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Top business travel and events journalists on what will matter this year

February 02, 2024

Quality insight is hard to find. Like an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet our newsfeeds seem to profer an unlimited supply of advertising, ChatGPT-generated waffle and hearsay masquerading as fact. Satiating but rarely satisfying, and certainly not nourishing. 

Journalists are the antidote. They’re a lighthouse in a content storm transmuting data into informative storytelling, identifying key trends and asking the right questions of industry stakeholders at the right time to deliver the daily news. If any group has the lay of the land in these unpredictable times, it’s journalists and editors. 

The 2023 winners of CWT’s 20th annual Business Travel Journalism Awards (BTJAs) closed the year at a ceremony at the Tower of London. Representing leading industry titles, global news networks, and independent work an impressive coterie of journalists, editors, podcasters, and bloggers submitted their best work to a judging body of sustainability start-up founders, leading consultants, and leaders from global hotel and airline groups, and distribution platforms.

As another year of opportunity, challenge, and more than a sprinkling of ‘unknowns’ presents itself, four BTJAs winners tell us what to expect and what they hope for from the year ahead.

Smarter carbon reduction

- BTN Europe’s Amon Cohen calls for the end of rhetoric

“I would like to see the end of misleading rhetoric around sustainability and aviation,” says winner of the Features Journalist of the Year Sustainability award, BTN Europe’s Amon Cohen, “There is only one meaningful way to reduce the environmental impact of business travel, and that is to fly less. That doesn’t mean flying for business should stop – but we need to be honest that when we do, it contributes to global warming, and no amount of SAF or anything else will change that.”

So how should businesses make meaningful strides to reduce their footprint beyond the usual primary focus area of flying? 

“I think, or at least hope, businesses will pay more attention to commuter travel by their employees,” adds Cohen, “For some companies their commuter travel carbon footprint is ten times that of their business travel, and from next year they must report these emissions by law. I see a big opportunity for travel managers to take ownership and make a difference environmentally while boosting their status within their organisation.” 

Rewriting the bucket list

- CNN’s Francesca Street on a rise in non-mainstream destinations

"Overtourism was a pre-pandemic buzzword that made a comeback last year, as destinations saw travelers return in full force” says winner of the News Journalist of the Year award, CNN Travel’s Francesca Street, “With this in mind, I think we'll see some destinations continuing to encourage travelers to return, but to return with care, and to consider visiting lesser-known spots, instead of the most popular places. While some travelers will always want to tick off bucket list locations, I think many enjoy heading to less frequented but still fascinating spots that don't feel like they're splashed all over social media. Considering visiting a destination for longer is also something that destinations may encourage, and it's a prospect that's potentially more doable for some travelers in the age of remote working."

Dream teams are made of this 

- Bev Fearis predicts an increase in team travel 

“One significant and positive trend that we are seeing is the rise in team travel,” says Features Journalist of the Year Technology award winner, The Business Travel Magazine’s Bev Fearis, “with workforces increasingly dispersed, companies are looking to bring their people together to meet in person for motivation, collaboration, creativity and to build their company culture. As we came out of the Covid pandemic, many people predicted that internal travel would be hardest hit, most easily replaced with virtual meetings, but in fact with the new ways of working this has not been the case and companies are recognising the value of face-to-face meetings and how they are vital for company culture, employee wellbeing, and to attract and retain talent.”

Levers and shakers

- Andy Hoskins on the issues of the hour

“A little predictable, perhaps, but it’s hard to look beyond NDC and sustainability,” says winner of the Editor of the Year award, BTN Europe’s Andy Hoskins, when asked about the biggest trends ahead, “Last year saw more airlines accelerating their distribution strategies which is, for now, leading to fragmented content and sometimes difficult processes. Meanwhile, 2024 sees the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive come into play with many businesses – including those with significant operations in the EU – required to report on this year’s carbon emissions in 2025, including the emissions associated with their business travel activity.”

“My hope is to somehow resolve the dichotomy of working in an industry acutely aware of the need to reduce carbon emissions whilst wholly dependent on the promotion and facilitation of business travel and the value of face-to-face meetings. I welcome more innovative tactics from corporates to try and reduce the environmental impact of their business travel programmes.”


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