The COVID-19 pandemic changed all aspects of everyday life. As the world went into lockdown, people began learning how to do even the most mundane tasks from the safety of their homes, including going to work. Most employees now perform most of their business online using everything from email to Zoom. Due to the decline in in-person interactions, business travel has also seen a sharp decline. Studies show that business travel has fallen nearly 80 percent since before the pandemic, with less than 30 percent of business managers saying they intend to travel shortly. Despite the sharp decline in business travel, companies large and small still need face-to-face interactions with associates in their field. In examining the future of business travel, experts say that the following trends will change the industry.
Less Frequent Trips with Higher Sustainability Goals
A key goal for most companies today is to be more environmentally friendly. Therefore, trends suggest that companies are planning for less frequent business travel. Where once an employee might have traveled three or four times a year, today, they might go on only one or two business trips each year. In addition to saving money, corporations embracing this schedule will also help achieve their sustainability goals. Business travel burns a high percentage of fossil fuels, which is worrisome for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Likewise, companies might also choose to host events closer to their place of operation, not to force employees to travel by air.
Trips Become More Rewarding for Employees
It’s no secret that many people are still cautious about being in crowded settings. No matter how much time passes, some individuals will never feel comfortable again sitting on a packed flight in the wake of the pandemic. Since most businesses no longer plan to travel frequently, experts predict that trips will become more accessible and pleasurable for employees. Many companies are already hiring concierges to take some stress out of planning for employees. Some of the many services that concierges undertake are booking flights and hotel rooms. More importantly, concierges can help travelers stay within their company’s budget.
Travel to Build Team Spirit
With more people working remotely, employees sometimes no longer reside in the same city or even the same state. Corporations are designing business trips intending to build team spirit among colleagues. Advocates of this type of travel stress that while these trips incorporate essential aspects of business strategy, they are inherently centered around people and fostering positive relationships. Employees taking these types of trips both get to know their colleagues and discuss important topics in their industry.