Enterprises have been driving customer acquisition and retention by increasing business travel spending. Also, they have been outsourcing the complex business process to travel management companies to increase the ROI of business travel.
But a travel management company can expand its customer base only by meeting changing travel needs of employees and helping employers control the average business travel costs simultaneously. It has to provide customer travel management services and solutions to customers.
At the same time, it has to boost customer experiences by leveraging cutting-edge travel technologies. Hence, a travel management company can beat the competition only by adopting existing and emerging trends. Here are a slew of trends that will impact and shape the future of travel management companies.
8 Trends that will Impact Travel Management Companies in the Future
1. Personalized Travel Experiences
Like leisure travelers, work travelers these days expect personalization options. Hence, personalization will remain one of the key business travel trends. TMCs have to personalize business travel experiences by enabling employees to book their choice of business travel products.
Also, they will use intelligence technologies to recommend personalized travel products to each work traveler according to her travel choices and booking preferences. However, TMCs must comply with the travel and expense policies set by employers while personalizing the business travel experiences of employees.
2. Unconventional Accommodations
Most TMCs these days allow business travelers to choose from many hotels and hotel chains. But millennial and Gen-Z employees prefer unconventional and unusual accommodations to hotels. For instance, a surge is being noted in the number of business travelers preferring homestays to hotels to try authentic food and get personal attention.
TMCs can no longer meet the expectations of work travelers without including unconventional accommodations in the business travel inventories. They must allow work travelers to choose from both hotels and unconventional accommodations. Also, they have to make unconventional accommodations available at off-market rates through networking and negotiations.
3. Business Travel Technologies
Industry 4.0 technologies have been transforming many industries, including travel and tourism. No TMC can optimize customer experiences in the long run without keeping up with emerging tech trends in the travel industry.
It must leverage cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and data analytics to meet the changing needs of business travelers. For instance, it can deliver 24/7 support to business travelers by deploying AI-powered chatbots.
Likewise, it can implement robust cyber security measures to safeguard the sensitive data of businesses and business travelers. TMCs will continue to leverage next-generation technologies to drive customer acquisition and outperform competitors.
4. Duty of Care
Enterprises understand the importance of keeping employees safe and comfortable during business trips. They use duty of care as a key criterion while comparing and selecting TMCs. TMCs can impress clients in the future only by providing a comprehensive duty-of-care solution.
They have to keep employees stress-free by mitigating common business travel risks like flight delays and cancellations. At the same time, they must help employees manage emergencies without experiencing stress by providing real-time assistance.
Leading TMCs already partner with international health and security risk management firms to ensure that a work traveler gets real-time support in case of emergencies. TMCs have to boost their duty of care solutions consistently to boost customer experiences.
5. Sustainable Business Travel
Both businesses and business travelers are passionate about business travel sustainability. Employers update their policies to make employees engage in business travel without increasing carbon footprints. Likewise, employees reduce carbon footprints during business trips by opting for eco-friendly airlines and environment-friendly hotels.
The emphasis on business travel sustainability makes it essential for TMCs to expand business travel inventories. They can impress clients by allowing work travelers to choose from conventional and sustainable business travel products. Also, they will reduce carbon footprints by encouraging employees to prioritize eco-friendly and green travel products.
Most TMCs these days automate specific steps in the business travel management process. For instance, some TMCs provide self-booking tools to work travelers, while others provide expense management solutions to the finance team. But leading TMCs help clients automate business travel management fully by launching travel management software.
In addition to leveraging the benefits of digital transformation, these specialized software solutions create opportunities for businesses to leverage real-time data. The travel management solutions provide data-driven insights that help companies get higher ROI. TMCs will launch travel management software to stay relevant and competitive in the future.
7. Bleisure Travel
Organizations keep employees stress-free during business trips by supporting bleisure travel. Many companies allow employees to indulge in leisure activities by extending business trips. The combination of business and leisure travel makes TMCs focus on new factors while making business travel arrangements.
For instance, they need to split business travel expenses across business and leisure trips. Likewise, they have to update travel expense reports for bleisure trips. At the same time, they have to control bleisure travel costs by ensuring policy compliance and budget adherence.
8. Hybrid Work Model
Many companies continue to support hybrid work models after the pandemic. In addition to allowing them to work from home, they require employees to attend meetings in person. The support for the hybrid work model makes it essential for TMCs to make travel arrangements for remote employees.
While making travel arrangements for remote employees, TMCs must remember that such trips will not help clients generate incremental revenue. Hence, they have to explore ways to minimize the average cost of business trips without affecting the travel experience and safety of remote employees.
Business travel has been evolving consistently. New business travel trends and travel tech trends will emerge regularly. A travel management company can acquire new customers and retain existing customers only by identifying emerging trends early and adopting them proactively.
It has to refine travel management services and solutions according to emerging business travel trends. Likewise, it has to improve customer experiences by adopting new travel tech trends. The trend and technology adoption is essential for every travel management company to increase revenue and beat the competition in the future.