of the unavoidable expenses arising for the traveler during such trips.
With recent statistics suggesting that the annual corporate spending on global business travel is projected to reach US$1168 trillion by 2023, the need to analyze the latest trends that could be significant contributors to this surge is evident.
Considering that it is a critical aspect of conducting business as it allows companies to expand their reach, build relationships, boost communications, and generate growth & profitability on a much larger geographical scale, we believe it’s essential to compile the leading trends of 2023 that businesses should monitor.
The invaluable insights you can derive from these trends could streamline how you plan, implement, and manage business travel in 2023.
The state of business travel so far
While corporate travel in 2022 continued to lag behind pre-pandemic levels, a survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association has projected a return to normalcy in 2023. Albeit a new normal combined with the emergence of new travel requirements, conditions, and preferences, the likes of which businesses have never witnessed before.
Interestingly, research conducted by the global financial services firm Morgan Stanley has reported that experts believe corporate travel budgets could increase between six and ten percent higher in 2023 than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
To prepare businesses for the new normal, we decided to study some prominent business travel trends of the new year.
Emerging Corporate Travel Trends of 2023
Here are the significant upcoming and emerging trends of 2023 that every SME should look out for, especially if they frequently engage in corporate travel:
1. Corporate travel policies will be more flexible
Hybrid work, a primary byproduct of the new normal, is growing popular, with an increasing number of businesses reducing their dependency on their employees being physically present in the workplace.
In many cases, the increased cost savings afforded by hybrid work is causing firms to reexamine their travel budgets and policies to facilitate more streamlined and customized corporate travel. This may involve reallocating budgets once required to facilitate a non-remote work environment five days a week toward favoring more lucrative opportunities such as increasing travel budgets, frequency, and scope of business trips.
Remember, your corporate travel policy should not be a tiresome and complex document that forcefully endeavors to attain compliance. Instead, it should have a granular focus on the essential aspects of corporate travel to help you devise flexible travel policies with minimal compliance issues.
Tripeur’s T&E management platform helps achieve this by logging all business travel expenditures in real-time while actively providing travelers enhanced T&E visibility on what expenses they are entitled to and their limitations. Tripeur’s platform aims to help businesses overcome compliance issues by providing managers with the functionality of delivering convenient on-the-go approvals accompanied by automated expense reports.
These reports enable the finance department to considerably increase the precision and punctuality of reconciliations and reimbursements. Through our system and its mobile functionality, management can instantly identify and mitigate any non-compliance in real time and enforce preventive measures to prevent future occurrences.
2. Tech will boost corporate travel
While every traveler has their own express goals to accomplish during their trips, outdated travel management systems hinder their ability to achieve them. Observably, a significant factor hindering business trip productivity is the complicated, tedious, and mundane tasks that outdated systems demand travelers to perform daily.
Redundant practices such as manual receipt collection and submission, placing added stress on the traveler, are one example of the flaws in traditional travel management systems that divert the employee’s focus from accomplishing business goals.
Modern-day innovation in corporate ERP systems centers on eliminating redundancies to improve the travel experience for all traveling and non-traveling stakeholders. Digital expense management systems allow employees to scan, record, and submit expense receipts in real-time. Automated expense reports are regularly sent to the finance department, increasing overall expense transparency and making trip management seamless.
Another instance of how technology is leading the way to better corporate travel is mobile functionality, where traveling employees and their employers can instantaneously submit and acquire approvals for all travel aspects in real time without the need for tedious email communications.
Imagine the sudden yet mandatory requirement for a business expense that turns up during the travel; modern innovative corporate management solutions ensure that the traveler can instantly inform all relevant stakeholders on the impending cost along with its reasoning for rapid decision making that does not hinder trip productivity.
These reasons are why innovation in T&E management is poised to continue trending through 2023 and is conceivably more of a mandatory requirement rather than just a convenience for businesses to achieve the most lucrative and feasible business trips.
3. Bleisure – Mixing business with leisure
Combining business trips with leisure is likely to continue its emergence in 2023 as a primary reason for the younger generation of business travelers’ desire to go on business trips. Bleisure trips allow employees to gauge the business trip as an opportune moment to further business accomplishments while participating in leisurely activities.
Although, it is essential for businesses that support bleisure to have adequate T&E management software that enables employees to increase trip productivity, achieve their goals, and then extend their trips for private recreation without any business ramifications.
4. Smaller companies will lead corporate travel demand
In 2023, the average annual corporate travel expenditure for SMEs in the United Arab Emirates alone is expected to grow by 15-20 percent. Additionally, the ongoing increase in SME employee travel to and from business hotspots such as India, GCC, the UK, the USA, and the EU will significantly impact global corporate travel expenditure.
An automated corporate travel management platform will allow businesses to manage these costs by enabling companies to achieve the best deals with airline and accommodation vendors to guarantee that employees avoid inflated travel costs.
