Business travel can be a blur of builder’s beige hotel room walls featuring bad art and flight connections so tight they squeak. 

But it’s increasingly the case that companies are addressing the current reality – that business travelers want and expect the same ease of booking and travel experience they do when they’re travelling as consumers.

The world of travel has been just as transformed by technology as any other.  Travelers want an experience tailored to accommodate their mobile lifestyles, which includes their mobility devices.  The travel industry is responding to this surging need by providing applications, refining the booking experience and providing accurate, real-time information.

Two Birds, One Stone

A key area of change in business travel is that road warriors are now combining business with pleasure.

Employees today are extremely interested in traveling for both purposes.  Millennial works want a job that offers travel, with 39% stating they wouldn’t be interested in employment that didn’t offer it.  It’s now seen as a fringe benefit by most workers.

Almost 50% of workers surveyed extended a business trip to accommodate leisure in 2018 and that number is set to grow in 2019.

Many road warriors relish the opportunity to visit places that wouldn’t normally be on their radar as consumers.  As business travelers, they visit a variety of destinations, often enjoying the experience for this reason.  That compels them to take a couple of extra days to experience a new place.

The Sharing Economy

Well established in the leisure travel sector, companies like Airbnb hold a similar allure for business travelers.  The sharing economy is accommodating this interest and companies are catching on, with nimbler solutions to offer their employees a little more of what they want.  An Airbnb instead of an anonymous, builder’s beige hotel stay?

Yes, please!

Ridesharing with companies like Lyft is another facet of leisure travel which is infiltrating the business travel space.

A 2018 survey by Skrift revealed that 79% of business travelers prefer to source a ridesharing service over cabs, car rentals and services.  And of those same travelers responding to the survey, 90% said that their company travel policies now accommodate ridesharing.

Automatic expensing has already been incorporated into the business arms of both Uber and Lyft, clearing the way for organizations to get on board.  And Airbnb for Work has also become a reality.

Changing Times, Changing Policies

The first step toward changing policies around travel to reflect the times, is accepting that change is already here.  Individual policymakers will have their unique approaches but it’s safe to say that most of them will be addressing the shift to blending leisure and business travel and the sharing economy that comes along with it, as we move into 2019.

That bodes well for business travelers.  But it’s also the smart response to meeting the needs of travelling employees with contemporary solutions.

Incentive Travel Group has been getting people places for over 20 years.

Focus on what you do best, while we take care of the details.  Contact us.

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