Corporate travel is back, but business travelers' perspective and mindset approaching business trips post-pandemic is forever changed. Not only has the state of the travel industry and profile of corporate travelers evolved, but the meaning and intention behind boarding an Airbus or Boeing is forever altered. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
To begin with, road warriors and travel managers are more concerned and conscious about sustainability and safety than they were pre-pandemic. Next-gen travel agents are able to more deftly manage once-unimaginable travel challenges with new technology platforms and vehicles for communicating with road warriors. And it is now more common for employees to add leisure travel to their business travel for more well-rounded and satisfying trips.
Now, let's look at how the psychology around the business trip has changed for the better in 2021 and beyond:
A New Appreciation for Slow Travel:
It was once the mark of a skilled business traveler to be able to fly in and out of New York City in a single day to shake on that new deal in-person. But concerns around safety and an overall greater appreciation for the journey, have increased the frequency of car rentals. Even the most frequent business travelers are now occasionally opting for ground transportation over an aisle seat in the last year. In Europe, the growing popularity of rail travel has only continued.
TripActions Tip: Make sure your travel management platform and policy allows business travelers to book cars and trains as seamlessly as airplanes. Learn more about TripActions inventory here.
Growing Consciousness Around Important of Community:
While temporarily working in pjs has its perks, most employees are eager to return to the office and business travel‒especially when it means coming together with colleagues unseen since coronavirus began. Team building is an integral part of working together efficiently and creatively. The travel expenses accumulated on team off-sites and get-togethers are well worth the increased employee loyalty and team cohesion.
TripActions Trip: Craft a travel policy that includes guidelines around team off-sites. Even better, when considering travel agencies, find one that has tools specifically built to make this new kind of team travel a part of the future for your company's hybrid work environment.
Small Business Owners Recognize Need for Travel:
The past 18 months have brought innumerable changes to everyone's lives, but one trend that is consistent is that people are branching off from their own stable careers to start their own projects. Driven by passion or ambition, these small business owners are not just sitting behind their home desks. They're out in the field, catching Ubers and banking in on credit card points to meet customers and collaborators in person.
TripActions Tip: Don't take the risk of Airbnb cancellations or spotty Wi-Fi coverage. Treat business travel management as a professional even when you're a business of one. It will help set up the right habits and infrastructure to grow.
Once Daunting Tasks Become Sexy:
What was once seen as boring and tedious (like health care) is now considered sexy with the introduction of new technology that streamlines business administration tasks. This is nowhere more clear than spend management, which has turned endless hours of submitting travel expenses into a two-second workflow on an app. The streamlining of such tasks has made business travel more efficient (and dare we say fun) than ever before.
TripActions Tip: Embrace 2021 with open arms. Go beyond your travel management to look how spend management, company culture, and the state of your tech stack work together for an integrated, productive employee experience.
While the pandemic brought some challenges, it also increased innovation and ultimately created the opportunity to choose a more seamless travel experience.
Not only has the process changed, but employees themselves have new perspectives on travel. They've become more conscious and intentional about their business travel, which ultimately makes every interaction more meaningful. It's time to embrace these changes and recognize all the benefits in this new world.
Get in touch with TripActions today to learn how modern travel and spend management can transform your travel program so you can align with the modern business traveler mindset today.