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Corporate travel is bouncing back stronger than ever. 2022 will hold the stage for major breakthroughs in terms of how corporate travel is managed post-pandemic, leading to a resurgence in the practice of global business travel.

According to a recent poll of business travel professionals conducted by the Global Business Travel Association, as of April 2022, corporate travel is recovering its pre-pandemic status. For instance, even though 45% of companies have cancelled or suspended international business trips, 52% aim at a resumption within the next three months. 

More and more people are planning to resume domestic trips in the same time frame.  In total, at least 55% of the professionals say that their current business travel bookings are now up to half of their pre-pandemic figures. 

As things are looking up, travel managers need to know how and why corporate travel will look different over the coming months. These are explored in the following paragraphs.

Sustainability as a priority 

In 2022, we’ll see more companies prioritising sustainability when it comes to managing their travel spending. And this number is only going to increase as more businesses realise that taking care of the environment is good for their bottom line too.

According to the GBTA Business Travel Recovery Poll Results, at least 54% of corporate travel professionals will have their company cut trips per employee due to concerns over the impact of sustainability. 

However, beyond this, most leaders do not expect to see significant changes in transport modes due to sustainability considerations. For instance, 42% of respondents do not expect a transition from aeroplanes to rail or other multi-modal transport options. More so, 47% believe that business travellers won’t be making a switch to public transport from individual cars on the basis of sustainability. 

Corporate travel is necessary for business, but it can also be an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. Travel managers should consider how they can track and reduce their carbon footprint while keeping their company’s travel needs in mind. There are ways to achieve greener travel that HR leaders can impart to their business travellers. You can also, consider partnering up with companies like Patch, to get a better grasp at jumpstarting your travel programme’s effort towards going green.

Mask mandates

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been fierce debates about the use of masks as well as whether the government should mandate mask use on commercial flights. There is new business etiquette to be mindful of as the world learns to live with the virus.

According to the GBTA poll on business travel, most leaders in the field (52%) believe that the government should not be in charge of masking mandates. 20% want all mask mandates to end while the rest 32% prefer that airlines make their own decisions regarding mask mandates. 

When you compare the results by region, though, it turns out that travel leaders from Latin America overwhelmingly support government mask mandates (71%). In fact, only 7% of them believe the choice should go to the airlines. This is in stark contrast to North America and Europe, where the professionals are almost equally divided between government control and airline control.

It’d be best to stay informed and alert regarding this, there are several ways to stay in the loop, there are TMCs like TruTrip that inform travellers about destination requirements as they plan their trip. 

HR Leaders rethinking travel

Travel policy changes

The GBTA poll shows that the majority of companies have had to cut down business trips for their employees. This is not unexpected, since, at the height of the pandemic, governments announced city lockdowns which inevitably reduced travel. 

A whopping 80% of businesses had some kind of reevaluation of their travel policies due to the pandemic while the rest didn’t make any change. For the 39%, this meant cutting back on business trips and for others, it meant further reconsideration on when business trips are needed.

It is high time for companies, to reevaluate their travel policies to adopt more flexible corporate travel options, automate the implementation of travel policies, take the employers’ duty of care more seriously, and review budgetary allocations. Other companies are also implementing better travel reporting while ensuring that business travellers are ready for the necessary obligations. 

Employee willingness 

One thing that has been consistent, at least since mid-year 2021 until now is the willingness of employees to travel, of which the lowest level of willingness was 72%, according to the poll. In fact, employee willingness to travel continues to grow in 2022. As of April, 90% of employees indicated a willingness to go on business trips. 

It should be noted that this is the opinion of leaders as they perceive their employees. However, the leaders also demonstrate familiarity with the various stressful conditions that employees undergo when they go on business trips. Besides confusion over travel documentation, of which 63% of the professionals admitted, 45% of them also mentioned that corporate travel increases anxiousness in them and their colleagues. 

This is something for business executives and HR leaders to note: employees might be willing to travel but work must be done to lower their stress and anxiety levels so that business trips become more enjoyable. It is evident that making sure your employees are ready to travel should be given importance, have them take an assessment to see if their willingness to travel bodes well with their readiness too.

Inflation’s impact to travel spending 

Another challenge that regions around the world have to combat is inflation and rising costs. This has definitely had an effect on corporate travel spending. In particular, airfares have increased across the board, with 41% of business professionals reporting increased corporate travel costs. 

In other areas, such as hotel rates, car rentals, and taxis, more leaders indicated no spending increase compared to those who reported increases. However, there is a great level of uncertainty regarding rail travel. 45% reported ‘not sure’ when asked whether their business travel cost on rail travel has increased or not. 

Currently, many businesses are looking for ways to cut travelling spending. And one of the major ways to do so is by hiring a travel management company. Besides using flexible options, automating travel policy, and tracking expenses, among others, travel trends show that businesses can cut spending by up to 30% when they use a travel management company. 

Be a part of a better travel future

By booking a demo on TruTrip, and signing up for a free trial you can discover how our corporate travel management services can ensure cost-effective and impactful business travel for your company.

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