The COVID-19 global pandemic brought many changes to the world of air travel in 2020. After a complete halt, many travelers sought out alternate methods of travel – including private jet charters or decided to stick with virtual meetings.
Fast-forward three years later and we have seen a pickup in the number of air travelers that even surpasses previous numbers – without any sign of slowing down. In fact, the trend shows that as we get further into 2023, most companies will almost be back at their pre-pandemic spending level regarding travel.
So what else can we look forward to in 2023? What other business travel trends are sure to arise?
Smaller Companies Take the Lead
According to Morgan Stanley Research, many business travel trends point to small businesses and their need for corporate travel. “More than two-thirds (68%) of companies with under $1 billion in annual revenue expect travel budgets to increase next year, versus just 41% of companies with annual revenues over $16 billion.”
This could prompt the need for low-cost carriers for more localized travel.
Virtual Meetings Slash Travel Needs
Virtual meetings became vital as the world had to figure out how to do life during a global pandemic. These were easy to get together face-to-face across oceans – without anyone needing to travel. While this reduced business costs, it didn’t benefit air carriers.
Because there is something to be said for meeting in person, many companies returned to traveling to meetings rather than relying on any virtual option. Others, however, have not. In the same survey mentioned above, Morgan Stanley Research estimates that online meetings will replace nearly 18% of corporate travel. This will only fall to 17% in 2024. They believe this ” suggests a degree of permanence in the shift with companies recognizing the benefits of virtual meetings ranging from cost savings to lower carbon footprints.”
Blended Travel is Here to Stay
Another thing we have learned over the last couple of years is to appreciate the time we have with experiences. In other words, creating a sense of work balance is crucial for a healthy, happy, thriving life.
This is where blended travel comes in. Those who have to travel for business are choosing to combine some leisure travel. Many have been doing this for years – others are just now realizing the power of it.
This can mean extending trips an extra couple of days to get in some leisure activity and even bringing loved ones along. They have time to explore destinations, indulge in cultural experiences, and get some rest and relaxation before returning to work.
Work-From-Home Options Require Travel
Working from home became a thing during COVID-19 and it, too, has now become commonplace. With many companies opening up their available positions all around the country, more and more people are finding that they have the ability to work from home – or from anywhere they want.
Once this trend began, many decided to pick up and move to their favorite locations since they no longer needed to head into the office. Of course, it also means that when they do need to show up in person, they will require air travel to get there.
What’s more, many companies find that working apart doesn’t always give the same camaraderie as working in an office. To balance this, team retreats and meetings are becoming common. This gives the employees a chance to meet and form bonds with one another, increasing overall work satisfaction. And, they get to travel and visit some incredible places, too.
Younger Workers Seek Non-Traditional Travel
The youngest employees are changing the way business travel is done. They seek traveling to meetings for the meeting and the experience. Quite often, they’d prefer to stay off the beaten path and have an opportunity to discover and explore – as well as handle business.
This business travel trend will likely stick around into the future as more and more Gen Z-ers make it into the workforce. They approach work with a healthy balance, rather than a desire to burn the candle at both ends.
They will appreciate non-traditional, private travel and finding their way outside the city and into private, AirBnB-type rentals or boutique hotels.
Sustainability is a Growing Focus
Many in the aviation industry have been talking about sustainability for quite some time. Why? Because the ongoing emissions that are caused due to air travel are exorbitant. There has to be a better way. And many are seeking it in order to reduce the impact on the environment while still being able to travel.
As airlines are scrambling to find affordable fuel alternatives, such as biofuels, as well as other steps they can take to become more eco-friendly, the majority of companies around the globe are doing the same.
Then, as more companies implement these policies and find greener ways to reduce their carbon footprint, it is most likely going to carry over to their air travel needs, too. Many may find themselves seeking travel arrangements with carriers who are taking the initiative to create safer travel for the world around us.
Choosing which jet or airline to fly isn’t the only way attention is focused on sustainability. There are a few other eco-friendly business travel trends, too, such as:
- Packing minimally reduces the amount of luggage – and the amount of weight on the aircraft. This will reduce the amount of fuel burned.
- Purchasing carbon offsets to make up for travel emissions.
- Choosing nonstop flights.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it, sustainability is going to be within the vision of businesses and their travel plans throughout 2023 and beyond.
Beyond the Business Travel Trends
Beyond the business travel trends are those in the aviation industry looking to meet the needs of businesses. With the ability to provide non-stop flights to many airports in and out of the city while creating a pleasant travel experience, it is no surprise that private travel will continue to make strides throughout the year.