The landscape of corporate travel is on the brink of significant transformation, propelled by a multitude of trends reshaping the way businesses navigate and manage their travel programs. Recently at the NY GBTA Education Day Will Tate, consultant at GoldSpring Consulting, shed light on the top 10 trends that are set to redefine corporate travel in 2024 and beyond. We highlight them here.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence emerges as a beacon of change within corporate travel, despite being in its infancy. Highlighted were the hurdles of labeling, tokenization, and transparency, posing challenges to AI’s full potential. Even so, the applications of AI are extremely promising.

  • Expense Reporting: AI’s analytical capabilities can streamline expense report analysis, potentially reducing errors and expediting approval processes.
  • Enhancing Airport Operations: AI has the potential to revolutionize airport experiences by expediting customs, guiding passengers efficiently, and enhancing overall airport operations.
  • Meeting Enhancements: AI can facilitate personalized room setups, catering arrangements, and overall meeting efficiency.
  • Transformation of Online Booking Tools: The potential disruption of traditional online booking tools looms as AI steps in to automate and optimize the travel booking process.

2. Ubiquitous Profiles

The emergence of ubiquitous profiles heralds a new era of travel efficiency and unparalleled personalization. These profiles facilitate smoother travel arrangements by utilizing up-to-date information. They are able to streamline interactions between travelers and suppliers, ensuring seamless transactions and engagements for enhanced efficiency. Moreover, ubiquitous profiles elevate the travel journey by tailoring experiences by supplier and by trip, offering more personalized recommendations and enhancing the overall booking and travel experience.

3. Sustainability

EV Charging

Navigating the complexities of sustainability within corporate travel presents both challenges and innovative solutions. These days a growing number of travelers are opting for sustainable travel choices, which highlights the growing importance of sustainability in corporate travel and its influence on decision-making. The challenges faced by corporate travel managers and suppliers alike are the lack of consistent measurement standards and varied approaches to implementation.

4. NDC Remains Off-channel

NDC, or New Distribution Capabilities, offers buyers a more consumer-friendly air travel booking experience that is less costly than the GDS. NDC’s are here to stay was the consensus by a panel of experts at NY GBTA, but they additional pointed out that corporate travel buyers are moving slowly to adopt as they look for solutions that are proven and scalable at larger organizations.

5. Enhancing the Traveler Experience

The traveler experience remains vital and with travel rebounding to 70-80% of 2029 levels, a significant mindset shift in how we prioritize travel is underway. Buyers need to ensure trust in the travel industry while innovating to create stickiness and enhance the overall travel experience. At the same time, companies are looking at policy adaptations which could include not reimbursing certain types of travel or shifting to per diems to manage costs effectively. It will be interesting to see how these two competing priorities play out over the course of the year to provide an enhanced traveler experience, while still cutting costs.

6. Personalization Continues to Dominate

Park Place Apartments

The challenges and triumphs of personalization remain a focal point in corporate travel. Suppliers have had an ongoing challenge identifying the customer—whether it is a corporate or an individual. This particularly comes into play when pricing for air or hotel is based on a call and response, making it hard to discern the traveler’s identity. In addition, there are more applications geared toward individual travelers, resulting in a better user experience for them. In 2024 we look to solutions and applications that will enhance personalization for corporates, raising the bar on traveler experience.

7. Labor Challenges: Acquiring and Retaining Talent

In the face of rising labor costs, companies are grappling with attracting and retaining talent. While technology like AI Chat resolves simpler problems, the demand for skilled labor remains crucial for handling complex issues. Challenges with staffing for airline pilots, travel companies (TMC’s) and hotels are pervasive and will continue for the next year or so.

8. Rise of Integrated Solutions

Integrated technology solutions are gaining prominence, offering comprehensive packages that encompass various components such as TMCs, booking tools, etc. These solutions are particularly appealing to smaller companies due to their simplicity and ease of implementation. The question is, are they good at all components of travel management?

9. Blockchain: A Disruptive Force

Blockchain technology in corporate housing.

Despite minimal adoption, blockchain’s benefits are undeniable. Essentially, it unlocks information that was private and removes the middleman who was charging fees to allow access. There are many applications for its use, including disintermediating GDS fees by directly integrating with the carrier, eliminating credit card fees since airlines and hotels can be paid directly, and overall improving the travel booking experience removing the need for expense reports.

10. Integration of Meeting and Transient Travel

Sourcing meetings and travel together can provide better spend insights and visibility, as well as support an enhanced duty of care. At present there are challenges to booking these two components together as the bookers are typically siloed and neither the TMC nor meeting planner are solely responsible.

Summary: Navigating the Future of Corporate Travel in 2024

The corporate travel landscape in 2024 stands at the threshold of transformation, propelled by a spectrum of trends. From the promising integration of AI to the evolution of ubiquitous profiles, sustainability initiatives, blockchain’s disruptive potential, traveler-centric approaches, personalization challenges, labor dynamics, integrated solutions, and the convergence of meetings and travel—each trend paints a vivid picture of a landscape undergoing profound change.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2024

These travel trends collectively redefine how businesses perceive and harness travel as an essential strategic component, promising efficiency, personalization, cost optimization, and a renewed focus on traveler experiences. The amalgamation of technology, sustainability, and strategic innovations forms the cornerstone of this new era, paving the way for a travel landscape that prioritizes both functionality and the human touch. As we navigate these trends, their impact promises to shape a future where corporate travel seamlessly aligns with business objectives while ensuring enhanced experiences for all stakeholders involved.