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October 28, 2021

A New Playbook for Travel: 4 Trends Changing the Game

Guest blog post by Amadeus Head of Business Travel Customer Solutions Jay Richmond.

The world is traveling again. And we’re optimistic that the recovery will only become stronger and more consistent as restrictions are lifted, vaccination programs are put into place, and traveler sentiment improves.

But as the world moves into a new phase of pandemic recovery, what will travel look like? What are the traveler expectations, demands, and behaviors that will play a role in rebuilding traveler confidence in the months ahead?

It’s something that we think about daily at Amadeus so it was a treat to recently sit down with TripActions Vice President of Product Marketing Priya Patel and explore the trends that we believe will impact the future of business travel in 2022 and beyond:

Travel Bubbles

Travel bubbles have played an important role in revitalizing the industry and rebuilding consumer confidence. Started a few months after the pandemic hit, travel bubbles consisted of an exclusive partnership between two or more countries which had considerable success containing the virus. The agreements allowed travelers to come and go without quarantine restrictions.

We also saw this happen on a smaller scale with some hotels promoting themselves as “bubble resorts” by allowing people to travel in small groups with a negative COVID-19 test. Cruise ships also became a type of “travel bubble” by closely managing size, interactions and physical space. Even travelers created their own travel pods to reduce the risks typically associated with larger group travel.

As vaccine programs are established on a global level, travel bubbles are slowly dissolving but they’ve played an important role in rebuilding the industry.

Workcations

People are ready to explore and finally can in a whole new way. With the rise of remote work, employees no longer need to accommodate their work schedules to take a vacation. With flexible and hybrid working models, a new generation of digital nomads have left the office for a work-from-anywhere model.

According to a Harris Poll, 74% of Americans are interested in taking a workcation. Amadeus data confirms that sentiment: Quick trips took a nosedive while searches for 14 days or longer increased by 43%. Globally, there was a 41% increase in the number of searches for 30 days or longer. TripActions data also shows an increasingly growing number of workers booking extended personal trips to places like Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Los Angeles.

This dispersed workforce will lead to new demands for business travelers and corporations. Companies are being pushed to think about digital transformation of expense and spend management as trips become more complex and mix business and pleasure. A modern spend management platform is becoming paramount to the current corporate culture shifts and in order to accommodate a flexible work lifestyle.

Priya also explained how travel managers are now promoting leisure travel as an added benefit. They see providing a personal booking channel within business travel booking tools as a way to boost company culture. They want to provide their employees with that level of safety and security even when they’re traveling outside of work.

Conscious Travel

As people rediscover this newfound freedom to travel again, many are putting more thought into safety and the environmental impact of their travel. When it comes to personal safety, Amadeus data revealed a triple digit increase in travel insurance purchases on bookings during the summer months. Airlines and airports have responded with Amadeus’ Safe Travel Ecosystem to offer touchless technology and offsite check-in options. Amadeus car shopping data also shows a surge in car rentals since the pandemic, which our experts suggest is a result of travelers wanting to control their personal space and mitigate risks.

While safety will continue to be top of mind, we’ve also seen sustainability come more to the forefront since the pandemic with large global companies striving to reduce their impact without sacrificing in-person interactions. It’s been a domino effect as companies pledge to increase their commitment to sustainable business practices by a certain timeline. In order to accomplish this feat, TripActions Sustainability Suite includes tools to track, measure, and analyze carbon emissions. Working together with the right tools and tech can shift the industry toward real change.

Team Travel

Although the pandemic shook the status quo and businesses were forced to adapt to remote work, it also highlighted the innate need for humans to spend time together. It’s never been so evident that face-to-face interaction is a necessary part of teamwork, creativity, and collaboration. According to a TripActions survey, 76% of respondents said they miss in-person interaction with their teams. And even though companies are adopting a hybrid working model, 49% expect to travel to collaborate with their team. Bringing teams together will need to be seamless and effective. The TripActions Team Travel tool empowers meeting and event organizers to create in-person group meetings with just a few clicks so teams can focus on being there, not getting there.

A New Chapter for Travel

These four trends are a sample of the new ways people travel – and give insight into the exciting changes in the leisure and corporate travel space. The travel industry is in a terrific position for evolution and growth as we approach this new normal with a mindset of opportunity and growth.

Companies that remain agile, open to collaboration, and embrace new technology will reap the rewards in this next chapter of business travel.

Amadeus built the world’s most innovative and powerful travel platform, giving TripActions and its customers access to the most travel choices, empowering travelers to find the best option to get where they need to go. We are the leading travel technology company, working with our partners to rebuild the industry. Amadeus was a Business Class sponsor that the industry met at TRAVERSE 21 on September 29, 2021 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

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