The travel industry has seen a turbulent few years and the space continues to develop and adapt to life after the pandemic. Business travel, as a segment of the industry, has perhaps experienced the most change because of transitioning working practices and patterns. Leisure travel is still in high demand because people still want to gain new experiences and escape their daily lives as they always have done.
In contrast, the professional world has seen a significant shift to virtual meetings and collaboration which makes some employers think twice about if business travel is actually worth the expense. But business travel will continue to be both a necessary and desirable option for many professionals and businesses, priorities may just be shifting. Let’s explore some of these developments.
Focus on traveller wellbeing
There’s been a major shift in the way that many companies support their employees in terms of health and wellbeing. HR policies have become more thorough and adapted to the changing concerns around different working patterns and employee risks – the challenges raised by managing more remote workers, for example. But this concern seems to be extending into the realms of business travel, with more attention being paid to the wellbeing of out-of-office employees.
This is manifesting in a few trends or developments in the way that business travel is carried out and managed. First of all, there is a greater focus on ensuring employee safety and assessing risks more closely – whether they be health, safety or security related. Other changing perceptions include the frequency of business travel and the mental and physical wellbeing of the traveller. Those in charge of booking transport and accommodation are considering alternative options such as London serviced apartments to give travellers more freedom and functionality in their accommodation. More is being done to ensure that the health and safety of business travellers aren’t being put at risk.
Of course, there are significant movements across the world surrounding sustainability – and business travel is feeling the impacts of these changing perceptions and demands. Travel clients and providers are both putting more emphasis on working with sustainably-minded suppliers, which will change the business travel landscape slowly over time – a positive thing for the planet. But there are also fundamental questions being asked about whether certain kinds of business travel are necessary, especially now with the power of technology in facilitating business communication and collaboration. This is something we may see play out over the coming years, but some business travel will always be necessary.