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February 2, 2021

5 Insights on the Future of Travel with TripActions & The Points Guy

The future of business travel will look different than it did prior in March 2020 and key to that new world will be accurate insight into traveler and destination trends.

Since the first signs of travel shutdown, the TripActions team led by co-founder and CTO Ilan Twig worked day and night to provide customers with access to real-time information. The product of that work was the ability for travel managers to make better-informed decisions around who, where, and when they’d travel again. Now, with the vaccination available and new health and safety measures in place, there’s an opportunity to look back at exactly what happened in 2020 and what the data tells us about where business travel is going.

To do that, Ilan sat down with The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly to discuss the booking data from 2020 and what they see for the future of travel. Five particularly notable insights emerged:

1. Business travelers are booking closer to their travel dates.

According to TripActions booking data, the average lead time for flight bookings dropped from 20 days before departure to 10 days before departure post-pandemic. The median dropped from 13 days lead time to six days lead time.

The average booking window for hotels also fell from 12 days to seven days. The median dropped from eight days to four days.

*2. Rental car bookings have more than doubled in the past year. *

Rental cars accounted for just 7% of bookings in the TripActions system prior to March 2020. Today these reservations account for 17% of all bookings.

3. Rental cars are replacing flight bookings.

Flights used to account for 50% of bookings in the TripActions ecosystem and hotels roughly 30%. The rest were cars and rail. During the pandemic, that ratio flipped; now, hotels account for 50% of bookings while flights account for 30%.

4. No destination has emerged as a “top COVID destination” in the past year.

Based on TripActions booking data, no single destination stands out as more popular than others. People are traveling where they need to or are able to with restrictions still in place.

5. Some industries are actually traveling more than ever.

Business travel at tech companies softened as a side effect of remote work, however, other industries including healthcare, storage, and manufacturing are actually traveling more often and for longer time than before the pandemic.

While we can learn a lot from looking at how business travel has changed, what’s perhaps more interesting is where it is going. Ilan revealed that TripActions is working on new product features that will help bring together now remote or distributed teams. The concept of team travel is one that we can expect to hear more about in the year ahead.

You can watch the full recording below:

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