2020 forced everyone to pause events and travels and most probably 2021 will require some more time before letting us go back to normal travelling. Business travels were no exception to the rule and now the question on everybody’s mind is what kind of shape business trips are going to have in the future. What will go back to be the way it was? What will change irreversibly? What should we expect concerning technology and employee safety?
Even if we can be pretty sure quarantines, tests and masks will disappear as soon as most of the population is vaccinated, we must consider other factors that will probably remain in the ordinary travel process. According to a study published by TNMT and Lufthansa Innovation Hub Analysis, the future of business travel will depend on the virtualisation of work, employee well-being, sustainability and the empowerment of travellers.
The Virtualisation of Work
During the pandemic, there’s been a widespread usage of video call and smart working tools, and it looks like many corporates, around 70%, are willing to keep on using the work-from-home formula. This means of course more flexibility and the chance to deconcentrate the overcrowding in big cities so that people can enjoy a better lifestyle with less stress involved. Ironically, this new way of thinking work-life could potentially require more business travel in order to seal all those dynamics involving a face-to-face meeting.
Will technology replace business travel? Most probably it won’t because technology, or rather, the demographics using technology, are not ready to embrace a full replacement of business travel: there are still many people travelling for business that are not so familiar with the new digital rhythms. It’s likely that with generational turnover business travel will continue to decrease, however, we must consider human beings need to socialise offline when it comes to trust-building or team-building. Virtualisation will not replace business travel, on the contrary, it will be a complementary element, along with human relationships.
Before Covid-19, firms were already increasing awareness towards both the mental and physical health of their employees. It wasn’t rare to find more flexibility on travel schedules, extra budget for sports, healthy meals and hotel stays in non-business locations. Although this change began with new generations, the post-pandemic scenario shows an increasing interest in welfare and psychophysical well-being.
Sustainability too is not a new topic in our times. As for private travels, what determines the travel choices of a company is budget and costs. Changes might arrive, but responsibility for a system conversion will be of the travel industry first and not of individual travellers. Most of the times there is no available sustainable choice for transportation, just like we can’t sleep in a room if it’s not well-cleaned and sanitised.
The Empowerment of Travellers
Nowadays, travel managers and travel agencies are a distant memory. It’s so easy to make bookings, modify them and ask for assistance that we are very likely to never look back. While such roles in the travel industries will have to evolve at some point, travellers will rely more and more on hybrid, custom and self-service travel experiences where human interaction will merge with scalable digital solutions.
At Dublin International Airport, at the gates after security, you can find Plane Water stations (water in 100% recyclable plastic bottles, cans or carton) where passengers can self-service by inserting a 1€ coin into the box. According to records, only 8% of passengers take the water without paying for it.
The Perfect Solution for Your Business Travel
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