The changing world of work has a significant impact on the business travel industry. Faced with the rise of teleworking and videoconferencing, business trips are less frequent than before the health crisis. Point.
The impact of telework on business travel
The emergence of teleworking and videoconferencing slows the resumption of business travel. Indeed, companies seem to have become accustomed to the new practices imposed during the pandemic. According to a survey by Morgan Stanley, 27% of business trips are allowed to be replaced by virtual meetings in 2022 and 19% in 2023. For their part, employees are still cautious, considering that business trips have adverse effects on their health (lack of sleep, physical exercise, accumulated fatigue linked to long days or workload, stress, change in their eating habits, etc.).
If the evolution of the way of working is linked to the significant drop in business travel, it is not the only cause. Another problem arises, that of health complexity. Indeed, international regulations, constraints and restrictions for travelers are constantly being modified, which does not simplify the task of “Travel Managers” (travel managers within companies).
Business travel: companies are reviewing their habits
Today, the safety of business travelers has become a priority for organizations. Their role is to watch over the health of their employees. As a result, they have an accumulated duty of vigilance and must be able to guarantee their safety wherever they move, whatever the circumstances. Besides that, companies increasingly train their employees in best practices, the but being to protect them as much as possible. Another change: the profitability of business trips is now scrutinized. These are increasingly subject to management approval. We send back if the return on investment is worth it.
What future for business travel?
Although technology has gained ground in recent years, the health crisis has paradoxically highlighted the importance of the human connection, both in the private and professional spheres. Thus, business travel is not about to disappear. However, the sector must innovate. One track is offering more targeted and less frequent tripsor hybrid formats, with some staff on site and some remotely. For example, SNCF Voyageurs is stepping up its offensives to win back its business customers who are now accustomed to working from home by upgrading its services or offering them greater flexibility in their reservations.
Another trend is to offer employees the possibility of combine business and leisure by extending their business trips. This is called “bleisure”. According to a study carried out by CWT, 76% of companies would be in favor of this mode of travel, the French interlocutors being however more nuanced on the subject since the figure drops to 68%. Finally, tomorrow’s business trips must be more ecological (use of more sustainable and less polluting modes of travel, offsetting the carbon footprint, etc.).
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