Corporate travel trends to watch in 2024

Discover the key corporate travel trends in 2024. Stay ahead with insights from business travel experts on what to expect for the rest of the year.

Discover the key corporate travel trends in 2024. Stay ahead with insights from business travel experts on what to expect for the rest of the year.

By Jessica Freedman

Three colleagues from remote teams collaborating in the office looking at a computer screen

Corporate travel is on the rise and as business travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels it’s only natural that you might be wondering what are the main trends to watch this year. As many companies stayed conservative with their travel budgets for the first part of the year, this second part of the year will likely see a rise in planned trips. Business trips drive performance and growth. 

With many teams now working remotely, business trips for remote teams will become more and more important this year and coming into next year. According to a report by the Internova Travel Group as published by TravelPulse, 85 percent of business travelers plan to travel the same amount or more frequently than they did in 2023. 

With the travel panorama a bit clearer, let’s delve into some of the trends to look out for this year.

Promoting company culture amongst remote teams

With the recovery of the business travel sector, many companies who went remote during the pandemic are recognizing the importance of in-person interactions to promote company culture, and also give employees a sense of belonging. In-person meetings help employee engagement and retention, which have been impacted by the transition to remote work. 

The desire for connection has also contributed to the need for smaller meetings with companies trying to find ways to foster human connection that can be missing in a remote environment. In fact, 9 out of 10 business travelers will agree that in-person collaboration is fundamental for cultivating relationships both with customers and colleagues. This is where you will see a rise in the demand for informal meeting spaces, which inspire creativity thanks to an inviting atmosphere.

Longer stays and bleisure

Another trend we will see this year is travelers who will book longer stays combining business meetings with personal leisure time, also known as bleisure. As per the above mentioned study, approximately 30 percent of respondents plan to arrange “bleisure” travel, combining business trips with leisure time and activities.

This means not only will trips be more productive and multifaceted, but travelers will also want to add in more days to sightsee or just relax in situ. Work trips will tend to be on average a day and a half longer. This is where flexible travel policies will become paramount in order to manage these changing needs and requests of travelers. 

woman sitting on a bench at the train station holding a map on a bleisure trip

Sustainability and eco-friendly travel

According to a study by Uber, one-quarter of employees would be likely to decline a business trip due to sustainability concerns. Due to this fact, companies will find themselves under more pressure to advocate and provide clarity and transparency around what it means to be “green” and to track and report on sustainability initiatives.

Companies will more and more favor sustainable providers and travel management companies that give sustainable options like having realistic predictions about carbon emissions as it relates to air travel. Carbon offsetting will no longer be enough in the eyes of the employees and the world. There will be a need to work with travel technology that allows for sustainable options, giving helpful hints as to how business travelers can reduce their carbon footprint.

Technological integration and artificial intelligence (AI)

Technology will no longer be a nice-to-have but a must to navigate the travel experience. From the time traveler’s book, and throughout the travel experience, AI  and travel technology will play a crucial role in streamlining all aspects of business travel. For this reason it will be crucial to start working with a technology-forward travel management tool that allows all travel management to take place in the palm of your hand with an app, to be used on-the-go.

AI and travel technology will continue to revolutionize the travel industry, helping to improve efficiency, enhancing safety and security so employers can live up to their duty of care and promote sustainability. Travelers as a result will be able to enjoy more seamless travel experiences with the help of technology. And by using AI, travel platforms will be able to better predict airline prices, making it easier for businesses to choose the most affordable and convenient fares and unlocking real savings.

woman on escalator looking at cell phone corporate travel trends

Focus on employee wellbeing

Improving mental health and having a positive work-life balance will become key for business trips. Working 24/7 will no longer be an option when on a business trip, as wellbeing comes to the forefront of traveler concerns. Employees should look to design work trips where flexibility and personal time are added into the itinerary. Bleisure and blended travel will help travelers find this balance. This is why it will be more and more important for those in charge of business travel to prioritize employee wellbeing above anything else. As a travel or HR manager, this is also a key part of living up to duty of care. 

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion will also become increasingly important in business travel, which is representative of this broader societal trend towards more equitable working conditions. Companies will need to incorporate diversity and inclusion into their corporate social responsibility initiatives and travel policies, favoring destinations and accommodations that align with diversity and inclusivity values. 

This could mean choosing venues or partners that are committed to equality, like favoring hotels who have accessibility features or conference centers that promote diversity in their services and staffing. This might also mean including accommodations that have special accommodations for religious practices, dietary restrictions and accessibility in their travel policy, even if it means that there are more limited and expensive options. 

Companies will need to provide more training on diversity and inclusion, which may require travel to have a more hands-on experience and do the training in person for remote teams. Since business travelers are also interacting with colleagues, clients and partners from diverse backgrounds, it will also be important for companies to educate business travelers on being culturally respectful when they travel in order to navigate international business environments more effectively.

Want to learn more? Download our Business Travel Outlook now and get the complete panorama of what to expect this year. 

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