As 2017 continue to unfold, we’re still expecting more shifts and trends that will shape the face of corporate travel and ground transportation this year and forward.
From negative global uncertainties such as terrorism and geopolitical crisis to positive results in the corporate market such as more favourable hotel rates and advancements in traveller tracking, this year has been a roller coaster ride so far both for travel managers and buyers.
Here are the five trends that are creating the buzz in the corporate travel and this 2017.
Significances of Major Events and Developments
While the global sector remains alert about the recent major events, experts predict that these events will have some positive impact on business travel in short term at least.
- Brexit – Corporate travel budgets are likely to loosen up as occupancy rates in London – a primary business travel destination – are expected to drop to 80%, according to a PwC report.
- US Election – Even though there was a steady year-over-year decline in US business travel sector in the recent years, the surprising growth in late 2016, as reported in Travel Trends Index, have only shown that the sector might experience a moderate increase in 2017.
- Commodities, Occupancies, and Rates – The changing commodity in 2017 will influence hotel occupancy levels and rates in several regions and cities. The resurgence of the mining sector in Australia is expected to renew business confidence, investment, and travel activity. In major oil-driven markets such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the declining oil prices might also mean lower occupancies.
- Direct vs online booking channels – The Independent Lodging Market Report by Phocuswright and h2c predicts that by 2017, 44% of all hotel bookings in the US and 39% of bookings in Europe will be made online, representing increases of 2% and 5% respectively on current online booking levels.
Changes in Ground Transport
The rise of on-demand ride sharing apps has motivated greater corporate interest in ground transport, with increasing approval of pre-booked transfer services, car hire, and chauffeured car services. Many businesses seek chauffeured car service providers to provide travellers with high-level of comfort, productivity, and ensure Duty of Care.
Digital Platforms and Booking Options: Mobile Device and Travel Apps
Various digital platforms continue to change the way travellers reach travel suppliers. Mobile technologies remain as the top communication medium by travel suppliers. Research shows more than 50% of travellers plan to use travel apps even more in the year ahead as their reliance on real-time travel information and fulfillment intensifies. Moreover, statistics provided by Phocuswright and SiteMinder show that while only 8% of bookings are currently made on mobile devices, this figure will soar to 35% by 2018.
Desire for Authenticity: Personalised and ‘Human’ Hospitality Service
Despite the continued reliance of travel suppliers, managers, and travellers on mobile technology, more are still seeking personal and ‘human’ interaction from friendly and helpful travel staffs. In 2014, travel website Skift came out with a report which tackled the rise of “Silent Travelers”.
According to them, “The rise of digital has given rise to a new kind of traveler adept at all available online and mobile tools and uses them to jump across all industry-defined silos. These new travelers don’t need tons of handholding, they shun human interaction, and know their way around everywhere they go. This presents the global travel industry a paradox: the human part of the service economy may become less and less important.”
Fast forward in 2017, people have become overwhelmed with technology, with hyper distractedness taking away their enjoyment while travelling. Now more than ever, travellers seek genuine relationships and interaction from hotel staffs and local authenticity in everything – from their meals to the décor and artwork.
However, mobile technology will still be an important tool for travel suppliers, in the way that travellers can expect hotel staff to have a full understanding of their needs and preferences prior to their arrival.
With these all these trends taking place this 2017, it’s important to keep an open eye for the changes that they will bring in the corporate travel landscape. Remain focus on ensuring the duty of care, productivity, and comfort to your business travellers. Contact Hyryde today to learn more about our premium chauffeured services.