Everything is back to normal. Christmas and New Year festivities are over for another year and the business world is getting back into the groove of its usual routine.
Across the globe, thousands of people have already traveled for work purposes and it looks set to be an interesting year from a business travel perspective. We analyze some of the major trends that could come to light over the next 12 months below:
Increased demand for business travel
One of the main business trends of 2016 is that there will simply be more of it. Recent research from ExpertFlyer.com has revealed more than eight in US professionals plan to take more or the same amount of work-related trips this year. Meanwhile, emerging economies such as China and India will almost certainly continue to ramp up their business travel expenditure.
With each passing year, technology becomes a bigger part of the business travel experience and 2016 is unlikely to be an exception. Indeed, technology is steadily becoming a key component of almost all aspects of business travel. Whether it’s using a mobile app to book flights or ordering room service via an instant message, travelers are becoming increasingly techy.
This trend will, in part, be driven by the continued rise of the millennial generation. According to Goldman Sachs, this demographic “came of age” in 2015, accounting for 92 million individuals in the US, making it the largest generation in the nation’s history. Millennials are more tech-savvy than any demographic that has come before them and, as they account for a greater share of business travelers, the use of related technology will almost certainly rise.
Bleisure on the rise
A number of travel industry commentators have forecast 2016 to be the year that ‘bleisure’ takes off. This term essentially refers to combination of business and leisure travel, which sees people extending trips and often taking family with them.
Back in 2014, research from Bridgestreet Global Hospitality found six in ten business travelers have already been on a bleisure trip. Combine the fact more business travel is expected this year with the growing number of millennial travelers – members of the demographic are increasingly blurring the boundaries between work and leisure – and it’s logical to assume more bleisure trips will take place in 2016 than ever before.
New travel market entries
The next 12 months could see a number of interesting new entries to the travel market. Google has revealed it is to launch Book on Google, which will see the technology giant add a hotel booking service to its travel portfolio, sitting alongside Google Flights and Hotel Ads. Also expected to enter the market is Uber, with reports revealing the company has filed a patent for an app that would link real-time airplane landings with the availability of Uber cars. There has been no official comment on the patent as of yet, but it would certainly represent an intriguing development should it come to fruition.
Stricter security in the travel sector
Overall, 2015 was a healthy year for the business travel sector. However, it cannot be denied that November’s terror attacks in Paris and subsequent scares across Europe did have a negative impact on travel plans in the closing stages of the year.
Thankfully, the fallout is unlikely to be felt in the long-term, with research suggesting the majority of businesses will not reduce their travel activity as a result. However, business travelers may well experience an increased focus on security in 2016. Both governments and aviation authorities have pledged to tighten security in the wake of the attacks and this is something business travelers will almost certainly notice over the next 12 months.