This article was updated on December 6th, 2016 to reflect more recent business travel trends.
More options are being made available to not only enhance the time that travelers spend on the road, but also to improve the efficiency of your organization’s travel program. Keeping up with the latest business travel trends translates to improving your awareness of the latest tools and services that help both your travelers and your travel spend go further. Read more on the top business travel trends we’ve identified, and use them to help improve traveler satisfaction and bolster your bottom line.
Going Mobile While on the Move
The first business travel trend is not new, but is one that continues to evolve year after year as travelers are increasingly dependent on mobile devices and travel related apps. In 2015, the number of global mobile users overtook the number of desktop users. Since then, we’ve also seen mobile time overtake desktop as the most used medium for daily digital consumption, according to a study by venture capital firm KPCB.
Increased use of mobile platforms is changing the ways in which people travel for business. Moving beyond just browsing, travelers are comfortably and securely booking their travel via mobile. According to estimates from eMarketer, mobile booking from smart phones and tablets will account for the majority of digital travel bookings during 2016.
And, it’s millennials who are driving this business travel trend and leading the way with mobile usage. According to research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), conducted in partnership with American Express Global Business Travel, 72% of millennials use mobile devices to check itineraries at least once per day during business trips. Millennials also lead all business travelers in using their mobile phones to track their expenses. This latter point should come as no surprise, as 2015 research found that over twice as many millennial business travelers were interested in using their mobile device to keep track of expenses when compared to travelers over the age of 55.
The Share Economy Takes Its Share
Just as mobile technology is driving the above business travel trends, it’s also had a huge influence on changes in ground transportation. The rise of the sharing economy in recent years has been spearheaded by ride-share companies like Uber™ and Lyft™, which are very popular with business travelers. According to data from Certify, car-share services overtook taxi and car rental services as the most used mode of ground transportation in Q4 of 2015. That growth continued into 2016, with car-share services accounting for 48.7% of rides by the end of Q2 in 2016.
And, it’s not just with ground transportation that the sharing economy is creating new business travel trends. Home-sharing services like AirBnB™ and HomeAway™ saw a 56-percent growth in use between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, according to data from Concur.
Lastly, we’re seeing a continued increase in the free services offered by hotels. Hotels are offering free Wi-Fi in order to attract more travelers who are staying for work. According to the latest GBTA research, 75% of business travelers said that Wi-Fi is vital to their productivity. Additionally, 25% of respondents said that a lack of reliable Wi-Fi access is the most frustrating part of their travels—even more so than the travel itself.
Keep an eye out for these and other developing trends as you continue to evolve your travel policy and programs. By staying on top of the changing world of business travel, you can make the most out of your business’s critical travel spend and improve your travelers’ satisfaction and safety on the road.