Business Travel: Five Predictions For 2017

Now that the world’s safely made its transition into 2017, we figured it’d be a good time to start looking ahead to what could/might/will happen in the business travel world over the next 12 months.

(Got any other predictions? Let us know!)


Mixing business and pleasure

We’ve covered this before on our blog. Millennials are dominating the workplace. The upshot is that this generation typically wants to get more out of every trip they make — work trips included. Consequently, the boundaries between business and leisure travel continue to blur. And why not?

Which leads us neatly onto…


‘Sightdoing’ is the new sightseeing

While adding on a couple extra days to a work trip to do some sightseeing is easy enough (and nothing new), it seems many business travelers want to skip the usual tourist traps — opting for sightdoing rather than sightseeing. The rise of Airbnb-style accommodations and Uber taxi services reflect a need for more authentic ‘live like a local’ experiences. We’re almost certain to see more services like these cropping up across the travel sector in 2017.


Efficiency over luxury

Business travelers are increasingly willing to forgo access to traditional luxuries like room service, minibars, and a swanky in-house restaurant in favor of add-ons that’ll make their stay more productive. For example, having an on-site gym, a meeting room, or office space can make a difference. WiFi has become a non-negotiable. Considering 75% of business travelers consider it a necessity, WiFi is so commonplace it’s almost a non-issue for hotels, restaurants, and even airlines.


Lack of loyalty

Does anyone really collect Air Miles anymore? According to Conde Nast Traveler, points and loyalty schemes continue to be devalued; offering miles-for-money, rather than miles-for-travel. Plus the ascent of price comparison websites (or smart algorithm tools, like Arbitrip…) means that the schemes offered by longer established travel and hospitality brands don’t offer the same value they once did.

A lack of brand loyalty has leveled the playing field, meaning lesser-known airlines and hotels offering better value-for-money can now compete with the big hitters.


Travel tech gets sexy(ier)

As the whole Internet of Things space continues to blow up (in a good way), smart and connected devices will get even smarter and, er, more connected (!). Think carry-on luggage with built in USB ports, GPS, and portable Wi-Fi hotspots; taking travel advice from a chatbot; and plugging into VR for a pre-departure teaser. Oh, and expect to book flights via Alexa in the very near future. Yup, even for work trips.


The Business Traveler’s Hierarchy of Needs

Cast your mind back to Psychology 101… remember something called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? If you hang out on LinkedIn long enough you’ll probably see it crop up again in your newsfeed. It basically details, from the bottom up, exactly what human beings need to live happy, fulfilled lives. At the very bottom is shelter; and at the pinnacle is self-actualization: the ability to find our place and purpose in life.

Now, suppose we temporarily transpose these needs to business travel (it’s not that much of a stretch…). The reason for doing so is because, when venturing out for your company, there’s often a disconnect between what’s offered (usually dictated by budget) and what you need to get the job done.

But how can you prioritize these needs accordingly? Here are a few thoughts:

Maslow defines basic needs as the things we require to function: food, water, warmth, rest, safety. For business travelers, we’ll label these as transportation, accommodation, sustenance, and yes, Wi-Fi (!). As long as you appreciate that these things are the bare minimum — rather than the only things that you should have access to — you can’t go too wrong.

To do your job effectively, you need to feel like you’re able to relate to those you’re doing business with; that you’re a peer or respected partner. You need to be able to build relationships (not necessarily intimate ones, as per Maslow’s suggestions…), and believe that you’re trusted to do what you’re employed to do. Anything that empowers you to do your job in the most efficient way possible — be it a ‘status symbol’ like a company credit card or access to the company Uber account — is positive reinforcement and shouldn’t be ignored.

Let’s categorize self-fulfilment for business travelers as ‘rewards for doing a good job’. This goes beyond financial incentives; it’s about having access to things that you wouldn’t normally have — frequent traveler miles, a seaside view, an on-site gym, a spa room, even time to explore the city you’re visiting. These are the kinds of things that transcend professional life; an opportunity to enjoy success on a personal level.

All of these needs are totally acceptable — but there are times when businesses that want to batten down the financial hatches might encourage you to compromise on some things. Once you understand your needs as a traveler, you can plan to meet them in the best way possible — given the resources available to your business. Here at Arbitrip we aim to play our part by helping you maximize your accommodation budget; finding and booking the rooms that best meet all of your needs.

In business, as in life, certain occasions allow certain perks. While the flexibility of your company’s travel policy will dictate how much you have to spend on things like transport, accommodation, and meals; understanding the essentials will ultimately inform what you can’t function without, what you need to present yourself and your business in the best light, and what you should be allowed to enjoy.

You’ve earned it, after all.


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