5. Room rates and airfares will increase
Increasing energy costs and overheads continue to affect the global hotel industry, with no visible improvement in recent years. These significant impactors on hotel prices force the hospitality industry to increase costs to remain feasible through challenging economic conditions.
These circumstances are why experts are predicting soaring accommodation rates in 2023, which may heavily impact the feasibility of corporate travel. Adding fuel to the fire, Forbes reported that airfare is expected to increase significantly in 2023 due to the global rise in labor shortages, inflation, and fuel costs showing just how crucial it is to optimize how you manage your corporate travel.
While prices may increase, there are no indications of bookings slowing down or a dip in corporate travel demand in 2023.
The right T&E platform can guarantee that you still pay the cheapest possible rates through a user-friendly UI and virtual assistants that condense the available options to a handful of company-approved vendors offering the best flexible deals possible.
Through these systems, even unexpected travel obligations can be feasibly met. Businesses engaging in traditional travel management systems may be unable to counter the price surge.
This inability is due to the significant issues and redundancies in their processes that hinder their chances of attaining the cheapest rates.
6. Sustainable travel
While the global shift to sustainable travel is increasing across industries, it continues to be a rising trend in 2023. To successfully adapt to this trend, businesses must seize control of their T&E management and ensure that travelers select sustainable options for all travel bookings.
A T&E platform enables businesses to devise and enforce sustainable travel policies that require travelers to boost sustainability by engaging in means such as carpooling and public transportation when possible to reduce wasteful carbon emissions.
Such platforms also help drive sustainability by providing businesses with a granular view of travel expenditures in real-time, enabling them to maintain that traveler expenditures comply with the corporate sustainability requirements.
8. Self-booking is becoming the norm
An increasingly large demographic of travelers prefers to bypass third-party companies and agents to make travel-related bookings directly with the operators. This trend stems from the convenience, safety, and savings a traveler gets from making direct bookings.
For instance, when a traveler wishes to secure a flight ticket or accommodation, direct bookings allow them to conveniently select a desirable option from their mobile phone, provide their sensitive payment information to just the operator, and finalize the booking without paying third-party commissions.
Additional benefits driving this trend are the lucrative deals that businesses offer customers who directly purchase from them, such as loyalty points, upgrade options, discounts, and other perks. Organizations that provide more control to their employees to make travel bookings governed by proper policy controls are more likely to benefit from this trend.
Enabling business travelers to make self-bookings based on their preferences as long as it complies with the corporate travel policy is a mutually advantageous scenario for the business and the traveler.
9. Unconventional accommodations are the norm
Accompanied by the projected increase in accommodation rates in 2023, there is also a rise in the desirability of staying in unconventional lodgings for business travelers.
This desire marks the rise of a new generation of corporate travelers who prefers the leisure and ambiance of homely unconventional options away from the city center, as opposed to the proximity and convenience of staying in a traditional hotel chain within the central business district.
This trend suggests that unconventional options such as Airbnb, boutique hotels, homestays, and apartments will be much more favorable for travelers than traditional hotels. These stay options are often cheaper than the rates of hotels, could increase employee morale, and cut business travel costs.
What do these trends mean for your business?
Let these trends be the actionable insights you need to streamline your corporate travel and expense management moving into 2023. With the right proactive T&E strategies in place, you can optimize your expenses to counteract any problems that may arise due to these impactful trends.
By planning and adapting the right technology, businesses can significantly turn their corporate travel into a much lesser cost center than it needs to be while increasing overall trip productivity.
In conclusion, regularly reviewing and amending your corporate travel policy to reflect the latest trends ensures optimal budget utilization and curbs employee expenditures. Further improving the transparency of policy changes and their delivery to traveling employees guarantees an increase in traveler awareness of what aspects qualify and disqualify under the policy coverage.
Leverage the actionable insights you gained from these trends and seek out a T&E management partner that can help you drive your corporate travel efficiently in 2023.
Simplify business travel in 2023 with Tripeur
Tripeur is a state-of-the-art travel management platform that simplifies the burden and responsibility of creating, updating, and enforcing your corporate travel policy. Once you write your policy, our system eliminates compliance issues by logging all business travel expenditures in real-time. These logs actively give employees T&E visibility to inform them precisely on what travel expenses they are entitled to and their limitations.
Tripeur’s platform aims to help businesses overcome compliance issues by providing managers with the functionality of delivering WhatsApp and email approvals accompanied by automated expense reports. Through our system, management can instantly identify and mitigate any non-compliance in real time and enforce preventive measures to prevent future occurrences.
Our innovative and user-friendly product can prepare you for all business travel trends in 2023. Every tool you need for your corporate travel to thrive during the upcoming year is available within Tripeur’s powerful platform. Contact us at Tripeur to find out more.