It’s safe to say that the news about travel (and the world in general) hasn’t been too cheerful over the last few months. Between economic concerns and travel disruptions, you’d be forgiven for having an outlook that was glass half empty for the new year. Luckily, it isn’t all doom in gloom for the business travel industry. After a strong recovery in 2022, there is plenty to look forward to in the new year!
Here are 3 positive business travel trends from our industry experts:
Belinda Hindmarsh - EVP & Chief Growth Officer
Sustainability will become an even bigger focus for many enterprises in 2023. We recently surveyed many of our clients, and two thirds told us that sustainability has become more important after the pandemic. One of the first hurdles to clear is setting goals and finding a path to achieving them – a journey that we are taking many of our large enterprise clients on.
Although change does start at the top, we all have a part to play. Therefore, we are using analytics tools to provide more information at the booking stage. With the help of meaningful data, travelers can see, for example, the emissions that will be produced on a given trip. This visibility will help travelers to make more informed decisions and contribute to their company's sustainability goals.
Joel Hanson - Sr. Director, Innovation Business Development CWT
With 2023 on the horizon, our industry has countless reasons to feel positive, not least of which is the simple fact that once again we are enabling human connection in full, vivid, 3D Technicolor. I have noticed that face to face contains at least 100x more data than any web conferencing tool – there are few substitutes for body language and facial cues, and I see face to face as the ultimate premium technology moving forward.
That said, the business travel industry can enter 2023 feeling positive not just about re-connecting the world, but increasingly, about how we are doing so. We are standing in the foothills of a new era, characterized by a shift to conscious business travel. To me, conscious business travel is a mega-trend for 2023 and beyond, and emerging signs of this megatrend abound.
Ian Cummings – Global Head CWT Meetings & Events
Despite some economic uncertainty & geopolitical turmoil at an all-time high, the Meetings & Events industry is better prepared to weather any storm than ever before. The use of the technology available will allow our industry to continue to thrive, whether it be face-to-face, with virtual events or the combination of the two. This allows us to adjust for cost controls, deal with rapid and sudden change, and facilitate vital corporate communications.
Retreats and incentives are higher up the priority lists for many corporates. We have seen a 65% increase in live face-to-face meetings, including incentives, over the last 12 months. Time being a precious commodity is not something new, but the very fierce focus on how we spend our time has never been more important. Enabling teams to be together, in calm spaces where attendees can focus, think, innovate, and create, away from the hustle and bustle of big cities has seen the emergence of new brands. Even within the big brand's portfolios, lifestyle retreats focused on wellness, sustainability, from farm to table eating and building agendas that include time to relax are becoming more popular.
And finally, if the last 2.5 years have taught us anything - it's the power of face to face is irreplaceable. And with flexible working being the new norm, corporates will have to work harder to bring teams together again and invest in those all-important human connections