Business travel trends to watch out for in 2024

Krizia Mojado
Krizia Mojado
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The business travel industry is continuously evolving. As we enter 2024, corporate travel managers need to stay updated on emerging trends to develop policies and programs that meet shifting needs. Understanding the latest market developments also allows travel managers to gain useful insights that will benefit their organization and employees.

This article highlights major business travel trends that will impact corporate travel programs this year and beyond. We will tackle the rising participation of younger travellers, the growth of bleisure trips, increased adoption of sustainable practices, shifting accommodation preferences, and various technological advancements. The article will also cover the need for more flexibility in existing travel policies to align with changing priorities and preferences for each business traveller.

More millenials and Gen Zs on the road

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Globally, 53% of both Millennial and Gen Z employees plan to travel for business in 2024, according to the sources referenced. In comparison, only 38% of Gen X and 26% of Baby Boomers have the same travel plans for work this year.

  • 53% of Gen Z plan business trips
  • 53% of Millennials also expect to travel for work
  • In contrast, older generations have lower projections 
  • Only 38% of Gen X will travel for business
  • 26% of Baby Boomers

Since the younger cohort takes on more professional roles, their preferences and priorities will significantly impact programs and policies. For one, we may see more demand for bookings in locations outside major metro areas.

Recent data already showed secondary markets dominating growth in early bookings for 2024 conferences and corporate events. 

Bleisure to Include Friends and Family

Among other emerging business travel trends, we also find combining business and leisure trips. According to surveys, 24% of global business travellers plan to take along a friend or family member on work-related travel this year.

  • 24% will bring companions on bleisure trips
  • Millennials lead this segment at 29%
  • 27% among Gen Z also expect to blend business and leisure
  • Only 18% for Gen X and 13% among Baby Boomers plan the same

Since younger employees now comprise a bigger percentage of business travellers, we will likely see more requests for leisure trips. This creates an opportunity for travel managers to develop policies around incorporating companions at work events. 

The blended trip format allows companies to improve employee satisfaction without necessarily increasing costs.

More Eco-Conscious Travellers

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Sustainability continues to drive consumer preferences across industries, including corporate travel. An overwhelming 74% of business travellers affirm the importance of minimizing environmental impact while on trips planned by employers.

To address this shift, travel managers have started working with vendors that share the same sustainability values. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of company-sponsored trips. At the same time, they want to drive positive change by working with partners that invest in local communities.

Since we progress into 2024, we can expect more requests for eco-friendly accommodations and transport options while travelling for work. 

Employers should also emphasize sustainability efforts when marketing corporate travel programs internally. Highlighting these initiatives encourages participation among eco-conscious employees.

Unconventional Business Travel Accommodation

Hotel rooms with kitchenettes perfectly capture changing preferences. Based on recent surveys, 81% of extended-stay guests have prepared meals in their rooms during hotel stays.

Brands have started responding by making kitchen facilities standard across room categories. For example, Homewood Suites now equips every unit with kitchenware like plates, pots and pans alongside appliances like stoves and microwaves. The brand has positioned itself precisely for bleisure travellers seeking to incorporate family and friends on business trips.

Since younger travellers drive more room nights, expect integrated kitchens to become a baseline requirement for corporate travel accommodations. The features provide convenience and flexibility, highly valued by millennial and Gen Z employees.

Technology and Business Travel (AI and Blockchain)

Various technological advances continue to shape developments in corporate travel. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality represent two innovations travel managers should watch moving forward.

AI-driven travel tools allow suppliers to understand company and guest preferences better. The technology lets vendors personalize offerings using data derived from these patterns. As a result, corporate partners can take advantage of dynamic packages and upgraded last-minute offers based on intelligent recommendations.

Virtual reality also paves the way for next-level customization in business travel. The immersive digital medium may soon allow guests to design aspects of their hotel rooms. Tech futurists predict travellers customizing everything from lighting schemes to furniture layouts using VR.

Other innovations like smart chatbots provide travellers with valuable information during disruptions instantly. Intelligent assistants can also suggest additions like rental cars or excursions to enhance the trip experience. Moving forward, tech innovations should generate improved personalization for road warriors through hyper-customization.

Blockchain technology is another advancement that could shake up loyalty programs and payments. Its cryptographically secure structure creates opportunities to revamp reward systems. It also facilitates faster transactions, allowing business travellers to maximize the time they save.

Flexibility in Corporate Travel Policies

According to surveys, a significant number of business travellers divert from company policies when booking trips. This shift mostly stems from restrictive guidelines that limit options for flights and accommodations.

Inflexible policies also prevent employees from optimizing routes and properties to their preferences. In contrast, organizations with flexible programs enjoy much higher engagement levels. The key takeaway for travel managers involves re-evaluating current guidelines to facilitate customization.

Updating legacy policies through input from all stakeholders provides a great starting point. For example, enabling dynamic policies automatically broadens options depending on availability during booking. 

The right policy adjustments balance customization and remote collaboration to engage employees.

Self-Booking for Business Travel

Outside formal programs, 68% of business travellers use independent channels for bookings based on research. Though self-service empowers employees in many cases, significant risks exist when trips involve complex logistics.

For example, self-booking travellers may struggle to make last-minute changes for disrupted or cancelled flights without agent support. Visa services also often require human expertise, especially when employees have tight schedules. Self-booking limitations also constrain options for group bookings at discounted rates managed directly by companies.

Through 2024, enabling business travellers to control simple arrangements could boost engagement. However, travel managers should guide employees to use corporate travel agents for more complicated trips. The blended strategy integrates self-service tools while providing comprehensive support when employees need it.

Stay ahead of the curve in 2024 with the right business travel platform

In our fast-evolving landscape, staying ahead requires a modern and effective platform that keeps pace with business travel trends and meets the unique needs of corporate travellers. 

TruTrip, a cutting-edge corporate travel management company and solution, is built to address these demands. TruTrip not only allows for flexibility and personalization in corporate travel bookings, but it also integrates emerging technologies to optimize the travel experience. 

Whether it’s enabling self-booking for simpler arrangements or offering comprehensive support for more complex travel logistics, TruTrip is designed to adapt to the evolving needs of today’s business travellers. 

Moreover, it recognizes the growing trend towards eco-conscious and unconventional travel accommodations, making it a comprehensive solution tailored for the future of corporate travel. Don’t be left behind in 2024. Experience the benefits of TruTrip firsthand. Book a demo or sign up for a free trial

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