According to forecasts by the International Business Travel Association, world expenditures for business trips will grow by 12% in 2017. This upward trend has been going on for many years despite world disasters, financial crises, and technological advancements that allow many problems to be solved from a distance. At the same time, travel conditions and preferences of business travelers have changed constantly.
1. Apartments for Rent
A major trend recently has been the use of private housing instead of hotels. This has reduced costs for companies by 37% on average!
Hotels are ready to do anything to stop the outflow of customers. For example, they assume that business travelers are no longer willing to pay for Wi-Fi or access to scanners and printers in business centers. Many now offer these services free of charge, and they’re working to meet other needs of business travelers.
According to surveys, most clients want more power sources and USB ports in the rooms. Hotels are reconstructing their premises in an attempt to provide guests with comfortable and convenient work settings.
2. Digital Wallets
In 2017, the Worldpay system predicted that payments through credit and debit cards will fall from two-thirds to half of all transactions by 2019, and will be replaced by mobile payments.
With a digital wallet, you can pay for lunch or metro travel by simply attaching your phone or smart watch to an NFC-sensor. You can also store boarding passes and loyalty cards.
3. Baggage tracking
New technology has significantly reduced the number of bags lost in transit. In the next few years, we can expect the appearance of home-printed bag tags, electronic receipts, automatic luggage systems, and GPS tracking to improve the situation further.
By next year, according to forecasts, 60% of carriers will send updates to your phone about the location of your luggage. Some brands already sell suitcases that notify you automatically of their whereabouts.
4. Designer clothes in hotel apartment
Carrying a lot of clothes, when you want to travel light, is tiring. Some hotels deliver fashionable designer clothes directly to your room.
Hotel guests can order garments in advance or call the reception desk to get a rack of clothes brought in for free. The Berkeley Hotel in London, for example, started cooperating with the clothing brand Vestiare Collective for this purpose.
5. Mobile booking of tickets
Booking hotels and air tickets is more often being done “on the go” through mobile applications rather than from an office.
However, despite the propensity of travelers to use the Internet to arrange trips, there are those who prefer to minimize their sharing of personal information.
According to recent studies, many people have no problem indicating their bonus card numbers or preferred seats on a plane, but they are not willing to report in on social networks or discuss where they were earlier in the day.
6. Negotiations on the Train
Saving time, or rather the rational use of it, drives the demand for holding business conferences while traveling by rail.
The Swiss even offer a special charter train, Red Double-Arrow Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill himself traveled on it 75 years ago, and now the train has been restored and equipped with the latest technical apparatus.
There is a conference car designed for 110 people and equipped with sound technology and Internet. In order not to burden business travelers with concerns about luggage, Swiss Railways has express delivery and transfer service from one hotel to another or to the airport.
7. Jet rent
It is not only ordinary employees who have to look for affordable options in business travel – so do their bosses. Sometimes this search for savings leads to the leasing of private aircraft.
Indeed, how else can one quickly move around the world, especially to hard-to-reach places where there are no regular flights? This desire to save time and money has allowed VistaJet, an airplane leasing firm, to significantly increase its profits in recent years.
8. Bleisure = business + leisure
The popularity of “bleisure travel” – when a mini-vacation is added to a business trip – is growing worldwide, especially in the US and Australia. According to the International Business Travel Association, so-called Millennials (those who are now 18 to 35 years old) are more likely to combine business and leisure travel.
On the other hand, “boomers” (those born from the mid-1940s to the 1960s) are satisfied with established practices for business trips and are less inclined to change anything.
“Co-habitation” is something between co-working and co-renting housing. Co-habitation allows a person to stay in a favorable environment together with like-minded people who are also on extended business trips.
Work is the main thing, of course, but equally important is the possibility of joint dinners and socializing. This situation is something like a modern commune for professionals.
10. Robotic Staff
According to market research, robots will eliminate 6% of all jobs in the US by 2021. For example, the McLean Hilton in Virginia has Connie, a robot with artificial intelligence that speaks several languages, working as a “concierge student.”
At the airport of Marrakech, Leo (also a robot) can register you for a flight, print baggage labels and carry your bags to the drop-off point. In Taipei, EVA Air has Pepper – she scans boarding passes, gives weather forecasts, and even poses for selfies.
It is interesting that, according to polls, even young people with all their love for Internet technologies, prefer to meet partners in person to conclude deals. So, forecasts about business trips increasing in coming years could prove to be accurate.